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Metaverse August 3, 2022

Forrester holds metaverse conference



The whole conference schedule for Technology & Innovation North America 2022 was made public by Forrester online and in Austin, Texas. According to Forrester, just 20% of firms are now creating an adaptive company that can solve urgent business, technological, and customer concerns. Most organizations have yet to fully realize the potential of technology. Technology & Innovation North America is created to sharpen the skills of tech executives, such as chief information officers, chief technology officers, and chief digital officers, enabling them to not only foresee and swiftly respond to shifting business needs, but also to direct the future development of their organizations.

Technology & Innovation North America this year will focus on how tech executives can empower their teams to design the businesses of the future and develop them into a creative engine that propels the firm forward

IT CEOs must transform into personal coaches as part of their preparation for a potential recession in order to keep up with the rapidly evolving tech industry. Additionally, the Forum will recognize North American businesses that successfully employ customer-focused technology strategies to meet quickly shifting customer expectations. Companies that prioritize customers record revenue growth that is 2.5 times greater than that of their rivals.

According to Matthew Guarini, vice president and senior research director at Forrester, “despite economic volatility, more is being required of tech CEOs than ever before. Because of this, tech CEOs today have a special chance to design their company’s vision and propel its expansion. Leaders will receive the resilient, flexible, and innovative tech strategies they need to turbocharge their company from Technology & Innovation North America.”

Facilitated talks, consultation seminars, and special programs will be available to attendees in person. Additionally, they will have access to a number of unique programs, such as the Women’s Leadership Forum, the Executive Leadership Exchange, a special program designed specifically for C-level executives, and several talent management workshops. All conference sessions and sponsors will be accessible to digital attendees through the event portal.

For MetaNews.

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EU Metaverse Party Wins Big from Epic Failure



Header image for EU Metaverse Party

The European Union (EU) blew more than $400,000 on a metaverse party almost nobody came to, now users are lining up to visit the scene of the so-called disaster.

The story first came to light on Tuesday when one attendee at the “gala” event reported that he was one of only six people who showed up. By the end of the week, a host of mainstream media outlets picked up and reported on the news, barely bothering to hide their glee at the scale of the disaster.

Success through failure

The initial launch of the metaverse appears to have been nothing short of catastrophic, but with widespread publicity in the press, the EU metaverse is now, perhaps ironically, finding an audience. 

After initially failing to entice guests, users now wait for over an hour to enter the EU’s metaverse.

On Friday morning (UST time) the virtual event was full to capacity. Users were forced to get in a virtual line just to attend. The website declared:

“Sometimes, even in the metaverse, we run out of space.”

With the line at 29 prospective guests, waiting times for admission exceeded 1 hour. At the time of press, that line had grown to 74 suggesting that wait times were exceeding the 2-hour mark.

That is a remarkable turnaround for an event that only attracted 6 people on its gala day.

At 72 people and counting, the line keeps getting longer

Why does this need a metaverse?

The EU metaverse is the brainchild of the European Commission’s foreign aid department and Global Gateway initiative, tasked with building awareness and raising its profile.

The EU’s Global Gateway initiative is a €300 million ($315M) foreign aid program intended to rival China’s Belt and Road initiative. The commission plans to redistribute €300 million ($315M) foreign aid to global partners, with half of the money earmarked for nations in Africa.

The metaverse uses only a tiny fraction of that budget to raise awareness of the program at home and overseas. With scores of headlines and countless column inches now dedicated to the program, that aim appears met. 

MetaNews attends EU-party

With the EU-metaverse receiving relentless mockery, this MetaNews reporter went to experience the event firsthand. What was it all about, and was it really as bad as the mainstream press seemed to suggest?

The answer to that question is both yes and no

Upon first arrival, my metaverse avatar is dropped outside a building. Entering that building starts a video that is part of the EU’s social awareness campaign. 

Yours truly, attending a rave, only to realize my avatar is wearing earphones.

This is a fairly dry way to begin any so-called “fun” or engaging experience, and so, I move on. Deeper inside the building are some artworks with expository narration. I am reminded of the early days of the internet when people created personal webpages and only later started to think of things to fill them with. 

Anyone can go to and navigate and explore the environment with a browser, a mouse, and a keyboard. That’s not to say that navigation is especially easy. In fact, it’s a bit of a pain trying to guide the avatar around the environment as the site stalls and lags. More than a few times during the visit I find my avatar hopelessly colliding into a wall.

