Dubai Cements its Status as a Metaverse Catalyst

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  • The Dubai Metaverse Assembly will return in 2023 after achieving outstanding global success
  • Government entities attended the event through the metaverse in a unique virtual immersive experience
  • Ambassador of Barbados announces plan to enter the metaverse with a new virtual embassy
  • Emirates reveal its plan to hire new 4000 cabin crew and train them in the metaverse
  • Dubai’s Polygon pledges to ‘drive’ crypto industry towards green future

Dubai, UAE: Dubai Metaverse Assembly, organized by the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), ended today after demonstrating the UAE’s potential to become a global partner in building digital worlds for the future.

At the close of the event, DFF announced that the Dubai Metaverse Assembly would return on the 11th and 12th of October 2023 in a bigger and more immersive experience after achieving outstanding success in its first year.

It comes after the flagship event welcomed over 600 experts from the tech industry, witnessed 25 main and side sessions and hosted 30 speakers and 40 tech companies. Additionally, 40,000 tuned in virtually through online streaming and the metaverse technology, offering individuals and government entities a unique immersive experience.

Over two days, more than 15 initiatives and strategies were launched during the Dubai Metaverse Assembly, which took place at the Museum of the Future and AREA 2071, Emirates Tower.

On the second day, His Excellency Gabriel Abed, Ambassador of Barbados to the United Arab Emirates, announced that the island-nation was entering the metaverse with a new virtual embassy. “Our metaverse embassy will create diplomatic parity for Barbados,” he said. “It will empower developing nations to gain diplomatic representation at the same level as larger nations, without vast budgets or infrastructure.”

Sandeep Nailwal Co-Founder of Dubai-based cryptocurrency platform Polygon, valued at USD 25 billion, announced plans to help decentralized technology firms go green and offer energy-efficient – even carbon-neutral – experiences in the metaverse. With most of the company’s senior management now headquartered in Dubai, Nailwal promised to “drive the industry forward toward sustainability.”

Ziad Traboulsi, Global Director, Business Engineering, Reality Labs, Meta, revealed the California-headquartered technology company believed its family of apps, Facebook and Instagram, would be a “bridge” for people to enter immersive worlds.

The state’s role in governing virtual worlds was keenly debated on the second day’s first panel. Participants included Christian Kunz, Head of Senior Vice President – Strategy, Dubai International Financial Center; Alexander Chehade, Executive Director and General Manager, Binance Dubai; Keith Jordan, VP of Innovation, Mastercard; Vinit Shah, Senior Advisor, Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority; and Catherine Zhou, Group Head of Ventures, Digital Partnerships, and Innovation, HSBC.

Whether through the launch of NFTs or by offering new immersive experiences, Emirates will allow millions of people to enjoy its in-flight hospitality virtually, the airline’s Chief Operating Officer, Adel Al Redha, said. He also revealed the carrier planned to hire 4,000 cabin crew by mid-2023 and train them in the metaverse.

A panel session on the metaverse’s real-world impact drew the participation of Yusuf Bahadir, Chief Technology Officer, GoArt; Vishal Gondal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, GOQii; David Clark-Joseph, Vice President of Investments, Pixelynx; and Bradford Bird, Head of Partnerships and Collaborations, The Fabricant.

Homegrown Emirati companies testing new experiences for the metaverse joined a panel to shed light on how local entrepreneurs were building new digital worlds. The panelists included Amin Al Zarouni, CEO, Bedu; Abdulla Mohamed Al Dhaheri, Deputy Managing Director and Partner, Chaintech Labs; Haya Al Gussain, Founder & CEO, Evolve Network Club; and Abdel Rahman Al Suweidi, CEO, MetaCon Global.

Highlighting how blockchain and web 3.0 technologies can spark an evolution in gaming, Sarah Buxton, Chief Operating Officer of Gala Games, said: “We are still at the beginning of our journey, and you know this when the biggest use cases for blockchain are from the banking and the professional services sector.”

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) gaming has become ubiquitous in entertainment, providing gamers with close to real-life experiences, but Ahmed Tehemar Gamefi, BNB Chain, suggested there would be winners and losers. “We now have a lot of metaverses popping up in the gaming industry; in the future we will understand which ones will go on to host the most users,” he said.

In a pre-recorded address, Sebastian Borget, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, The Sandbox, said gaming on decentralized platforms would allow players to create their own personal, immersive experiences.

The second day of the Dubai Metaverse Assembly concluded with a series of side sessions related to the metaverse and its technologies hosted by companies including Verse Estate, Mastercard, MetaCon, CryptoOasis, EVERDOME, and MetaDecrypt.