UAE Ministry of Economy opens its 'third address' in the metaverse

The virtual platform provides the full suite of the ministry's services

Khalifa AlJaziri, the UAE Ministry of Economy's metaverse lead, demonstrating the ministry's new metaverse headquarters at the Dubai Metaverse Assembly on Wednesday. AP
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The UAE Ministry of Economy unveiled its new headquarters in the metaverse, where it will provide its full portfolio of services to more users in the virtual world.

The ministry's “third address” will complement its physical offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, allowing governments, corporates and individuals to interact with the ministry from anywhere, Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy, said at the Dubai Metaverse Assembly on Wednesday.

The ministry will also use the platform for signing agreements and legally-binding documents, eliminating the need for signatories — especially those from other countries — to come in person and sign on the dotted line.

The virtual address is intended to be a major update to its website, as the ministry aligns itself with the UAE leadership's directives to make digital services a big part of its operations, Mr bin Touq said.

“We're going to provide full services into the metaverse aspect and reskill the whole team at the ministry in the aspect where we can provide services,” he said.

“We want to replace our website, basically. Rather than having a 2D website you have an immersive 3D metaverse where you can go in and interact with people.”

The metaverse is the virtual space where people, represented by avatars or three-dimensional representations, can interact.

The technology is poised to reshape the workplace by creating immersive ways of team collaboration, accelerating skill learning through virtualisation and the eventual rise of a metaverse economy with new enterprises and work roles, according to Harvard Business Review.

In line with the UAE's digital push, a growing number of organisations in the country have tapped into its potential.

In May, Dubai's Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority entered the metaverse with the establishment of its Metaverse HQ, making it the first regulator to have a presence there.

In June, Ajman Police set up its own metaverse platform that allows users to interact with officers.

From left, Abdulla bin Touq, UAE Minister of Economy, Bashar Kilani, managing director of Accenture, and Mark Zaleski, managing director and partner at BCG Digital Ventures, during a panel discussion at the Dubai Metaverse Assembly on Wednesday. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

Visitors to the Ministry of Economy's metaverse headquarters will be greeted by a customer happiness officer and provided with a ticket for the service they require.

There are also dedicated private booths in which users can share their screen and discuss agendas with others.

“Each floor will serve you for a different purpose … the ministry is [going] the whole nine yards,” Khalifa AlJaziri, the ministry's metaverse lead, said in a demonstration.

The UAE has the potential to build on its position as a gateway for global trade to become a digital export centre and, ultimately, a leading metaverse economy, the ministry said.

“With advanced physical and digital infrastructure, highly-skilled talent and pro-business laws, the UAE has the competitive advantages to become one of the world’s top 10 metaverse economies, and a global hub for investments in this field,” Mr bin Touq said.

Updated: October 06, 2022, 8:48 AM
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