Its first followers say so: it’s time to join the Metaverse. Researchers estimate that by 2026, one in four of us will spend at least an hour a day there for work, shopping, exercise, socializing or entertainment.
But for most of us, this alternate digital world remains a mystery. It is actually a computer generated augmented reality that includes all augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality environments. Currently, it consists of spaces where people and autonomous units interact.
According to estimates, the value of the global Metaverse market over the next 15 years could reach between 10,000 and 30,000 billion euros. The potential promises to be significant, and Dubai in particular intends to exploit it to become a world leader in this new field.
Its dedicated strategy for 2030 aims to increase the contribution of this sector to its economy to 4 billion euros and create 42,000 virtual jobs. It aims to implement Metaverse technologies that can help improve the performance of local surgeons by 230% and increase the productivity of engineers by 30%.
Major technology companies such as Apple, Google, Meta Platforms – formerly Facebook – and Microsoft are developing the technologies that will shape the future of the Metaverse. MasterCard also follows the trend. Its annual Digital Payments Index report shows that consumers are ready to adapt to these developments.
Its managing director for the Eastern Middle East and North Africa (MENA), JK Khalil, says data from his group shows a 67% growth in digital payments. “If we add Metaverse to this kind of matrix, to this ecosystem, it’s going to create even more opportunities, so it’s very important to participate in that.” he says. “Our partners, whether fintech, retail or banking, are all excited about Metaverse and are interested in having constructive discussions about future partnerships,” he states.
New business models
Scopernia is a Dubai-based company that helps brands and organizations understand new technologies like Web3 and leverage its opportunities.
“The kinds of Metaverse that are interesting today are the ones where you can own things,” says Jérémy Denisty, general manager MENA of this company. “So we create something and it’s up to us; we buy a shirt for our avatar and we can resell it to someone, or if you want to acquire land, you can buy it and then resell it.” he specifies.
“It totally changes the way the economy works in the virtual world: it means new ways for people to invest and create business models,” he continues. “So of course it is necessary to have a strategy in this area, and we are all concerned, you and me as individuals, but also organizations: it opens up a whole field of possibilities.” he points out.
Based in the emirate, Briar Prestidge is the CEO and founder of the Prestidge Group. She, too, is betting on Metaverse. She compares it to the Internet of the 90s. Recently, she spent 48 hours in this alternate world to find out what forms it takes and how brands are present in it.
“For me, Web3 and Metaverse are just an extension of the Internet: in my opinion, all companies will move to Web3, I encourage everyone to stay curious and be a part of it.” she assures. “I wanted to apply my own principles, so I decided to launch one of the first Emirati virtual NFT collections for avatars, derived from the pieces of my brand Briar Prestidge, and they were presented during the world’s first Metaverse Fashion Week.” the young woman points out.
Earlier this year, Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority became the first regulator in the world to provide a framework for financial entities to operate in the Metaverse, illustrating the emirate’s ambition to become a key to this digital world.