Addressing the Myths That Impact Creation of VR Standards

In VentureBeat, The Khronos Group president Neil Trevett and Sensics CEO Yuval Boger list four myths that are standing in the way of VR standards and more rapid market growth — “Myth 1: It’s too early for standards,” “Myth 2: Standards stifle innovation,” “Myth 3: Consumers won’t be impacted” and “Myth 4: There are too many cooks developing standards.” Trevett and Boger counter all four and note that The Khronos Group and IEEE are leading efforts to develop VR standards. The ETC’s VR/AR Initiative program lead, Phil Lelyveld, says that despite outreach efforts to the creative community by those organizations, active contributors are predominantly hardware and tool developers and technologists.

Members of the Hollywood creative community often make the argument that they want to shape the future of entertainment experiences rather than have their creative options bounded by the product development choices of hardware and software developers. It may be too early to codify standards, says Phil, but it is not too early for creatives to get involved in the discussions.

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In response to “Myth 1: It’s too early for standards,” Trevett and Boger point to the number of companies that have signed up to work on The Khronos Group’s Open XR Working Group’s standards effort. According to the Open XR site, participating companies include AMD, Google, HTC, Intel, LG, Nokia, Nvidia, Oculus, Qualcomm, Samsung and Valve, among others.

Trevett and Boger counter “Myth 2: Standards stifle innovation” by noting that many innovative companies can only afford to develop for a few non-interoperable platforms, so the lack of standards is also stifling innovation.

They also argue that “Myth 3: Consumers won’t be impacted” is not true because the lack of standards makes consumers hesitant to purchase a product that may not work universally with all VR experiences. “Consumers hate uncertainty,” suggest Trevett and Boger. “Standards help build a sense of equilibrium in an emerging ecosystem, and that’s good for everyone.”

Phil added that he’s never heard anyone make the argument that consumers won’t be impacted (Myth 3) before, he believes that innovation is redirected rather than stifled (Myth 2), and there are other standardization efforts involving significant players (Myth 4).

“The IEEE has a list of potential VR standards that they are working towards, which address issues related to safety and privacy,” explain Trevett and Boger. “These standards fit well with the VR and AR standardization efforts of The Khronos Group, which is focused on creating run-time acceleration APIs… Khronos encourages all standards groups to continue to communicate so we can coordinate our efforts.”