The European Commission presents a plan to attack the metaverse

Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, presented a three-step plan on the continent’s metaverse ambitions, announcing the launch of a VR and AR coalition to encourage investment in the sector.

Thierry Breton explained that the metaverse is one of the most pressing challenges for the European Commission (EC) and that his plan to promote the virtual world will focus on people, technology and infrastructure. It is certainly his experience as CEO of the Atos group that he transformed from 2009 to 2019 that resurfaces 🙂 He stated that the new environment must “integrate European values ​​from the beginning”, with private virtual worlds developed on the basis of interoperable standards and “no private actor” actually holds all power or sets the terms and conditions. Innovators and technologies should be able to thrive unhindered, adding that the EC would not tolerate new private monopolies.

Shaping the metaverse depends on its ability to master and develop cutting-edge technologies in Europe and to build a sustainable ecosystem. The EC has officially launched the VR and AR Industrial Coalition, first announced in 2020, which brings together stakeholders from key metaverse technologies. The coalition will focus on a specific roadmap, endorsed by over 40 EU companies spanning large organizations, SMEs and universities.

Europe was investing in a range of metaverse-related technologies, including photonics, semiconductors and new materials, saying it needed to combine European, national and private funding to truly advance its vision. The EC will focus on building resilient connectivity infrastructures. The amount of data exchanged in virtual spaces will be greater than ever, which will put “a lot of pressure” on the connectivity infrastructure.

Highlighting the challenge despite the increase in the volumes of data transported on the infrastructure, but the decline in revenues had reduced the appetite to invest and build it. To this end, the EC will invite all market players benefiting from the digital transformation to make a fair contribution to goods, services and infrastructure.

At the same time, the European Union opened its new headquarters in San Francisco, California, a global center for digital technology and innovation. The office will strengthen EU cooperation with the US in digital diplomacy and strengthen the EU’s capacity to reach key public and private stakeholders, including policy makers, business and civil society in the digital technology sector.

With around € 127 billion dedicated to digital reforms and investments, it offers an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate digital transformation, which the EU and its Member States cannot afford to lose. Especially since there is global progress but digital skills, SMEs and 5G networks are lagging behind. Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden remain EU favorites. However, they too face gaps in key areas: the adoption of advanced digital technologies, such as AI and Big Data, remains below 30% and far from the 75% target of the 2030 Digital Decade; Widespread skills shortages, which slow overall progress and lead to digital exclusion.

Only 54% of Europeans aged 16 to 74 have at least basic digital skills. Since the 2000s, what have all the states done in terms of training, education for digital life? I’m not sure if the metaverse plan of attack is the priority if no one knows how to use it! Which is not the case with an entire generation that is already present in different metaverses such as Roblox, SandBox …

Coalition of the VR / AR sector

The VR / AR industry coalition was first announced in 2020 in the Commission’s Action Plan for Media and Audiovisuals to foster cooperation between industrial sectors and ensure European leadership. A series of stakeholder workshops ran from November 2021 to February 2022 and resulted in a market assessment that identifies key challenges and opportunities for the European VR / AR industry. The document outlines the extent to which VR / AR is currently used in the media sector and the goals for optimal implementation to be achieved by 2026. It includes the political and industrial actions needed to facilitate the spread of these technologies and overcome fragmentation of the sector.

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