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‘Airbus for the metaverse’ key in attaining Europe’s Web4 ambitions: LSE Consulting

The metaverse could bring a significant boost to the European Union economy, according to a new report by economic analysts at an educational institution in the United Kingdom.

LSE Consulting, a firm based at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), whose stated mission is to provide “a vital bridge” between academic experts and the wider world, recently released a report detailing a potential path for Europe to boost its Web 4.0 sector footprint.

The report sets out three broad recommendations for incoming European institutions and member states to prioritize to grasp the opportunities provided by Web 4.0 and the metaverse. Specifically, establishing “an Airbus for the metaverse” to provide a European innovation network, ensuring access to skilled talent in Europe, and fostering demand, scale and open innovation across the bloc.

According to the LSE Consulting team, the formation of an Airbus-style industrial conglomerate dedicated to fostering innovation and growth in the metaverse would be the best way for the EU to compete with the likes of the United States, China, and other global Web 4.0 powers.

Airbus is a multinational conglomerate specializing in the design, manufacturing, and sale of commercial and military aircraft, as well as space systems. It was founded in 1970 and incorporated in 2000 by the merging of French, German, and Spanish aerospace companies. Since 2019, it’s been the world’s leading manufacturer of airliners and helicopters.

This pan-European success story is the kind of entity that the LSE Consulting team envisioned could propel the EU to the forefront of the metaverse space.

“An immersive industrial cluster will contribute to specialised internet engineering expertise in Europe. While national and regional governments must support engineering and research education programmes more broadly, immersive technologies can also make these programmes more attractive,” argued the report.

The LSE team went on to suggest that a lot of the ingredients are already in place:

“BMW Group (NASDAQ: BMWYY), Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), Bosch Sensortec, STMicroelectronics (NASDAQ: STM), and IKEA Retail (Ingka Group) are among the European companies pioneering these technologies and laying foundations for the region’s metaverse ecosystem.”

Ericsson, for example, spearheaded a collaboration between AT&T (NASDAQ: T), Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA), Qualcomm, Wevr and Dreamscape Immersive. The project was focused on validating the building blocks of VR mobility, including computing power, unrestricted movement, and multi-user experiences, to improve future applications.

Vice President and Head of Government & Policy Advocacy at Ericsson, Andrew Lloyd, described the project as “a step in enhancing European competitiveness in the tech industry, and it shows our commitment to Europe’s digital future.”

However, the LSE Consulting report also noted several major barriers to the success of future Web 4.0 collaborations, including limited venture capital funding, fragmentation of research networks, low industry awareness, and “misconception about the scope and growth potential of metaverse technologies.”

In terms of the other key recommendations, LSE Consulting suggested that skills supply planning should prioritize training researchers and engineers “as foundational research and commercialization are critical for metaverse development” and called for EU governments to support public procurements in IT, standardization and the removal of barriers that affect member-state market access.

“This research analyses Europe’s strengths in metaverse deployment and identifies potential impediments to further progress, drawing on the contributions of European firms and research technology organizations,” said Dr. Elitsa Garnizova, Director of the Trade Policy Hub at LSE Consulting, summing up the report.

“It showcases how fostering European talent and skills in immersive technologies is vital, as well as strengthening EU’s role in promoting human-centric design.” 

This sentiment was echoed by Michael Barngrover, Managing Director at XR4Europe, a pan-European association that seeks to federate XR professionals, organizations, and initiatives, who said:

“This research is timely as the strategic opportunities presented by virtual worlds are prioritized in Europe more than ever before. There are multiple viable paths ahead for the continent. The recommendations presented by LSE’s researchers contribute to discussions around the paths we must consider.”

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