Just as the Universe was born from a single point in time and space, the Metaverse is destined for its own Big Bang – a juncture at which new worlds will emerge to touch every sector and individual on the planet. But where, and when could this happen?
Dubai, it is argued, is one of the likeliest places. Known for constructing the world’s tallest manmade object, the city is fast becoming synonymous with towering achievements in technology.
So much so, that today, more than 1,000 companies operating in fields such as blockchain and NFTs have their headquarters in Dubai.
The emirate’s innovation ecosystem, founded on a supportive regulatory and legislative framework as well as a robust digital infrastructure, is a magnet for talent, experts, and pioneers from around the world.
What makes Dubai an attractive destination for so many of the world’s leading luminaries and technology companies?
In short, the city contains all the vital ingredients for enabling a vibrant innovation, technology, and R&D ecosystem to thrive, providing a foundation upon which the Metaverse can build.
A unique combination of a flexible, robust regulatory framework, and a stable, supportive business environment is underpinned by government-led efforts to cultivate a culture of innovation and galvanize talent.
Dubai’s attractiveness as a place to live and work means the emirate offers companies a large pool of skilled, talented professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds and with experience and knowledge from a variety of markets.
Many people are attracted to live and work in a city that has proven that it is among the best at identifying, jumping on and leading the latest global trends. And as an innovation hub bridging East and West, Dubai offers unrivalled access to the world’s fastest-growing economies.
Moreover, its leadership is focused on harnessing emerging technologies that will help Dubai to transition to a digital economy. These efforts are being supported by a range of strategies, programs and initiatives designed to support new technologies that will enable areas of the Metaverse to launch and expand.
Dubai’s technological prowess is down in no small part to the UAE’s advanced digital infrastructure. The UAE has the world’s fastest mobile broadband connection speed and is the only Arab country among the top 10 most digitally competitive countries. The country is also ranked first globally in the Global Entrepreneurship Index 2022.
The UAE’s prominence in global indices reflects the country’s readiness to embrace and pioneer Metaverse technologies. Earlier this year, H.H 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 launched the Dubai Metaverse Strategy.
The strategy is an ambitious project that seeks to place Dubai among the top 10 Metaverse economies globally and the first in the region. The strategy seeks to support as many as 40,000 additional virtual jobs and generate up to $4 billion 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 Dubai Metaverse Strategy is in line with the leadership’s vision to transform the emirate into a global capital for advanced technologies, primarily artificial intelligence and Web 3.0.
Collaboration key to unlocking Metaverse potential
While Dubai could well be the epicentre of the Metaverse’s ascendence, collaboration with other economies and governments will be crucial to realising the full potential of associated technologies. Dubai’s government has identified partners with which to co-create the future of the Metaverse for the benefit of humanity.
For instance, the city of Shanghai is investing heavily in technologies associated with the Metaverse, such as NFTs and blockchain. Similarly, the government of South Korea has set aside funds to incentivize Metaverse startups. To support the government initiative, fintech giant Dunamu has also invested $385 million to create 10,000 Web 3.0 jobs.
To facilitate collaborations that will shape the future of the Metaverse, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed recently unveiled the Dubai Metaverse Assembly to bring together leading experts from around the world. The event will be held at the Museum of the Future and AREA 2071, Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) dynamic innovation ecosystem. It will convene more than 300 regional and international experts to engage in sessions that will explore the digital economy and identify how governments, businesses and citizens can unlock the unlimited potential of the Metaverse.
The city’s decision to launch an assembly based on harnessing the Metaverse reflect its confidence in the future of emerging virtual worlds that will shape how humans live, work, and interact. In fact, Dubai aims to become one of the world’s top 10 Metaverse economies and plans for Metaverse-aligned technology to constitute 1 percent of the emirate’s GDP by 2030, or around $4 billion. Ultimately, the event, which is the first of its kind in Dubai and the region, will highlight the city’s position as a place that provides pioneers with the tools, materials and foundation to build the future of the Metaverse.
This will prove vital over the next few years.
Because while humanity has the necessary talent, expertise and will to initiate a massive and sudden expansion of the Metaverse, it needs a suitable platform from which to assemble and mobilize this capacity.
Dubai, having established one of the world’s most capable and enabling environments for the Metaverse, could be that city.