The so-called future of the internet is not here yet, but it is coming soon and is being developed in the Metaverse, with early adopters saying now is the time to join in.
But for most of us, the metaverse remains a mystery. In simple terms, it means a computer-generated extended reality, or XR, which includes all aspects of augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality. Right now it is mostly made up of spaces where humans and automated entities interact.
Estimates of the value of the market over the next 15 years vary globally between €10 trillion and €30 trillion underscoring the massive potential of the new platform and Dubai is planning on becoming a world leader.
The City’s Metaverse Strategy aims to increase the contribution of the sector to the emirate’s economy to €4 billion by 2030.
From creating jobs to enhancing technology trends and opening up business opportunities, the plan is to enhance the economy.
The strategy is seeking to implement metaverse technologies that can help improve the performance of resident surgeons by 230% and increase the productivity of engineers by 30%, in addition to helping 42,000 jobs become virtual.
Consumers on board
MasterCard’s annual digital payments index report has illustrated consumers are on board with the changing times.
MENA East General Manager at Mastercard, J.K. Khalil, said they saw a 67% growth in digital payments, and adding the metaverse to that kind of matrix and ecosystem is going to create even more opportunities.
“Our partners are asking us a lot of questions about the metaverse, whether they're fintech, whether they're merchants, whether they're banks. They're all equally excited and curious about metaverse and having very constructive discussions about these partnerships going forward.”
Researchers say a quarter of us will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, social and/or entertainment by 2026.
Ownership changes the model
Scopernia is a Dubai-based company that helps brands and organisations to understand new technologies like Web3 and harness opportunities to reach consumers.
Jérémy Denisty, Managing Partner MENA at Scopernia said the area of interest today is the metaverses that allow you to own things.
“So you create something, you own it, you buy a shirt for your avatar. You can actually resell that shirt to someone else. You want to buy land, you can buy land. You can actually purchase and own the land and then resell it.“
He added that tangibility completely changes the unit economics.
“It means new business models, new ways for people to invest, new ways for people to build business models. So, of course, you need a strategy for it. And that touches people like you and me, you know, individuals, but it also touches organisations…opens a whole new realm of possibilities.”
Briar Prestidge is the CEO and founder of the Prestidge Group. She says describing the metaverse right now is a bit like describing the internet back in the 1990s. She recently spent 48 hours in the metaverse to learn more about virtual reality, what brands are currently doing, and the different things available across platforms.
“As an entrepreneur, I always try and be future focussed with my businesses. And again, just from my perspective, Web3 and the metaverse is just the next continuation of the internet. So every company, in my opinion, will become a Web3 company. So, I wanted to start experimenting and explore it for myself.”
She added that through her experience she is really encouraging people to stay curious and start participating in the metaverse.
Earlier this year Dubai’s Virtual Assests Regulatory Authority became the world’s first regulator aiming to provide a framework for financial entities to operate in the metaverse, including, among others, the bank and state services, demonstrating their commitment to becoming a key player in the virtual world.