Access Partnership’s Metaverse Policy Lab launched the fourth session of the Metaverse Dialogue Webinar Series, entitled “Interoperability and the Future of the Metaverse”. We were joined by over 100 participants and an expert panel comprising Jason Matusow, General Manager at Microsoft Corporate Standards Group, William Webb, Chief Technology Officer at Access Partnership, and Pedro Henrique Ramos, Partner of Media, Tech & Data Protection at Baptista Luz Advogados.
Moderated by Paula Rabacov, Policy Manager at Access Partnership, discussions centred around defining what interoperability was and how critical it is to the success of the metaverse. Jason defined interoperability as “diverse systems being able to communicate with each other to enable common elements of functionality or to exchange data”. William took a contrarian view, arguing that interoperability was important for the metaverse but not critical to its success. He cited the example of IoS and Android operating systems, which are not interoperable but support technology solutions that enable applications to work seamlessly across both. Pedro felt the metaverse was a buzzword – albeit one that was creating many exciting technological opportunities.
In terms of degrees of interoperability, one approach would be to delineate between what aspects of the metaverse would need to be interoperable. For example, a consumer-based metaverse platform would differ from an enterprise-based metaverse platform, and interoperability between the two (no singular experience), would not be required. However, on a gaming metaverse platform, avatars and character profiles would benefit from interoperability between platforms.
Are policies and standards the best approach for achieving interoperability? Our speakers argued that while standards are useful, other approaches would be beneficial, such as legal agreements between metaverse platforms and open source technology. Our speakers also cautioned against standards that are too strict, potentially hindering creativity and innovation.
Stay tuned, the Metaverse Dialogue continues next month with our fifth session –Metaverse Dialogue: Reflection 2022 – taking place this Thursday 3 November at 15:00 – 16:00 GMT. All stakeholders are invited to join the dialogue.