Dubai to create virtual city in metaverse

One Human Reality will be Dubai’s presence in the emerging metaverse, World Government Summit hears

Many of us could soon be logging on to the Metaverse to meet friends and explore foreign places. Bing Guan / Bloomberg
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A digital twin city of Dubai in a virtual world will offer huge opportunities for industry and provide residents with an alternative reality to meet people and share ideas, officials said.

One Human Reality will be the emirate's presence in the emerging metaverse, an augmented world where avatars of ourselves can interact online.

The plans were revealed by Dubai Municipality at the World Government Summit, and will include computer-generated environments to combine elements of social media, augmented reality, virtual reality, video games, cryptocurrencies, and other technologies.

“One Human Reality is the meeting point or integration between two worlds: the metaverse and the world we are currently living in together,” said Dawood Al Hajri, Dubai Municipality director general.

“The metaverse today has become closer to reality than we could have imagined.”

At about $300 (Dh1,500) for the virtual reality headset needed to join in most aspects of the world, many could be priced out of the online environment.

However, businesses hope the metaverse will become a marketplace, with financial analysts predicting it will create $800 billion of revenue by 2024.

Residents could be joined by friends in other parts of the world in the form of avatars on a virtual walk through a city park.

Similarly, simulated time travel to historic moments, or immersive tours of landmark destinations may be other applications.

Such use would require portals in public spaces and city centres, Mr Al Hajri said, adding that governments and cities should invest in building this infrastructure as soon as possible.

“Cities benefit from integrating big data,” Mr Hajri said.

“With the help of the Internet of Things (IOT) and artificial intelligence, city leaders will be able to build a digital infrastructure enabling us to access this world in a new way.”

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 global metaverse industry was valued at $47.69bn in 2020, according to Emergen Research.

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Updated: March 30, 2022, 2:39 PM
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