The metaverse will result in inclusion in the education and health care sectors if its hardware is made more accessible, said Noor Sweid, founder and general partner of UAE venture capital company Global Ventures.
“The bigger impact of metaverse is its ability to make the world a better place,” she said during a panel discussion at the inaugural Investopia summit in Dubai on Monday.
“If you can get to a point where metaverse hardware is accessible to enable inclusion, that is ideal.”
The metaverse is a new digital space that allows those in it to communicate and move using three-dimensional avatars or digital representations.
The global metaverse industry was valued at $47.69 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 43.3 per cent to hit $828.95bn in 2028, according to Emergen Research.
Ms Sweid's Global Ventures, which has invested in start-ups across the Middle East region, is also aiming to tap into this rapidly growing sector.
“We consider start-ups operating in the metaverse based on how big a problem they are solving. Is it necessary to build the solution on Web 3.0 or on the metaverse?” Ms Sweid said.
“You need hype to build the technology and attract dollars.”
The metaverse allows people with disabilities to enter the digital world and interact with others in a way they want to be seen, said Arne Peters, chief strategy officer, Metaverse ME.
There will be a significant transition from 2D content to immersive 3D content in the next three to five years, according to Alvin Wang Gaylin, president of the Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance and China president of VR at HTC.
“Pretty much everything that exists on the internet today can be transferred to the metaverse,” Mr Gaylin said.
“But the 3D models should add value beyond what they used to do. There is a lot of untapped potential that goes far beyond digital art, digital fashion and non-fungible tokens.”
Barbados opened a metaverse embassy last year. The diplomatic compound is being built in Decentraland, a metaverse, accessible through a computer and a virtual reality headset.
“It cannot be a replacement for a physical embassy, but it helps Barbados to have diplomatic relations with 194 countries,” said Gabriel Abed, Barbados ambassador to the UAE.
Barbados understands that commerce and trade will take place in the digital world, he said.
“The pandemic has forced us to re-examine the world around us.”
The next billion-dollar businesses in the metaverse are just waiting to be found, Mr Abed said. They just require capital and fortitude to succeed, he added.