Doug Austin, eDiscovery Today: The Metaverse is Coming! Is Your Organization Ready?

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Extract from Doug Austin’s article “The Metaverse is Coming! Is Your Organization Ready?”

Last week, I discussed a new data type that’s coming that we will all have to address from an information governance and eDiscovery standpoint – the Microsoft Fluid framework. This week, I’m discussing an entire new reality that we will all need to address – the Metaverse—which also was an emerging buzzword at Legalweek earlier this month.

What is the Metaverse?

To discuss how we will need to address it, we first need to understand what it is, or at least what we think it will become. Gartner defines it as “a collective virtual space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. In other words, it is device-independent and is not owned by a single vendor. It is an independent virtual economy, enabled by digital currencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).”

Many people have described the Metaverse concept as the next version of the Internet, which – as Gartner reminds us – started as individual bulletin boards and independent online destinations before standards and protocols like the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) helped turn it into a virtual shared space.

As an example, imagine attending a concert right from your living room yet feeling like you’re right there. Last year’s Astroworld tragedy in my hometown of Houston (where 10 people died because the venue wasn’t equipped to handle a throng of 50,000 people) would never happen in the Metaverse – you could literally have millions of attendees without skipping a beat. Or think about learning about history by experiencing what happened, not just reading about it in a book.

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