Aug 8, 2023
The metaverse, an evolving digital universe of interconnected 3D spaces, is rapidly transforming how we interact, work, and collaborate. By leveraging virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, the metaverse creates immersive and engaging experiences for businesses, organizations, and individuals. The 3D internet disrupts events, conferences, workspaces, and tourism, making them accessible, engaging, and sustainable. This blog post aims to delve into the various facets of the metaverse and explore its potential to enhance collaboration within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Understanding the metaverse and its potential in the MENA region
The metaverse, often visualized as a vast interconnected universe of virtual spaces, goes beyond mere entertainment. It's a platform where creativity blossoms, businesses thrive, and communities connect. Imagine walking into a virtual art gallery in Dubai, attending a business meeting in Riyadh, or collaborating on a research project with colleagues across the MENA region—all from the comfort of your home.
According to a report by Gartner, the MENA region's spending on VR and AR technologies is expected to reach $6 billion by 2025, reflecting a growing interest in immersive technologies. Industries in MENA, such as education, healthcare, tourism, and entertainment, are actively exploring the potential of the metaverse to create new use cases for collaboration and interaction that could lead to a significant economic impact in the region. For instance, Bloomberg estimates that the total value of the metaverse will reach nearly $800 billion worldwide by 2024, with countries like Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) actively participating. In KSA, the metaverse is estimated to contribute nearly $38.1 billion in additional GDP per year by 2035, and in the UAE, that figure could reach $16.7 billion in additional GDP, as reported by the Fast Company.
As we navigate the digital age, consumers are becoming more tech-savvy and showing an increasing openness toward emerging technologies. A recent study by GfK reveals that more than half of consumers in the MENA region are excited about the metaverse, indicating a growing interest in the 3D internet. This trend is part of a larger digitalization movement across the region, with tech giants and brands gearing up to build the metaverse.
Virtual conferences and events
Virtual conferences and events leveraging the metaverse have emerged as powerful tools for interactive and inclusive virtual experiences and are seeing a growing interest in the MENA region. They offer numerous benefits that redefine how we connect, communicate, and network across borders.
Some advantages of virtual events in the metaverse are:
Accessibility and inclusivity: Virtual conferences eliminate geographical barriers, allowing individuals from different regions to participate without traveling. This convenience increases the diversity of attendees and speakers, fostering a more inclusive environment.
Cost-effectiveness: Without the need for physical venues, travel, accommodation, and other logistical expenses, virtual conferences are significantly more cost-effective for both organizers and attendees. Eventify reported that 79% of event planners said they spent less than in-person events while organizing virtual ones.
Environmentally friendly: By reducing the need for travel, virtual conferences contribute to lower carbon emissions, aligning with global sustainability goals. Virtually designed event and conference spaces in the 3D internet also eliminate the need for resource-intensive physical venues.
Networking opportunities: Advanced networking tools in virtual platforms can facilitate connections between attendees, speakers, and exhibitors, often more efficiently than in-person events. Features like 3D interactive spaces and virtual booths enable personalized and engaging interactions.
The MENA region has embraced the potential of virtual conferences, with several notable events taking place in metaverse-type virtual environments. The virtual GCC Power exhibition in 2020 was brought to life by Samaaro, an event technology platform. The event comprised 3D spaces like a networking lounge, meeting rooms, and event halls. Exhibitors attending the event could also customize and brand their virtual booths.
Another notable event, the 22nd Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) hosted by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, utilized a 3D virtual platform to connect attendees with exhibitors. Attendees could virtually explore and walkthrough branded booths on the platform.
Virtual workspaces within the 3D internet revolutionize remote collaboration, particularly in the MENA region. Unlike traditional remote work tools, virtual workspaces in the metaverse provide a shared 3D environment where teams can interact as if they were in the same physical room.
Here are some benefits of virtual workspaces in the metaverse:
Real-time collaboration: Virtual workspaces allow team members to work together in synchronous 3D environments to enhance team dynamics and creativity. For instance, Meta’s Horizon Workrooms allow employees to connect as avatars in virtual environments to collaborate for meetings.
Virtual training: The metaverse offers opportunities to enable teams to upskill and train in immersive environments improving efficiencies for learning and development. For instance, Engage, a virtual reality (VR) education company with clients in the UAE, offers a platform for corporate training, accommodating various learning styles and needs.
Enhancing well-being: Virtual workspaces support more than just work; they also foster social connections among remote teams. Initiatives like virtual coffee breaks and team-building activities within the 3D internet can create a sense of community, reducing feelings of isolation.
Virtual tourism in the metaverse is not just about sightseeing; it's about experiencing and connecting with places and cultures in an entirely new way. In the MENA region, the 3D internet is opening doors to showcase historical landmarks, archaeological sites, and cultural heritage.
Here are a few ways the metaverse is impacting tourism in MENA:
Immersive tours of historical landmarks: Immersive realism in the metaverse enables the creation of virtual tours of iconic sites like the Pyramids of Egypt or Petra in Jordan, providing interactive experiences for global visitors to explore and learn about the history and significance of these wonders. A collaboration between Google and Queen Rania of Jordan led to the launch of the virtual tour of Petra that gives people impeccable views of the historic site and the opportunity to explore the place at their own pace.
Taking cultural heritage to the global stage: The MENA region's rich cultural tapestry can be highlighted through virtual museums and galleries that bring regional art and heritage to a global audience. For instance, Alserkal Avenue in Dubai launched a VR experience that allows visitors to access over 15 galleries and 80 artists’ work in a 360-degree immersive environment.
Reconstructions of archaeological sites: 3D internet technology can recreate sites to represent them in their former glory. The German Archaeological Institute (DAI), the General Directorate of Antiquities of Lebanon (DGA), the Lebanese Ministry of Culture, and a US-based company Flyover Zone, joined forces to launch a project to allow travelers to explore the Roman Heliopolis in Lebanon through a VR experience called ‘Baalbek Reborn’ that offered an immersive viewing of the digital representation of the historic location.
A resilient solution during challenging times: When traditional tourism faces obstacles, such as economic downturns or political tensions, virtual tours allow visitors to explore one of the world's most iconic locations and archaeological sites without incurring travel costs.
The future of the metaverse in the MENA region extends beyond current applications. It's about envisioning a connected and collaborative virtual space that fosters innovation, creativity, and growth. The metaverse offers transformative opportunities for encouraging collaboration and driving progress for businesses, organizations, and individuals. As reported by Ciena, 79% of business professionals in the Middle East are open to using virtual reality-based platforms, including the metaverse, for work-related activities and collaboration. This research indicates the region’s metaverse-readiness and potential for growth in the space.
As metaverse applications in the MENA region evolve, businesses will continue to leverage the 3D internet for immersive global meetings, experiential marketing, and unique brand experiences. Organizations, including educational institutions and non-profits, will utilize the metaverse for immersive learning and facilitating public participation. Individuals will also benefit from the metaverse with enhanced social interactions and personalized learning opportunities.
Are you looking to build events, workspaces, or tourist attractions in 3D virtual spaces? We can help you build and scale your idea in the metaverse to connect and attract people globally. Get in touch with us!
Aug 8, 2023
LandVault is the largest metaverse builder with over 100 million square feet of virtual real estate, more than 120 full-time creators, and nearly 300 completed projects. We’ve been helping brands build and grow in gaming environments since 2017 and the metaverse since 2021.
LandVault’s platform-agnostic proprietary technology and creative powerhouse builds and delivers tailored, data-driven, and optimized business solutions and insights. We help clients launch, optimize, and monetize metaverse experiences.
LandVault’s mission is to accelerate the metaverse economy through technology with a vision of a fairer wealth distribution across the web.