LIVE FROM QUALCOMM 5G SUMMIT, SAN DIEGO: Mikio Iwamura, GM of NTT Docomo’s XR Innovation Office (pictured, left of centre), hinted Japan could have a unique advantage in the emerging metaverse, but argued success would only come once elements including silicon, devices and networks are fully aligned.

During a panel, Iwamura noted Japan’s rich anime and gaming communities could leave the nation ripe for a leading role in the metaverse, explaining Docomo is already conducting consumer trials of suitable AR and VR applications.

But the Docomo executive highlighted a big-picture approach involving chipsets, devices and operator platforms would be required to capitalise on the metaverse opportunity.

Iwamura noted parent company NTT Group had begun reorganising some business units to bolster engagement with enterprises on XR and metaverse, a project spanning around 20,000 employees.

The Docomo executive noted the company was “starting to see some commonalities” in enterprise XR and metaverse requirements.

Bryan Fries, VP for technology ecosystem development with T-Mobile US (pictured, right of centre), stated the metaverse represents an opportunity for it to diversify its portfolio beyond smartphones using its 5G network.

Fries noted the potential expansion of operators’ services made it key they address metaverse models. “We have to broaden our horizons and start to work with a much broader ecosystem of partners.”

Business model
Deutsche Telekom senior director for XR and metaverse Terry Schussler (pictured, far left) believes the key to success lies in making experiences contextual and personalised.

“Instead of momentary ten-second or 30-second AR experiences, what I think really drives the industry forward is 30 minutes to an hour-long, or more experiences that are meaningful to people”.

For vendors, the metaverse offers an opportunity to expand beyond phone and PC form factors, Lenovo GM Vishal Shah (pictured, far right) noted.

Echoing Iwamura’s comments, Shah explained the full benefits will only be unlocked through better integration between hardware, software and operator companies, a requirement which means Lenovo’s metaverse play is a “five to ten-year bet”.

The vendor is seeking to work with partners offering the elements “we need to make low power, high-compute devices”.