'Whoever controls metaverse will control the world'

The event was sponsored by Galadari Brothers; Redington and Magnati were Strategic partners; Kalandoor was Networking sponsor; Crypto Oasis was Ecosystem Partner; and was supported Dubai Blockchain Center.


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Wed 21 Sep 2022, 11:32 PM

Last updated: Thu 22 Sep 2022, 1:23 PM

Adoption of the metaverse is growing by leaps and bound and those who control the metaverse will control the world, said industry executives and senior government officials at a conference on Wednesday.

While speaking at the inaugural edition of metaverse conference Metavision, which was organised by Khaleej Times, industry professionals said metaverse will provide strong growth opportunities for various sectors, especially, retail, gaming, fashion, education, banking and numerous others. However, they called for educating people because it’s a more of consumer-driven technology and developing communities is key to success.

They also noted that creating experiences is the most important aspect to make a mark in the metaverse and ensure sustainable growth for enterprises.

The single-day conference shed light from both the consumer and corporate perspectives and the role of use cases for ordinary consumers.

The event was sponsored by Galadari Brothers; Redington and Magnati were Strategic partners; Kalandoor was Networking sponsor; Crypto Oasis was Ecosystem Partner; and was supported Dubai Blockchain Center.

Dr Marwan Al Zarouni, Director of Information Services at Dubai Digital, said the emirate’s metaverse strategy is focused on value creation and upskilling the youth that aligns with the requirement of the industries.

“The first and the most economically viable use of metaverse right now revolves around gamification. Whoever controls the metaverse, will control the world,” he said.

Highlighting the importance of seamless digital experiences, especially in the metaverse, he said a large number of those who experienced Dubai virtually are more likely to come as a tourist rather than those who have not experienced it.

Stressing the necessity and role of compliance and safety in the metaverse, he said the UAE has zero tolerance for harassment and bullying and this creates a healthy and intoxicant environment in the country.

During the long-day event held at Al Habtoor Palace, the speakers discussed everything from cryptocurrency to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), experiential commerce, how governments should prepare for the metaverse, and the blending of the physical and digital worlds.

Leila Hurstel, chief metaverse officer, VerseEstate, said companies are using metaverse mainly for customer experiences, enhancing growth and improving revenues but there are many more opportunities that this technology can offer.

While speaking during a panel discussion about the role of women in the metaverse, she pointed out that there are not many females in the metaverse field. “When I go to the conferences, I see just one or two females.”

Mehdi Cherif, co-founder and CEO, Pulse, said Metaverse is a new paradigm shift and its social aspect is very important. “Social media and digital platforms that don’t have strong social aspects are struggling.”

Musfir Khawaja, co-founder, NFTone, added that education has a massive scope in the metaverse. “Creating a university in the metaverse is a good use case for people who can’t access campus where people can interact with teachers and classmates. That is a huge opportunity.”

Gaurav Dubey, chief executive officer, TdeFi, said there is a need to create value in projects and the future of metaverse is the present websites where everyone will have a private metaverse.

“You need to create value to monetise projects in the metaverse. Best startups were never the same when they were conceptualised. Value is not what you think but what people demand. My vision of a successful metaverse is somebody who is able to deliver and meet the demand of audiences,” he said during a panel discussion on “Masters of the Metaverse”.

Community key to success

Luca Lamberti, chief executive officer, 99starz, said educating the people, especially Gen Z, is important as many still struggle to manage their wallets.

“Feedback from community and users is key to success because metaverse is fast and more demographic. It will take time for firms to adopt but the fashion industry is embracing it faster,” he said, adding that gamification is also more fun and a way for people to learn metaverse.

“More brands and users will come as we are in the early stages of this technology,” he said.

Erik Tolstoy, chief business development officer, LandRocker, said a lot of brands still have the same old traditional way of thinking, therefore, it is going to take a little bit of time to adopt Metaverse, which has limitless opportunities unlike like the physical world which comes with limitations.

“As metaverse companies, it is important that we show use cases. We also try to excite users to educate themselves. Last year, we have picked up a lot of steam in metaverse adoption. In the UAE, we see good potential and more and more brands coming into this field,” added Tolstoy.

Umer Farooq, managing director and head of payment platform, Magnati, pointed out that luxury brands are very quick to embrace the metaverse. “We are seeing a lot of fashion industry in the region and luxury brands coming onto metaverse. They are very excited about it and we should see a leap in the use case,” he said, adding that the real challenge is customer adoption and that is key to success.

“In the next 12 months, a lot of financial institutions will come into this space in addition to retailers who are exploring opportunities,” added Magnati managing director.

The industry executives noted that education, live events such as concerts and sports matches, and real estate can also be great beneficiaries of this new age technology.


In a fireside chat on the virtual reality of healthcare, Jane Thomson, Section Chief Editor, Journal of Metaverse, noted that healthcare professionals can ascertain how a drug is distributed throughout the body with the help of virtual reality.

“We are going to see a tremendous amount of use of metaverse technology in healthcare which is a safe way for discovery and innovation. Instead of training healthcare workers and students in an old way, we need new scientific discoveries and new ways of doing operations,” she said.

“Through metaverse, students can walk inside a human body, travel through arteries and much more. To teach medical students how to do surgery, they can practise in a precise way in a perfect model of a human body in the metaverse and there is no risk involved in it,” Thomson said during the discussion.

She noted that healthcare is going to change a lot as big technology are investing in healthcare firms. “Traditional healthcare system is going to turn on its head. I can get a doctor anywhere in the world through a metaverse. Metaverse is the future of customer experience and metaverse experience is much more real than the current internet experience,” she told the audience at the forum.

At the end of the Metavision conference, Musfir Khawaja, co-founder, nftONE, and Faisal Zaidi, co-founder and CMO, Crypto Oasis, conducted roundtable discussions with the participants.

Zaidi said quality and generational gap are the two major issues when it comes to gaming in the metaverse.

The Metaverse and Web3 is the future of Customer Experience; it should be part of any business strategy that plans to survive in the long term.

"The Metaverse will provide key touchpoints to interact, engage and create meaningful connections with customers. We are witnessing a significant evolution, similar to what we lived 15-20 years ago with Web1 and Web 2. This generation demands instant access and great experiences; the coming generations will also demand immersive experiences where they don’t consume content, but they are part of it. All businesses should be already planning for new ways to create value to customers in the Metaverse, to stay relevant in a market that is re-inventing itself and with customers that are evolving as fast as ever,” said Renata Liuzzi, Founder & CEO, Axis Partners.

Kalandoor Building Contracting a professional Interior Fit-out Solution provider based in Dubai with more than 21 years of experience in Interior design and development is keen to explore Web3.0 solutions to offer its customers latest solutions. Kalandoor, CEO, Kalandoor Building Contracting, said: "The buzz is so high that it indeed creates a curiosity to explore the benefits these latest technologies offer. I am very keen to on board our business and tap marketing opportuntities."


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