‘The future is Meta’, say experts at Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival 2021

The fifth edition of one of the largest events for entrepreneurs in the region delves into the real-world applications of the metaverse



Anna Seaman, Co-founder of the Morrow Collective, explored the real-world applications of accessing a 3D digital world where physical, augmented, and virtual reality converge in a shared online space. — Supplied photo
Anna Seaman, Co-founder of the Morrow Collective, explored the real-world applications of accessing a 3D digital world where physical, augmented, and virtual reality converge in a shared online space. — Supplied photo
by

Muzaffar Rizvi

Published: Tue 23 Nov 2021, 8:06 PM

The fifth Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF 2021) has demystified the concept of the ‘metaverse’, highlighting the boundless possibilities that emerge when the virtual and real worlds merge at an insightful panel discussion titled, ‘Reality Bites: Going Meta about the Metaverse’.

The session staged at SEF 2021 on Monday, moderated by Anna Seaman, Co-founder of the Morrow Collective, explored the real-world applications of accessing a 3D digital world where physical, augmented, and virtual reality converge in a shared online space.

“It was Facebook’s rebranding as Meta just over a month ago that brought the term to the forefront of the world’s attention,” said Simon Hudson, CEO, Cheeze, a photography focused Non-Fungible Token (NFT) media and entertainment company based in Dubai, which has paved the way for the democratisation of powerful imagery by enabling the purchase and trade of these digital assets.

“In the near future, the digital persona will gain as much significance as one’s real-world persona, and NFT badges given at events will transform the way attendance at popular events – such as SEF, for example, are looked upon. The Proof of Attendance Protocol – in lieu of lanyards – will gain value as a digital token and enable individuals to connect with members of the NFT community.”

Anthony Monteard, cofounder of Jumy, an NFT boutique marketplace for digital art, said jumy is a curated platform designed to offer a fully integrated digital art experience for both creators and collectors.

“Our virtual gallery will showcase the digital collections of top artists and creators and will be exclusively available on our platform. We are big believers in metaverse and with new business models emerging, this is the right time to invest in it,” he said.

NFTs a game changer

Amrita Sethi, a trailblazing artist from the UAE who launched her NFT portfolio in 2020, said that NFTs have “literally changed my life, and are breaking boundaries from the physical to the virtual world.”

“My style of art – voice note art – which combines sound and storytelling uses animations and augmented reality through which I am able to tell my story to viewers and is symbolic of how NFTs are changing the art world,” she said.

With the Mena region steering the growth of digital innovation and emerging technologies, blockchain and digital assets will impact lives, noted Anwaar Almahmeed, CFA, managing director, Republic Mena.

“When the internet was first launched, Web 1.0 was all about static content while with Web 2.0, users became creators. Web 3.0 has paved the way for decentralisation as users now own the data, allowing them to take ownership and share their talents and creations. The ultimate goal of these emerging technologies is to decentralise communities and democratise access to investment, enable people to invest in the future,” she said.

The fifth edition of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF), one of the largest events for entrepreneurs in the region, organised by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), witnessed the participation of 55 speakers, including influential regional and global entrepreneurs, industry titans, and young creatives from social, cultural and sports sectors, and more. The two-day event brought together more than 4,000 entrepreneurs and founders of startups across sectors on one platform, who discussed ways to make a meaningful impact and promote positive change in the local and regional entrepreneurship sectors.

SEF 2021 was organised in partnership with the ICT Fund – an initiative of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and the Digital Government of the United Arab Emirates, Sharjah Media City (Shams), Alef Group, and the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority.

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com