So far, the experience is akin to a 3D Geocities page crossed with a European social justice museum. It’s strange and disconnected and oddly fascinating.

This rave makes no sense

Traveling outside the building leads to the rave arena. This is one of the strangest locations in the environment. There is a DJ booth and a dancefloor consisting of multiple interwoven levels. Standing over the location is a giant asexual red statue. The statue is posed as a shot-putter, but in place of the shot, the figure cradles a giant coronavirus in its hand. 

Melody-free industrial beats blasts out of my speakers. A series of screens above the DJ booth flash disconnected images and words such as “education,” “digitalisation,” and “public health.”

I imagine that just like a real rave, this experience may make more sense with the aid of copious amounts of alcohol or stronger stimulants. On this particular morning I am sober and completely baffled. 

The one thing nobody minds sharing – a giant over-sized trash bag in the metaverse

Traveling deeper into the metaverse

Exploring the beach I discover that my avatar can take off and fly around the site like meta-Superman. On my return, I accidentally miss the pier and discover I can walk on water like meta-Jesus.

After some further exploration, I discover a treasure hunt, a giant bag of trash, powers of teleportation, and a secret beach location hidden within a giant rock. Before I leave I decide to take a few selfies with the built-in selfie camera so I can say “I was there.” 

Was the experience good? Not overly, but it would be uncharitable to say the experience didn’t contain at least a few bright spots. Did I learn more about the EU’s Global Gateway initiative? Yes, but only because I went on to research it later.

Verdict: The EU Global Gateway isn’t the complete disaster mainstream media has painted it out to be, but neither is it worthy of its one-hour waiting time.


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Will USD be the Standard Metaverse Protocol?



While the word metaverse is used loosely to describe a unified virtual world, this is not entirely correct. Currently, there are a great number of platforms that are nothing more than just little islands unto themselves with no connectivity to other virtual spaces, the people, objects and other platforms.

Players at the centre of creating the metaverse and fans of metaverse reckon the metaverse should have some measure of interoperability that allows users to seamlessly navigate from one virtual space to the next pretty much like people do on the web today thanks to the HTTP protocol.

Now, it looks like the Universal Scene Description (USD) protocol might become the foundation of interoperable content and experiences in the metaverse the same way HTML is to the internet today.

Invented by a movie studio

The USD protocol, which was originally invented by Pixar, is a perfect fit for the needs of the metaverse. Nvidia, a power player in the metaverse space, seems to agree.

In fact, Nvidia is rooting for the USD as the “HTML of the metaverse.” 

The HTML forms a description of a webpage that can be hosted on the internet, and is retrieved and rendered locally by a web browser.

“The most fundamental standard needed to create the metaverse is the description of a virtual world. At Nvidia, we believe the first version of that standard already exists. It is the Universal Scene Description (USD)—an open and extensible ecosystem for describing, composing, simulating, and collaborating within 3D worlds,” writes Nvidia’s Rev Lebaredian and Michael Kass.

Will USD be the Standard Metaverse Protocol?

Browser protocol

It is envisaged that with some sort of a ‘USD browser’, the protocol could become the common method to define virtual spaces and make it easy for anyone to decipher and render.

USD includes features necessary for scaling to large data sets like lazy loading and efficient retrieval of time-sampled data. It is extensible, allowing users to customize data schemas, input and output formats, and methods for finding assets.

“In short, USD covers the very broad range of requirements that Pixar found necessary to make its feature films,” Rev says.

Pixar created the USD protocol in order to make collaboration on presumably complex 3D animation projects much easier, and open-sourced it in 2015.

In other words, the USD is not just another file format for 3D geometry.

It describes a complex scene with various objects, textures, and lighting and can also include references to assets “hosted elsewhere, property inheritance, and layering functionality” which allows non-destructive editing of a single scene with efficient asset re-use.

But in order for the USD to become the protocol powering the metaverse, it will need to evolve so that it can meet the needs of the metaverse.

Several stakeholders

They are many others who share the conviction that the USD has a major role to play in the coming metaverse. 

Will USD be the Standard Metaverse Protocol?

The notion has led to the formation of the Metaverse Standards Forum, a forum Nvidia and thousands of other companies are members of. This suggests strongly that the USD will be a foundation for interoperable virtual spaces and experiences.

Nvidia is developing a glTF interoperability that will allow glTF assets to be referenced directly by USD scenes. This, essentially means that users currently using glTF will be able take advantage of the composition and collaboration features of USD without altering their existing assets.

