The Metaverse Is Coming, But Will It Be Interoperable?
This is the question that business leaders, creators and builders need to ask themselves as we move towards a more digitized world. The Metaverse promises to revolutionize the way we work, interact, and play. But, without interoperability, it risks becoming a fragmented, boring, digital landscape that hinders user experience and adoption.
In this blog post, I explore what interoperability is, why it's important, and what will be the catalysts to help build it.
Interoperability is the ability of different systems, services, and platforms to communicate and work together. It enables users to move seamlessly across different systems and platforms with minimal disruptions and degradation of experience. In the Metaverse, interoperability will allow different platforms to access and confirm identity, ownership, reputation, payments, and history, and users to take personal avatars and objects across multiple platforms.
The benefits of interoperability in the Metaverse are numerous. It will enable
commerce, and a
seamless user experience.
Without interoperability, the Metaverse could become a fragmented digital landscape that hinders user experience and adoption. But, achieving interoperability in the Metaverse is not as simple. Common standards, protocols need to emerge and be accepted across industry as the technology evolves.
Just like in the physical world, interoperability cannot be taken as a given. Our physical world is mostly not interoperable either. For instance, different zones have different voltage and plugs, wearables and clothing are not fully interoperable across zones, regions, and countries, and neither is currency. As such, the Metaverse will require a concerted effort to ensure interoperability.
While technology will enable interoperability,
financial incentives and
will be the real catalysts to drive its development and adoption. Financial incentives and competitive pressure have always been the driving force behind industries and solutions. They will create a push for interoperability and make it a reality.
One example of financial incentives driving interoperability is the development of the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) by the Indian government. The interface facilitates inter-bank peer-to-peer (P2P) and person-to-merchant (P2M) transactions. As of September 2022, there were 358 banks available on the platform with a monthly volume of 6.7 billion transactions amounting to ₹11.16 trillion (US$140 billion). That is the magic of interoperability. The financial incentives of cost savings and increased ease of doing business drove the adoption of UPI by industry and the end users.
Competitive pressure will be the other catalyst for interoperability. The competition between different platforms and services will drive them to become interoperable to gain a competitive edge. The competition between Google, Apple, and Amazon is a prime example. The three tech giants are all fighting for dominance in the voice assistant market. As such, they are working towards making their platforms interoperable with other platforms to gain a competitive edge.
In conclusion, interoperability in the Metaverse is essential for it to reach its full potential. Achieving interoperability will require a concerted effort from all stakeholders involved. While technology will enable interoperability, financial incentives and competitive pressure will be the real catalysts of change.
As business leaders, we must recognize the importance of interoperability in the Metaverse and work towards making it a reality. As Steve Jobs said,
"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower."
Let's be the leaders in driving interoperability in the Metaverse.