Dubai cements its status as a Metaverse catalyst

Dubai Metaverse Assembly, organized by the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), ended today after demonstrating the UAE’s potential to become a global partner in building digital worlds for the future.At the close of the event, DFF announced that the Dubai Metaverse Assembly would return on the 11th and 12th of October 2023 in a bigger and more immersive experience after achieving outstanding success in its first year.It comes after the flagship event welcomed over 600 experts from the tech industry, witnessed 25 main and side sessions and hosted 30 speakers and 40 tech companies. Additionally, 40,000 tuned in virtually through online streaming and the metaverse technology, offering individuals and government entities a unique immersive experience. Over two days, more than 15 initiatives and strategies were launched during the Dubai Metaverse Assembly, which took place at the Museum of the Future and AREA 2071, Emirates Tower.On the second day, His Excellency Gabriel Abed, Ambassador of Barbados to the United Arab Emirates, announced that the island-nation was entering the metaverse with a new virtual embassy. “Our metaverse embassy will create diplomatic parity for Barbados,” he said. “It will empower developing nations to gain diplomatic representation at the same level as larger nations, without vast budgets or infrastructure.”Sandeep Nailwal Co-Founder of Dubai-based cryptocurrency platform Polygon, valued at USD 25 billion, announced plans to help decentralized technology firms go green and offer energy-efficient – even carbon-neutral – experiences in the metaverse. With most of the company’s senior management now headquartered in Dubai, Nailwal promised to “drive the industry forward toward sustainability.”Ziad Traboulsi, Global Director, Business Engineering, Reality Labs, Meta, revealed the California-headquartered technology company believed its family of apps, Facebook and Instagram, would be a “bridge” for people to enter immersive worlds.The state’s role in governing virtual worlds was keenly debated on the second day’s first panel. Participants included Christian Kunz, Head of Senior Vice President – Strategy, Dubai International Financial Center; Alexander Chehade, Executive Director and General Manager, Binance Dubai; Keith Jordan, VP of Innovation, Mastercard; Vinit Shah, Senior Advisor, Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority; and Catherine Zhou, Group Head of Ventures, Digital Partnerships, and Innovation, HSBC. Whether through the launch of NFTs or by offering new immersive experiences, Emirates will allow millions of people to enjoy its in-flight hospitality virtually, the airline’s Chief Operating Officer, Adel Al Redha, said. He also revealed the carrier planned to hire 4,000 cabin crew by mid-2023 and train them in the metaverse.A panel session on the metaverse’s real-world impact drew the participation of Yusuf Bahadir, Chief Technology Officer, GoArt; Vishal Gondal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, GOQii; David Clark-Joseph, Vice President of Investments, Pixelynx; and Bradford Bird, Head of Partnerships and Collaborations, The Fabricant.Homegrown Emirati companies testing new experiences for the metaverse joined a panel to shed light on how local entrepreneurs were building new digital worlds. The panelists included Amin Al Zarouni, CEO, Bedu; Abdulla Mohamed Al Dhaheri, Deputy Managing Director and Partner, Chaintech Labs; Haya Al Gussain, Founder & CEO, Evolve Network Club; and Abdel Rahman Al Suweidi, CEO, MetaCon Global. Highlighting how blockchain and web 3.0 technologies can spark an evolution in gaming, Sarah Buxton, Chief Operating Officer of Gala Games, said: “We are still at the beginning of our journey, and you know this when the biggest use cases for blockchain are from the banking and the professional services sector.”Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) gaming has become ubiquitous in entertainment, providing gamers with close to real-life experiences, but Ahmed Tehemar Gamefi, BNB Chain, suggested there would be winners and losers. “We now have a lot of metaverses popping up in the gaming industry; in the future we will understand which ones will go on to host the most users,” he said.In a pre-recorded address, Sebastian Borget, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, The Sandbox, said gaming on decentralized platforms would allow players to create their own personal, immersive experiences.The second day of the Dubai Metaverse Assembly concluded with a series of side sessions related to the metaverse and its technologies hosted by companies including Verse Estate, Mastercard, MetaCon, CryptoOasis, EVERDOME, and MetaDecrypt.