Its not just Nvidia backing the adoption of USD as the main metaverse protocol.

Khronos Group, the group backing the OpenXR standard, is also pushing to assemble other XR industry players to embrace interoperability standards for its “open and inclusive metaverse.”

Broad consensus

Metaverse Standards Forum was founded by platform holders, hardware companies, engine creators, and users, with participants including companies such as Adobe, Autodesk, Epic Games, Unity, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia, Otoy, Qualcomm, and Sony.

The founder’s forum will focus on “practical, actionable interoperability projects that can ‘move the needle’ on aspects of the metaverse that are needed by broad consensus.”

“We are ‘backing the open standard bricks’ for the metaverse, not ‘building the cathedral’,” the Khronos Group says.

The organisers of the metaverse forum say the group will “coordinate requirements and support for existing SDOs developing standards relevant to the metaverse,” with the Khronos Group acting as host.

The Khronos Group has made a name for itself for backing and organizing open standards such as the OpenXR, an open standard developed to make XR applications run across many different XR headsets without developers needing to build different versions of their applications for each headset.


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Who invented the Metaverse?



Who invented the Metaverse?

The term “Metaverse” means different things to different people and has been aggressively overused in marketing campaigns for plain ol’ 3D games. But where does it originate?

The word “metaverse” is a combination of the prefix “meta,” which means “beyond” or “transcending,” and the word “universe,” which refers to everything that exists. The word has its roots in the popular novel Snow Crash, published in 1992, authored by Neal Stephenson, an American science-fiction author. 

The word has since been adopted by technology enthusiasts and futurists to refer to a potential future version of the internet that is fully immersive and three-dimensional.

In the book, the main character, Hiro Protagonist, delivers pizza to the Mafia controlling territory in what used to be the United States, and plugs into the Metaverse when he is not working.

The next internet?

Immersed in the metaverse, in this case a networked virtual reality where people appear as self-designed avatars,

Who invented the Metaverse?

Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash.

Hiro would engage in activities both mundane (conversation, flirting) and extraordinary (sword fights, mercenary, espionage). This world would be filled by cartoonish looking computer-generated figures.

Yet to others the metaverse is the next generation of the internet.

Now, the big names in technology are in a race to create the next version of the internet known as Web3, a concept for a decentralized iteration of the internet. Some others call it Web5. A lot of it will probably take place in the metaverse.

Like the internet, Stephenson’s Metaverse is a collective, interactive endeavour that is always on and is beyond the control of any one person.

As such, it is widely believed that the metaverse is being built by various players at the moment in the same way the internet was built.

The very first Metaverse

While Stephenson aptly coined the term metaverse in his famous book and his Hiro Protagonist was the first fictional character to plug into the metaverse, he was not the first person to envision VR. In reality, he did nothing more than re-imagine what a Harvard scientist and his team had actually experienced when they built a VR system 20 years earlier.

Ivan Sutherland, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Harvard University, had already designed a VR system in 1968, called ‘The Sword of Damocles’, widely considered to be the first augmented reality HMD system. 

Who invented the Metaverse?

Very early CGI: Stereoscopic head-mounted viewing apparatus without head tracking (known as “Stereoscopic-Television Apparatus for Individual Use” or “Telesphere Mask”).

Sutherland’s system displayed output in a stereoscopic display, depending on the position of the user’s gaze, and used head tracking. Its graphics were basic but demonstrated the concept of today’s virtual reality as subjects navigated the simple wireframe rooms.

“Metaverse” is a broad term

The term metaverse includes VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality), but can also mean other things. Remote-sensing and -controlling of avatars, for instance. Or neurally interconnected consciousnesses.

AR is arguably the easiest and quickest to adopt, not as prone to inducing motion-sickness as full-on VR. In AR the user experiences an overlay on reality – the screens add elements to or transforms the environment in front of the user. There are a growing number of applications in both VR, AR and in mixed setups. Finnish headset maker Varjo is an example of the latter.

In order to immerse into the metaverse, the user needs a VR headset. Although more than 400 million people have “used the metaverse” in some form or another, the VR headsets are still beyond the reach of many, with some going for up to $3,500. Prices will, however, come down and the metaverse will mean something to even more people.

The metaverse is seen stretching into nearly every industry including real estate, gaming, fashion, events, and education—thus attracting plenty of users along the way.


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