DP World, one of the world's largest port operators, has announced an initiative to explore metaverse technology to boost its operations and solve supply chain challenges.
The new platform, called DPMETAWORLD, is expected to be launched by the end of this year, Dubai Government Media Office said on Thursday.
It aims to use digital solutions and accelerate their adoption through the untapped capabilities of the metaverse, “helping drive efficiency and transparency”.
DP World said it was in talks with “best-in-class technology partners” to develop the platform and bring innovative solutions to life.
“Our expansion into the metaverse will not only enhance customer experience and operational efficiency, but also allows us to be more sustainable and resilient for the future. These are vital across all our global operations,” said Sultan bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive of DP World.
The metaverse is the emerging digital space in which people, represented by avatars or three-dimensional likenesses, can interact in online worlds.
It is part of Web3, which is being touted as the next iteration of the World Wide Web, with blockchain, decentralisation, openness and greater user utility among its core components.
Business revenue from the metaverse is projected to reach $400 billion by 2025 from $180bn, a report by Grayscale Research showed.
Mr bin Sulayem said the initiative was announced as part of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos.
“We don’t respond to change … we think ahead and anticipate it. We know that the industries of the future will not be industries of the hand, but of the mind. So, we have to deploy industry-leading solutions and technology to embrace this shift," he said.
DP World plans to explore metaverse applications for container and vessel inspections, simulations of warehousing and terminal operations, and digital twins – three-dimensional virtual representation of physical objects or processes.
The DPMETAWORLD will allow the company to provide flexible and cost-effective supply chain solutions, said Mike Bhaskaran, group chief operating officer of digital technology at DP World.
“The real benefit for our customers is being able to see and understand the whole supply chain from end to end, with full visibility, and create alternate routes in case of logistics bottlenecks. We are very excited about providing these unique solutions to help resolve real-world supply constraints,” he said.
Internally, the company will be able to benefit from fully immersive online training for its staff. Replacing physical training with an immersive alternative in the metaverse will reduce the time it takes to train operations teams by 50 per cent, DP World said.
The digital twins will reduce carbon emissions by replacing physical travel with the use of online training, it said.
DP World's move into metaverse follows Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority's step this month with the establishment of its Metaverse HQ, making it the first regulator to have a presence in the emerging digital space.
Expanding Vara’s resources to a borderless audience is part of Dubai’s strategy to create a prototype decentralised regulator model. It also aims to make it accessible to government, industries and other authorities and virtual asset service providers to help shape the future digital economy.
Dubai Metaverse Strategy aims to increase the contribution of the metaverse sector to Dubai’s economy to $4bn by 2030 and increase its contribution to the emirate's economy to 1 per cent.