Beeah Group, the environmental management company based in Sharjah, said that its new headquarters, designed by Zaha Hadid, will feature a "digital twin" in the metaverse as it looks to create a model for future workplaces.
The digital twin will replicate its headquarters' physical structure and systems, tracking parameters and data in real-time.
Artificial intelligence technologies will run simulations, studying variables such as the building’s occupancy rate, temperature and light preferences, and propose solutions or take measures that will help to realise energy efficiency, Beeah said on Tuesday.
A digital twin is a virtual representation of an object or system and is one of the core components of the metaverse, the new digital space that allows those in it to communicate and move using three-dimensional avatars.
“From the beginning, we have seen the importance of using digital twin technology,” said Beeah Group chief executive Khaled Al Huraimel.
“Digital twin technology is an essential building block for a parallel reality workplace such as the metaverse. It allows synchronicity between the physical and virtual worlds where our employees and partners can benefit from a simultaneous experience at our headquarters, both physically and virtually.”
The metaverse is not new but is considered to be the next big step in the future of digital interaction. It gained significant attention when Facebook rebranded as Meta Platforms last October.
It is also slowly registering a growth in demand for jobs in a sign of the metaverse's imminent integration with the future digital economy, said experts at the Intersec conference held in Dubai last month.
Beeah's headquarters, which it says is already the “most AI-integrated workspace in the Middle East”, will have integrations for more than 100 AI use cases.
The company worked with Microsoft, Johnson Controls and Evoteq to put in place the technology at its headquarters. Evoteq is a venture of Beeah Digital, the group’s digital transformation business, which will build Sharjah's first data centre.
The new structure is being positioned as a model for the offices of the future, the company said.
"As we designed the office of the future, we sought to integrate the best technologies for an experience that combines the best of both the physical and virtual worlds. This aligns with our vision of the future workplace and preparing for Web3,” Mr Al Huraimel said.
“We expect that as our businesses grow, metaverse workplaces will increasingly become a requirement for convenient collaboration across geographies and across our group verticals.”
Web3 is the new concept of the world wide web, built upon the core concepts of blockchain, decentralisation, openness and greater user utility. It is considered to be a major paradigm shift similar to when Web 2.0 emerged in the mid-2000s upon the growth of Google and the creation of Facebook.
Beeah's headquarters has several access control measures in place, from number plate recognition to facial recognition at a virtual concierge. For employees, a companion app also allows access to specific areas.
“We will be able to centralise access control and employee identification through blockchain technology. This will further enhance security, from entry to physical spaces within the building and also virtual rooms,” Mr Al Huraimel said.
“The employee smart contracts will provide not just access to the HQ but also to several other utilities.”
Beeah was founded in 2007 through a public-private partnership in Sharjah and has since pioneered sustainability initiatives for the region and beyond.
Last month, it unified its operations across the region — including in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, alongside other global joint ventures — to become an international holding group with various business verticals and a new brand identity as it seeks to capitalise on business opportunities across diverse industries and countries.