Dubai Metaverse Assembly’s side sessions unpick metaverse’s questions

The first of a two-day series of specialized side sessions and startup pitches took place on the sidelines of the Dubai Metaverse Assembly today, which included the participation of leading global technology experts and senior executives from prominent organizations. The side sessions aim to galvanize stakeholders and facilitate contributions towards shaping the metaverse and its potential applications.Value Creation in the MetaverseThe Assembly’s first day witnessed seven side sessions included a group meeting by World Economic Forum on value creation in the metaverse, which outlined the parameters of an economically viable, inclusive and safe metaverse, focusing on two core areas: governance, and economic and social value creation.Taking place at Coders HQ, a side session organized by Accenture titled ‘Accelerating Value Creation in the Metaverse’ looked at metaverse and web 3.0 applications for enterprises. The session outlined use cases and explored delivering excellent employee experience as well as harnessing virtual worlds to unlock new models of customer experience.Aviation in the MetaverseAdel Al Redha, Chief Operating Officer at Emirates Airline, delivered a keynote as part of the ‘Aviation in the Metaverse’ side session held by Emirates Airline. His speech was followed by panel discussions on interoperability and reality gradient. Themes included realism of avatars, AR and VR, regulation, and the role of standards.Road to MetaverseAnother side session titled ‘Road to the Metaverse: Innovating Governance’ was held by META and Economist Impact at the Government Accelerators to explore the impact of the metaverse on governments and public service delivery.In addition, Outlier Ventures organized a side session on ‘Taking the Leap from Web2 into the Metaverse’ at Coders HQ, which witnessed a panel of diverse founders, operators, and investors who shared perspectives on the best ways to succeed in the metaverse.Live DemosThe first day of the Dubai Metaverse Assembly also included live demonstrations in web 3.0 and the metaverse introduced by SIAPartners, which provided the attendees with an immersive experience and use cases showing the huge potential of the metaverse and it’s applications.The Dubai Metaverse Assembly is taking place on 28-29 September, gathering over 500 delegates and more than 40 metaverse and artificial intelligence organizations at the Museum of the Future and AREA 2071, Emirates Towers.

