The Future in the eyes of Dubai Metaverse Assembly

04 Nov 2022
Dubai Business Capital

We have a vague understanding of what defines metaverse. Does it encompass virtual reality, cyberspace, augmented reality, Web3, digital avatars, non-fungible tokens and blockchain? Optimistically, it is a new way of interacting with futuristic technology. Tech giants across the world like Microsoft, Google, Apple, Snap, Meta, as well as startups and SMEs have embraced metaverse as the future of the internet. As a metaverse hub, Dubai has not bucked the trend. The city’s technological prowess, vibrant innovation, research and development ecosystem and advanced digital infrastructure, provides a foundation upon which metaverses can be built. The combination of a flexible, robust regulatory framework and supportive government-led efforts are helping cultivate a culture of innovation and a smooth transition to a digital economy in emirate.

According to economic analysts at the Analysis Group, adoption of the metaverse over the next 10 years could lead to a $3tn contribution to the global GDP in 2031. With an aim to place Dubai among the top 10 metaverse economies globally, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) launched the Dubai Metaverse Strategy.

The strategy seeks to support as many as 40,000 additional virtual jobs and generate up to $4bn for the city’s GDP by 2030. These jobs will mostly be in fields such as augmented and virtual reality. Providing a roadmap for the future, the strategy is in line with the recently concluded ‘Dubai Metaverse Assembly’. Organised by DFF, the event was held at the Museum of the Future and AREA 2071 in Emirates Towers, Dubai from September 28 to 29.  Hosting more than 500 global experts, policymakers, thought leaders and decision-makers from over 40 organisations, the event explored how revolutionary technology can be deployed across vital sectors to create a better future. Many international organisations and companies participated in the assembly, including the World Economic Forum, Meta, Binance, MasterCard, The Sandbox, Bedu, PwC, Accenture, BCG Digital Ventures, Dubai Blockchain Center and DeCentraland.

The assembly also witnessed participation from government entities and local organisations, such as the Dubai International Financial Centre, VARA, Majid Al Futtaim, DAMAC and Dubai Digital, among others, with the aim of evaluating national projects and exchanging experiences on the metaverse.

Highlights of the event

Over two days, the Dubai Metaverse Assembly brought together experts to engage in over 25 sessions, activations, workshops and side-sessions. Discussions covered the latest developments in metaverse technologies and explored partnerships to develop digital infrastructure to create future applications for government services, finance, communications and other industries.   

Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, revealed the five pillars that will reinforce the new Dubai Metaverse Strategy: tourism, real estate, education, retail and government services.  He stated how Dubai is serious about sowing the seeds and discovering the potential of the metaverse. “Our population in the metaverse is already the same size as those in India and China, despite our smaller geographic size. This shows that we continue to punch above our weight as a nation. And as we aim to become a top ten ‘metaverse’ economy, we will create a digital twin of Dubai to simulate our plans for tourism, real estate, education, retail and government services in the virtual world.”

Attendees got to witness a glimpse of the future, such as the Ministry of Economy’s metaverse headquarters where meetings can be held.  Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy stated, “We are setting up a third office, this time in the metaverse, to complement our physical locations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The metaverse is a new economic equaliser and under the vision of our leaders, we will continue to pave the way for a new era of opportunities that accelerate our knowledge-driven economy.”