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Matt Hancock Enters the Metaverse

August 24, 2022 | News

Matt Hancock MP, the former Health Secretary, is launching into the Metaverse this summer to talk about Web 3.0, why it’s a key development, and why caution in its delivery needs to be observed. Powered by Shift, the Metaverse enabled online collaboration platform created by Whitespace, the event has been set up to address the ongoing debate about the role of the Metaverse in business and society as a whole.

Matt Hancock MP, who served as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in 2018, not only led the digital transformation of health and social care with NHS X but launched the NHS app. Today, he becomes the first MP to have a personalised avatar, which features in the Shift Metaverse event.

He believes the Metaverse should be open and free, defined by Open Standards and not by a small number of organisations. The Matt Hancock Metaverse event shows how organisations can use the virtual world to discuss, debate and innovate using the Shift platform to deliver multi-layer communication and targeted networking, enhancing innovation and productivity within and between private and public communities.

In his talk, “Web 3.0: What The Future Holds and Why It Must Be Open and Safe”, the MP for West Suffolk identifies his concern about the Metaverse becoming a platform owned by the few where it is not truly free and open, whilst also recognising that regulators have a role to play in defining what is safe and secure and where the line should be drawn between free speech and hate speech.

His view is that we need to learn from Web 1.0, built on open standards, and Web 2.0, which saw the rise of social platforms that are not open, and which define what is allowed and not permitted by users. He proposes that the Metaverse should not be owned or dominated by just one or a few companies. Instead, it should be governed by open standards and liberal values that aim to democratise public discourse and allow anyone to contribute.

Andrew Webber, Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer, at Whitespace commented: “The Metaverse is an incredibly powerful space where events can be held that inspire debate, discussions and collaboration, all of which are key to innovation within the Enterprise environment.

“The Metaverse is a global enabling tool that is more powerful than we can even begin to conceive right now. It has the potential to give organisations around the world access to a domain where they can connect, collaborate, learn and inspire in an immersive way that breaks down traditional digital barriers.

“This ethos is at the core of our Shift Platform, which creates the ability for organisations to create their own branded experience to collaborate with others through a digital workspace and, with Shift Metaverse, a virtual workspace. By empowering this type of remote, digital and virtual collaboration, organisations can enable their staff, their customers, their partners and their wider ecosystem to come together and collaborate in a private, secure and familiar workspace. It’s like taking the best of LinkedIn, Slack and Microsoft Teams and combining them into a single common experience.”

Andrew Webber added: “Matt Hancock’s take on the Metaverse and Web 3.0 throws a fascinating light on the opportunities that businesses have to work with legislators to ensure this new environment works to the benefit of all. It will be interesting to see what academia and the wider business community make of his views.”

Commenting on his first foray into the Metaverse, Mr Hancock, who became the first MP to launch their own smartphone app in 2018, said: “I’ve long been interested in innovation, and the way technology can transform and improve the way we live. From leading the digital transformation of health and social care with NHS X to launching the NHS app, I know how important new technologies are.

“Putting on the headset and not only seeing but hearing myself within the Metaverse was great fun and I look forward to doing it again – perhaps as a fully-fledged avatar next time.”

Mr Hancock added: “The Metaverse is an incredibly important and exciting new technology. We’ve got the opportunity right now to make sure that the next generation of communications is not only open and free, but defined by open standards – not just a small number of organisations.”

Watch a recording of Matt Hancock’s Metaverse event here: