The metaverse has become closer to reality than we could have imagined; residents could be joined by friends from other parts of the world in the form of avatars taking a virtual walk through a park in the city, the director-general of Dubai Municipality said
Dubai Municipality has revealed plans to work with private sector companies and investors to create a futuristic, human-centred version of the city in the metaverse called One Human Reality.
Speaking at a plenary session titled ‘Operating Cities of Tomorrow’ at the World Government Summit 2022 (WGS2022) in Expo 2020 Dubai the director-general of Dubai Municipality, Dawood Abdul Rahman Al Hajri, said that Dubai is looking to capitalise on opportunities thrown up by the metaverse.
“One Human Reality is the meeting point or the integration of two worlds: the metaverse and the world we are currently living in together,” Al Hajri said.
Bringing the world to Dubai
The metaverse is a network of realistic 3D digital worlds built within a virtual-reality space where people can interact with computer-generated environments and other users. At its broadest, it combines elements of social media, augmented reality, virtual reality, video games, cryptocurrencies, and other advanced technologies.
Offering examples of how such a city might work, Al Hajri said: “Residents could be joined by friends from other parts of the world in the form of avatars taking a virtual walk through a park in the city. Similarly, people could time travel to historic moments, or experience immersive tours of landmark destinations in the metaverse.”
Such futuristic use cases would require portals in public spaces and city centres, Al Hajri said. He added that governments and cities should invest in building this infrastructure as soon as possible.
The next big business opportunity
The metaverse could provide nearly $800 billion in revenue by 2024 as the next big market opportunity for businesses and industries, according to Bloomberg Intelligence estimates.
“Today, the metaverse has become closer to reality than we could have imagined,” Al Hajri said.
Dubai Municipality will also launch a programme called One Human Reality Talks, aimed at bringing together companies and investors to develop and share this new reality.
It will include dialogues with experts, insights, cooperative use cases, knowledge sharing, and more.
Humans must remain at the centre of this new urban vision, according to Al Hajri, who laid out the elements for a framework based on four pillars: human expectations for their environment, human needs with laws to guarantee privacy, security and ownership rights, and technology functions.
“Cities benefit from integrating big data. With the help of the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, city leaders will be able to build a digital infrastructure enabling us to access this world in a new way,” he added.