Dubai metaverse assembly showcases the potential of metaverse

Dubai Metaverse Assembly, organized by the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), kicked off today under the patronage of Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation.More than 500 delegates including government ministers, business leaders, global corporations, key decisionmakers and the metaverse community joined the first-of-its-kind assembly that aimed to deeply understand the metaverse and unlock its potential.Participants included His Excellency Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications; His Excellency Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO of DP World; His Excellency Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of DFF, as well as leaders from World Economic Forum, Microsoft, Meta, Accenture, PwC, and Binance, Majid Al Futtaim, DAMAC, Digital Dubai, among others.His Excellency Abdulla bin Touq announced the launch of the Ministry of Economy’s metaverse office during the first panel session, in line with the UAE’s vision to become a global leader in the digital economy.“The UAE has the potential to become one of the world’s top 10 metaverse economies and a global center for the metaverse community,” he said. “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 equalizer 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,” he added.In the presence of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, revealed for the first time that five pillars will underpin the new Dubai Metaverse Strategy – tourism, real estate, education, retail and government services.“Dubai is serious about discovering the potential of the metaverse and sowing the seeds to ensure we reap the economic rewards in the future,” he said. “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 10 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.”His Excellency Sultan bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DP World, took part in a fireside chat on the importance of building a backbone for web 3.0 technologies that will allow people and trade to flow seamlessly across the virtual world.“We are exploring how to deploy the metaverse across our services, including simulations of warehousing and terminal operations, container and vessel repair inspections, safety training, and other commercial uses,” he said. “Our customers will now be able to see and understand the whole supply chain from end to end with full visibility and take corrective action in case of logistics bottlenecks. We hope that using this technology, we will be able to keep trade flowing, increase visibility and minimize disruption to build trade networks fit for the future,” said HE Sultan bin Sulayem.His Excellency Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, delivered the opening address at the forum. He said: “Technology has become ubiquitous, revolutionizing our daily lives and playing an existential part in vital sectors including education, finance, energy and even healthcare. By applying new technologies and tools, we can see improvement in living standards. The metaverse will likely infiltrate every sector in some way in the coming years, with the market opportunity estimated at over USD 1 trillion in annual revenues. Under the UAE’s leadership, Dubai can become as a testbed to build a network of technology leaders and create collaborations to build a metaverse ecosystem that will allow us to seamlessly connect between real and virtual worlds.”Ihab Foudeh, Public Sector General Manager, Middle East and Africa at Microsoft, delivered a keynote speech on the future of the metaverse. He highlighted new opportunities for governments, corporates, and societies, and addressed why investors are placing big bets on the metaverse.Foudeh’s speech was followed a discussion on real estate in the virtual world. The panel included: Joe Abi Akel, Chief Corporate Development Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Group; Ali Sajwani, General Manager, Damac Properties; Guy Parsonage, Partner and Experience Consulting Lead, PwC; and Samuel Hamilton Creative Director, Decentraland Foundation. It explored the virtual real estate sector, the opportunities to engage new customers and the types of activity we can expect to see.Another panel on how to maximize the metaverse’s potential examined its various building blocks, including decentralized technologies, platforms, and applications included: Cathy Li, Head of Media, Entertainment and Sport Platform, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum; Dr. Marwan Al Zarouni, Founder, Strategic Advisor, Dubai Digital; and James Hairston, Director of Reality Labs Policy, Meta, Balsam Danhach, Chief Executive Officer, FTX MENA.Asma Shabab, Senior Director of Innovation Advisory at Accenture, and Ann Griblin, Director of Accenture Labs, emphasized the importance of enhancing trust and neutralizing concerns over privacy, bias, fairness and human influence. They also spoke about how to manage the blurring line between the physical and digital lives of people.Jaid Meskel from Magic Leap Company presented a session on metaverse applications and the role of augmented reality in developing vital sectors and successfully applying new and innovative practices to advance healthcare, manufacturing and automotives.Accenture, the World Economic Forum, Meta, The Economist, Asiarath and Outlier Ventures held closed side-sessions during the first day of the Assembly, in addition to nine immersive experiencers for delegates to explore the metaverse.Over two days, the Dubai Metaverse Assembly will witness more than 25 sessions, meetings and side sessions. Discussions will cover the latest developments in metaverse technologies and explore strategic partnerships to develop digital infrastructure and anticipate how it can be used to create future applications for government services, finance, communications, and other industries.The Dubai Metaverse Assembly is the first event of its kind since His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the Dubai Metaverse Strategy in July. The strategy aims to add USD 4 billion to Dubai’s GDP, support 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030 and attract 1,000 companies specializing in blockchain and metaverse technologies to turn Dubai's into one of the world's top 10 metaverse economies. The strategy further aims to boost Dubai’s economy and support the UAE’s vision to increase blockchain and metaverse companies by 5 folds in the upcoming 5 years.

Dubai will host a global metaverse event in September

Following the launch of a specific strategy to increase the sector's contribution to its economy, Dubai will hold a global conference in September that will bring together experts in the metaverse.The Dubai Metaverse Assembly will take place on September 28 and 29 in the emirate's renowned Museum of the Future, as announced by Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.It will examine how the technology may be applied across important industries.More than 300 professionals, decision-makers, and thought leaders representing more than 40 organisations will attend the event and participate in seminars and workshops focusing on cutting-edge technology.The crown prince of Dubai stated: "We want to use this technology to improve life in the UAE and everywhere else. We want Dubai to lead the world in embracing future technology, comprehending its advancements, maximising its potential, and bringing about change."Within 15 years, the market for the metaverse is predicted to grow to $30 trillion. The news comes shortly after Sheikh Hamdan introduced the Dubai Metaverse Strategy, which he expects would boost the local economy by $4 billion. As part of the goal, 40,000 new jobs will be created in the sector and Dubai's metaverse and blockchain business population will be doubled.