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UN tech agency seeks open and inclusive metaverse

New ITU focus group invites collaboration for metaverse interoperability

Geneva, 19 January 2023

​​​The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has established an expert focus group to work towards international technical standards for the metaverse.

The focus group offers a venue to start laying the groundwork for technical standards that can help create an underlying technology and business ecosystem that encourages market entry, innovation, and cost efficiency in a sector expected by some industry analysts to grow to a value of nearly USD 800 billion by 2024.

“The metaverse and its layers of technologies can help human development and progress," said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “The work of this ITU focus group is the first step in ensuring that these technologies work well and that they work for all. The benefits of the metaverse should be shared broadly and equitably, and the risks should be well understood and addressed."

Metaverse standardization roadmap

ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies, is mandated by governments to expand digital connectivity and promote sustainable digital transformation.

The ITU focus group aims to develop a roadmap for setting technical standards to make metaverse services and applications interoperable, enable a high-quality user experience, ensure security, and protect personal data.

"Standards development must be driven by everyone that will rely on the resulting standards," said Seizo Onoe, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau. "This focus group will support our work together to envision technology use cases for the metaverse, determine the associated technical requirements, and develop standards that help meet these requirements on a global scale."

Public-private expert consultation

Uniquely in the United Nations family, ITU brings together a global membership of 193 Member States and over 900 member companies, universities, and international and regional organizations to work on issues such as technical standardization.​

ITU focus groups, open to all interested experts, accelerate standardization by leading intensive studies in areas of rapidly evolving strategic importance. The metaverse focus group will be active for one year and will conduct "pre-standardization" work as a basis for developing new ITU standards.

To stimulate cohesive metaverse standards development, the focus group aims to elaborate common terms and definitions and promote collaboration among relevant standards bodies. The group will report to the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group.

"The establishment of this focus group is very important to define in a timely manner the standards that contribute to a secure and interoperable metaverse and enable growth and prosperity," said Abdurahman M. Al Hassan, Chairman of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group from the National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) of Saudi Arabia.

The focus group will meet for the first time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 8 and 9 March 2023, hosted by NCA, following an ITU forum on embracing the metaverse on 7 March, co-organized by ITU and NCA. The forum and meeting are open for online participation.


Note to editors:

The estimate that the metaverse could grow to a value of USD 800 billion by 2024 comes from “Metaverse may be $800 billion market, next tech platform" published 1 December 2021 by Bloomberg Intelligence. This estimate is referenced in the focus group's terms of reference agreed by the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group.


About ITU
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), driving innovation in ICTs together with 193 Member States and a membership of over 900 companies, universities, and international and regional organizations. Established over 150 years ago, ITU is the intergovernmental body responsible for coordinating the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoting international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, improving communication infrastructure in the developing world, and establishing the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to cutting-edge wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, oceanographic and satellite-based earth monitoring as well as converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world. For more information, visit: