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Pushing AR/VR Policy Research in the Asia Pacific Region

The Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong and a global tech giant recently jointly announced a request for proposals (RFP) for the company’s AR/VR Policy Research in the Asia Pacific region. This research initiative invites the region’s academic community to develop solutions-focused research to support the responsible development of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies.

This includes identifying positive approaches to address policy issues and challenges, as well as opportunities in the metaverse and augmented and virtual reality, ultimately giving people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.

With the metaverse becoming the next chapter of the internet, Meta’s vision is to have a billion people accessing the metaverse as part of their daily lives within ten years. That relies on people being in control of their experiences and feeling safe and secure. This RFP reaffirms the tech giant’s commitment to ensuring the responsible development and use of AR/VR technologies and building strong collaborations with policymakers, experts and industry partners to bring the metaverse to life.

The Director of the Centre for Civil Society and Governance stated that the RFP forms part of the Tech for Good Initiative that aims to bring scholars and practitioners together to catch up with the latest development of technologies and explore how the interplay between emerging technologies and public policy works. The Centre is committed to the attainment of a sustainable society and advanced technologies will help address some of the most critical sustainability challenges we are facing today.

The Centre for Civil Society and Governance of The University of Hong Kong and the company are inviting faculty to respond to this call for research proposals on the following topics:

  • Economic opportunity: people can be given more choice, how competition can be encouraged, how a thriving digital economy can be maintained
  • Privacy: how the amount of data used can be minimised, how to build technology to enable privacy-protective data uses, and give people transparency and control over their data
  • Safety and integrity: how people can be kept safe online and be given tools to take action or get help if they see something they’re not comfortable with
  • Equity and inclusion: ensuring these technologies are designed inclusively and in a way that’s accessible
  • New Use Cases: what are new applications of immersive technology that create substantial value for people and communities

The research initiative targets to award a total of 6 awards, each in the US$100,000 range funded by the firm’s XR Programs and Research Fund, a two-year US$50 million investment in programmes and independent external research to help in the effort of building the metaverse responsibly. The submission deadline is 25 July 2022, and the results will be announced on 5 September 2022.

The global augmented reality and virtual reality market, in the current year (2022), is expected to have a market size of US$37.0 billion and grow up to US$114.5 billion by 2027 within a 5-year forecast period at a market growth rate of 25.3%.

The driving factors behind this growth include increased healthcare applications of augmented reality, increased applications of augmented reality and virtual reality in retail and e-commerce, strong government funding for the facilitation of growth of the AR and VR market, partnerships between augmented reality device manufacturers and various service industries, the rise in the usage and demand for virtual reality in e-learning, medical training, increased demand of virtual reality in manufacturing divisions.

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