Dubai’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister have together launched their Dubai metaverse strategy, aiming to turn the Middle Eastern city into one of the world’s top metaverse economies as well as a global hub for the metaverse community.
Dubai has managed to attract around 1,000 blockchain and metaverse-based companies to date, a position its new strategy hopes to capitalise upon. In this regard, the strategy has set out an ambitious proposal to create 40,000 ‘virtual’ jobs by the year 2030; an extremely difficult task given the lack of fintech talent that’s currently holding the industry in a chokehold.
It is hoped that the strategy will increase the number of relevant companies in the city by five-fold within the same time period.
Dubai continues to push itself as the destination for metaverse technology testing, something that its advocates hope will improve the metaverse’s impact on both regional and global economies.
Commenting on the launch of the strategy, Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, minister of state for artificial intelligence (AI), digital economy and teleworking applications, reiterated the importance of designing the future with new digital strategies for adopting the metaverse in vital sectors.
He recognised how the metaverse would provide innovative solutions, positively impact people’s lives, and transform the city into one of the smartest hubs with an abundance of economic opportunities.
The strategy aims to foster innovation, enhance the metaverse’s economic contributions through research and development collaborations, and promote ecosystems utilising accelerators and incubators that attract companies and projects to Dubai.
It emphasises fostering talent and investing in future capabilities by providing the necessary support in metaverse education aimed at developers, content creators and users of digital platforms in the metaverse community.
The strategy supports the development of Web3 technology and its applications to create new governmental work models and development in vital sectors, including tourism, education, retail, remote work, healthcare and the legal sector.
It also aims to develop global standards in building safe and secure platforms for users and develop metaverse infrastructure and regulations to accelerate the adoption of these technologies.
The strategy’s key pillars focus on extended reality (which blends the physical and virtual worlds), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality, and digital twins (a virtual representation of an object or system).
It also aims to leverage real-time data using machine learning and IoT, and employing AI simulation and blockchain to enhance the human thinking processes.
Data, network, cloud, and edge computing are technology pillars of the metaverse strategy that focus on real-world data that is obtained, validated, stored, processed, and managed.
Other pillars include promoting the full deployment of 5G networks to enable edge computing and provide on-demand computer system resources. Edge computing allows data to be collected, stored, and processed locally via smart devices and local networks instead of the cloud.
VR and AR are two key enablers of the metaverse, responsible for 6,700 jobs and contributing $500million to the UAE’s economy, which is expected to increase significantly in the future. The metaverse provides an array of economic opportunities.
Globally, the value of venture capital and private equity financing in the metaverse reached $13billion in 2021, while real estate sales in the metaverse surpassed $500million last year.
Second Life – a virtual world in which participants can explore fantasy landscapes and build their own – contributed more than $650million to global GDP in 2021. The metaverse also achieved 200 strategic partnerships with Sandbox, a decentralised gaming virtual world, which includes the launch of the Warner Music Group as a music-themed virtual world in the metaverse.
Analysts estimate that the metaverse will contribute up to $5trillion to the global economy by 2030. The market value of NFTs is expected to reach $80billion, while consumer spending on in-game purchases is reckoned to reach $75billion by 2025.
Recent studies show that the daily active users on Roblox, one of the leading global metaverse communities, has increased to 55 million. At the same time, 59 per cent of global consumers are keen to transition at least one of their everyday activities to the metaverse.
Dubai’s Prime Minister directed government teams to start developing the strategy 60 days before its launch. The strategy promotes the employment of a connected network of virtual spaces to enhance the community’s wellbeing in Dubai and enhance initiatives making it a role model in metaverse technologies with a robust digital infrastructure.