Dubai: New facility to train companies in metaverse, Web3 technology

Investors are interested in acquiring virtual lands because of scarcity: expert


Nasreen Abdulla

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Representational image
Representational image

Published: Wed 26 Oct 2022, 2:01 PM

Last updated: Wed 26 Oct 2022, 5:01 PM

A new facility in Dubai is going to help companies in the city learn about and train employees in new technology, including metaverse and Web3.

The brainchild of 21-year-old Leila Hurstel, Verse Estate is a high-tech showroom at Alserkal Dubai that aims to introduce hyper-realism to help businesses to transition seamlessly to the virtual world.

"With Web3, the power is shifting to consumers," said Hurstel.

"The internet as we know is being entirely reshaped. Web 3.0 is decentralised, where users are able to own and monetise their data, putting the power in users' hands rather than tech giants."

At her young age, not only is Hurstel the board member and Chief Metaverse Officer (CMO) at Verse Estate, but she is also the founder of the Allstarswomen DAO, an initiative to help close the gender gap in the tech space and Web3 industry. She says her upbringing helped steer her into the field of Web3.

"My father is an investor, so I grew up surrounded by talks of emerging tech and investment," she said.

"I knew right from the get-go that I wanted to do something in that field. While at university, I explored crypto and NFTs. Later, I became interested in the metaverse because I see it as the evolution of the internet. In the future, all companies will have immersive technology and we chose to headquarter in Dubai because I think it is the most happening place in terms of Web3. I firmly believe we are in the right business in the right place at the right time."

As part of the facility's opening, it hosted an event titled Good Morning Web3, which brought together thought leaders to debate and discuss some of the core topics surrounding Web3.

The right time to enter the metaverse and return on engagement (ROE) were some of the topics discussed at the event.

"The best time to be on the metaverse was yesterday," said Sharad Aggarwal, founder of Cyber Gear, who was a moderator at the event. "The second-best time is today. It is clear that the metaverse is the future. That is why it is important for companies to take the leap into metaverse and Web3 as soon as they can."

He also brought up the term ROE.

"A lot of companies ask me what the return on investment (ROI) is when setting up their space in metaverse," he said.

"I ask them to calculate the ROE. Companies cannot get into the metaverse and immediately expect returns. They have to invest their time and money in building up engagement with their customers. If you open up a metaverse space and leave it without engagement or without anything interesting happening, no one will return to the space."

According to Akina Ho, it was important for companies to remember that the idea of the metaverse was to cater to a whole new demographic of customers.

"A lot of businesses make the mistake of thinking that they want their current consumers to find them in the metaverse as well," she said. "However, that is not the point. The point of the metaverse is to find new tech-savvy consumers who may have never heard of the business but will do so because of the metaverse."

Changing industries

According to speakers at the event, several industries have been revolutionised because of the metaverse. One of them is the fashion industry.

"People are no longer walking into shops and trying on clothes," said Akina Ho, Global Head of Business Consultancy and Lead Ambassador AllStarsWomen DAO.

"It takes them 60 seconds to create an avatar and try on clothes in the metaverse. This is changing how fashion retailers are doing business."

In addition to fashion, other fields like education, retail and even real estate are changing rapidly because of the metaverse.

"The metaverse economy is a functional economy like the real one," said Hurstel.

"Thanks to NFTs, users can buy land, build a virtual store and sell digital assets. Investors are interested in acquiring virtual lands because of scarcity. Just as in physical communities, people are flocking to interesting places in the metaverse, and the popularity naturally drives up the value of virtual land – exactly as it would in Paris or Beverly Hills."


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