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Metaverse 1.0: Setting the standards


Last week I spoke with Jean Gelissen, Senior Director Strategic Partnerships at Philips Research about the Metaverse 1.0 project. I have combined the notes of this meeting with the information I took from the project presentation.

Metaverse 1.0 is a project developed within the framework of ITEA, a strategic pan-European programme for advanced pre-competitive R&D in software for Software-intensive Systems and Services. Metaverse 1.0 has the purpose to set global standards among real and virtual worlds and bridging the gaps within virtual worlds and between virtual and real worlds.

Metaverse 1.0 is an initiative of Yesha Sivan, an Israelean entrepreneur and professor at the Tel Aviv University. Metaverse 1.0 is pushed by the Metaverse 1.0 consortium, which includes over 40 participants of large and small/medium enterprises as well as several research institutes and universities from 8 participating countries. Among the participants are Philips Research, Philips Design, Forthnet, Alcatel-Lucent, Telefonica I&D, Siemens IT, Barco, Geosim Systems Ltd., Technical University Eindhoven, Utrecht University, Technical University of Twente, Fraunhofer Rostock, Nazuka and Bertelsmann. IBM will also be involved in the next phases.

The Metaverse1.0 project will provide a standardized global framework enabling the interoperability between Virtual worlds (as for example Second Life, World of Warcraft, IMVU, Google Earth and many others) and the Real world (sensors, actuators, vision and rendering, social and welfare systems, banking, insurance, travel, real estate and many others). Currently the consortium is also talking to ISO, the International Organization of Standardisation. (more…)

HiPiHi announces global strategy


The new Chinese 3D  virtual world HiPiHi already received quite some press coverage recently. I have not been able to run HiPiHi untill now, but still interesting to read about their global strategy announced in Singapore (reported on Virtual World News). Also they confirmed their strategic investors, including NGI group.

There are three parts involved in HiPiHi’s global strategy.

  • First, HiPiHi will cooperate with global leaders in the Internet and communication industry to establish a set of relevant hardware and software standards for the development of the 3D platform.
  • Second, HiPiHi will cooperate with other major 3D virtual worlds to finalize these standards, and bring the possibility for users to interact and transact between different virtual worlds.
  • Lastly, HiPiHi will actively build its “Global Market Partnership Project”, “Third Party Developer Project” and “Community Partnership Project”, to establish a HiPiHi virtual world global value chain.


Metaverse redefined?


Mike Sellers of Terra Nova has a compelling article about the analogy between what Neil Stephenson decribed as the ‘Metaverse’ in his novel Snow Crash and virtual worlds ‘as we know them today’. It is interesting to see how many people still believe that the Metaverse as envisioned by Stephenson will actually happen in the future, where we will all walk around in a complete immersive space with our brains connected to our avatars and the web has become a complete 3D space.

I dont believe this will happen, and I dont think we are heading for an immersive 3D web. Instead, I do feel that the vision as described in the Metaverse Roadmap is much closer to reality (and not the virtual reality, the real one), where the metaversie is described as the convergence of virtually-enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space. It is a fusion of both, while allowing users to experience it as either.

In other words, it will be a collection of virtual worlds, the web, 3D web tools and objects that will be embedded everywhere in our environment. Distributed worlds and spaces, both 3D and 2D, intellegently meshed up and (inter)connected. Certain activities we now typically associate with the 2D web will become more 3D and immersive, others wont. To quote the Metaverse Roadmap: In sum, for the best view of the changes ahead, we suggest thinking of the Metaverse not as virtual space but as the junction or nexus of our physical and virtual worlds.

Lets make sure that, now the Second Life hype is hopefully over its highest point, traditional media are not fed with a concept of ‘the 3D web’. Lets not give them new ammunition to create a new hype.

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