The Metaverse: Be there or miss out on valuable opportunities

Operating in virtual world will become mandatory in less than 10 years, expert says


Rohma Sadaqat

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Published: Sat 2 Jul 2022, 6:38 PM

Last updated: Sat 2 Jul 2022, 8:16 PM

Companies that fail to factor in what opportunities the Metaverse can unlock for their businesses will either lose sizable portions of their revenues or become totally obsolete, in a little less than 10 years even, experts said at the Web3.0 summit in Dubai.

Organised by MetaDecrypt, with Khaleej Times as a Media Partner, the event is being held in Dubai for the first time ever at the iconic Museum of the Future under the theme ‘Reimagining the Future’.

The two-day knowledge summit brings together professionals, builders, creators, and dreamers of the Metaverse and the entire blockchain ecosystem, from exchanges to traders, investors, and developers.

In his opening keynote, Khalifa AlJaziri AlShehhi, member of the Dubai Future Council on Energy, and co-founder of Smart IoT LLC, talked about the importance of new technologies in “changing the user experience”.

“People are excited to come to Dubai, and the UAE, to experience new technologies and the possibilities of the future,” he said.

“We tell them that they are making the right choice by coming here, because, at the end of the day, you want to be in an ecosystem that accepts you and is waiting for you.”

“We want to go beyond telling people to ‘come and check out our website’, we want to invite them to come online and immerse themselves in an experience in the Metaverse where they can talk to agents, enquire about a service, and then consume it in the way they like and at a time they want,” he added.

He also noted that the UAE, on a government level, is dedicated to doing its part in creating the future. “We are aware that this is not possible unless you have the appetite to change regulations. This is why we have the Regulation Lab that extends support to anyone with an idea that requires a business license.”

Thomas Kuruvilla, managing partner at Arthur D.Little Middle East, in his presentation on the $13 trillion Metaverse economy, believes that operating in the Metaverse will become mandatory in less than 10 years.

“The Metaverse will surely be an integral part of business – in the foreseeable future, 15 to 20 per cent of the economy may be in the Metaverse. All the ingredients of the Metaverse are maturing; technology, user acceptance, regulations, and security are all maturing. In Dubai, all the regulations are in place, the digital twin is being announced, and transactions are already being initiated,” he said.

He added that the Web3 presents an exciting opportunity to build and deepen immersive direct relationships with consumers across industries. Citing recent studies, he also revealed that the Metaverse is predicted to be worth $800 billion by market size by 2024. The target addressable market for the Metaverse economy in 2030 will be worth between $8-$13 trillion; while the annual growth of the Metaverse industry is estimated to be around 44 per cent by 2028. In addition, there are also estimates that over 10,000 Metaverse related jobs will pop up over a five-year period.

“Several industry leaders across various sectors, ranging from automobiles, fashion, retail, and healthcare are already well into their Metaverse journey,” he stated.

“In every sector, there are three to four very successful Metaverse replications with 40-50 per cent sales.”

The impact of the Metaverse is already in Dubai, he said, pointing to the Dubai Metaverse Strategy. “I am expecting that the Metaverse will be made mandatory; most planning will be in the Metaverse in 10 years, maybe even earlier.”

As an example, he highlighted the sale of units in the real estate sector. An interested buyer will be able to tour the unit in the Metaverse before making their purchasing decision. “I think it will even be mandatory for you to sign the contract for the sale of the unit in the Metaverse; and this contract will be legally binding so that you can take action against a developer if they fail to show you that what they have in the Metaverse is the reality.”

While technologies have matured to the point where they are able to support the Metaverse, its adoption will rely on network reliability, other experts pointed out.

Dr. Marwan Alzarouni, founder and CEO of the Dubai Blockchain Center and managing partner at Accelliance Builder’s Tribe, agreed that Blockchain technology and Web 3 will play a huge role in supporting every other technology that is present in Dubai.

“The idea for regulations, as seen by the Government of Dubai, is actually thinking of possibilities, not limitations,” he said. “Towards this end, we even have a Ministry of Possibilities that focuses on such topics. This shows everyone the mindset that the Government has in Dubai – we don’t see limitations, we only see possibilities. Blockchain is no different when it comes to supporting our vision.”

A lot of the initiatives that came out since 2018 have made the UAE one of the most forward looking regulators in the world, he added. “We regulate to enable technology, not hinder progress.”

“One of the greatest things that the Metaverse actually allows is that it gives you access to opportunities that was never possible before. How many of us here can say that they know an astronaut or have even met one? Beyond that, how many can say that they have been to space? The Metaverse is the key to unlocking such experiences. You can experience outer space, gain access to events, and interact with personalities that you might never have even thought possible,” he said.

Metaverse will need collaboration across all sectors


Richa Patil. — Photo by Neeraj Murali
Richa Patil. — Photo by Neeraj Murali

For organisations to realise the true potential of the Metaverse will require greater collaboration across all sectors, says Richa Patil, founder & CEO at MetaDecrypt Blockchain Tech & Consulting.

Speaking at the Web3.0 summit in Dubai, she highlighted the importance of the event in bringing together experts as well as crypto enthusiasts to learn more about Blockchain and how important the technology will be in the coming years.

“Blockchain in itself is a complex subject and many individuals today find it hard to fully grasp the concept and how they can adapt it to their businesses. Even when they know about the technology, many industries tend to work in silos and this has to change. The summit today is a platform where we have gathered together these changemakers so that they can discuss and prepare for the future.”

She added that Dubai is an excellent choice for technology events given the “openness” of the government and the support they offer in adopting various new technologies. She also hoped that attendees at the event would use the new content that is available to learn more about concepts such as the Metaverse in order to accelerate discussions and actions around the technology.

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