Metaverse set to unlock Web3 opportunities for businesses

Emirates to engage with industry partners on Web3 strategy, recruit talent for its pipeline projects.



by

Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Fri 15 Apr 2022, 10:29 PM

Last updated: Fri 17 Jun 2022, 5:49 PM

Have you created your avatar in the virtual world? No! then you are delaying your formal entry into the world of the ever-evolving metaverse, which is all set to unlock Web3 opportunities for businesses and consumers in the UAE.

Onset of Covid-impact pushed digitisation, which compelled businesses to adopt innovative digital marketing strategies to keep up with consumer demand of wanting to see products and services first in the virtual world and then in the real world as most of us try to live on our hand-held device be it mobiles, iPads and so on.

The latest research from the University of Cambridge shows several companies have pledged to heavily invest in designing immersive technologies that will lead the development of the metaverse. Metaverse, currently known as a set of digital spaces, including interconnected immersive 3D experiences, allows people to be virtually represented by avatars in a digital immersive environment where they can connect, socialise, work, and explore with others who are not physically present.

This digital disruption will impact all the key economic sectors in an attempt to serve ultra-tech savvy consumers.

A formal announcement was made by Emirates airline of its launching a non-fungible token (NFTs) and exciting experiences in the metaverse for its customers and employees. The airline unveiled its plans to build signature brand experiences in the metaverse, alongside both collectible and utility-based NFTs. The first projects are already underway, with a launch anticipated in the coming months.

Emirates also announced that its Emirates Pavilion at the Expo 2020 site will be repurposed into a centre for innovation, bringing talent from all over the globe to bring to life the airline’s future-focused projects including those relating to the metaverse, NFTs and Web3.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman, and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group said: “Dubai and the UAE are blazing the way in the digital economy, having a clear vision supported by practical policies and regulatory frameworks in areas such as virtual assets, artificial intelligence, and data protection.

“Emirates has always embraced advanced technologies to improve our business processes, enhance our customer offering, and enrich our employees’ skills and experiences. We are excited about the opportunities in the digital space of the future and are committing significant investment in financial and resource terms, to develop products and services using advanced technologies that will deliver on revenue, brand experience, and business efficiencies. It is fitting that our future-themed Emirates Pavilion at Expo is being repurposed as a hub to develop cutting-edge future experiences aligned with the UAE’s vision for the digital economy.”

Emirates continues to engage with industry partners on its Web3 strategy, and recruit talent for its pipeline projects. The global metaverse market size was $62.6 billion in 2021 which is forecast to grow to $848.8 billion by 2030 by registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.1 per cent during the forecast period from 2022 to 2030, says research from Report Ocean.

Similarly, Bedu a Dubai-based digital pioneer helps its clients navigate the future today, through two business verticals, Bedu Labs (NFT factory) and Bedu World (high street for the Metaverse).

Khaled Al Huraimel, co-founder and chairman of Bedu is a leading Emirati tech entrepreneur, AI thought leader, and a strong advocate for digitalisation.

“Bedu is committed to creating a world-leading blockchain, Web3, and Metaverse solutions within the UAE and then expanding that progress throughout the Mena region and beyond, because we see the country as a potential Silicon Valley for NFTs and blockchain,” said Al Huraimel, co-founder and chairman of Bedu.

“We are born out of the UAE, but global in our vision for the next iteration of humanity’s shared digital world. We are the leader in the blockchain space – a gateway to the Metaverse for the UAE and the region. Together with our clients, we shall build a new virtual economy and the next digital frontier.”

Wild and West, co-founded by Abraham Gomez have made over 20 investments into metaverse-focused companies. “Not only are we investors we are also builders. We have key strategic relationships with global leading firms that are foundationally building the metaverse. We have an office in the DIFC and are setting up an office in Abu Dhabi while we continue to expand our team in the region. We firmly believe the UAE is going to become the capital of Crypto and Metaverse in the coming years.”

So why is metaverse seen as a hot bet? “It’s a new world. A world where people will spend more time and more money in. It is absolutely paramount that all brands understand that this is where the world is headed and begin to engage in the metaverse. The Middle East is uniquely positioned geographically and is quickly becoming the crypto hub of the world. With fair regulation it is positioned to be the leading Metaverse country of the world,” added 28-year-old Gomez, who is extremely bullish about the growth of metaverse.

Endorsing a similar view, Atul Hegde, founder of YAAP, said: “ Metaverse is just not about a virtual world alone, there is a whole ecosystem being built around it. This includes all stakeholders — tech companies both hardware and software, brands, agencies, and of course the early-adopting consumers. On one side most big tech companies have committed billions to the development of the Metaverse and on the other side, we have VCs who have poured in billions to power startups who are all building for the metaverse. This is setting up a solid foundation for the success of the Metaverse.” — sandhya@khaleejtimes.com


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