United Arab Emirates: virtual universe in the desert sands

To realize its ambition to become a global technology leader and turn to the digital and innovation economy, the UAE is focusing its efforts on the Metaverse in particular. With real forces.

According to Global Innovation Indexpublished annually by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)The United Arab Emirates is now in 18th placeth The country in the ranking of 2022. The country has gained 5 places in one year and continues to progress, being the most innovative economy in the entire region.

This appetite for technological innovation is strongly encouraged by the government through numerous initiatives. Grouped together in a program unveiled last year, ” Vision 2021 one of these initiatives is to show that the example comes from above through the creation of a Center for Government Innovation, an educational program to train current and future leaders in government administration in innovation. The curriculum was developed with the University of Cambridge and issues “innovation diplomas”. Thus, every ministry and administration is supposed to have a “CEO of Innovation” within it today, who pilots the initiatives of its department.

Always at the heart of the ruling sphere, a ” Government Innovation Lab organizes courses to stimulate the emergence of innovative ideas and above all to allow a better reflection, thanks to technological innovation, on the challenges facing the country.

Abu Dhabi city launched Hub 71 in 2019, a platform that brings together technology players in the Emirates. The role of the platform is to provide personalized support to innovation companies and give them access to international markets. In addition, the emirate will welcome, in November, the first Middle East Blockchain Prices. A way to recognize the UAE’s efforts in favor of Blockchain innovation.

Attract the best in the world

Last year, the Crown Prince, Hamdan bin Muhammad bin Rashidalso launched Dubai Next as the first government platform for crowdfunfing to finance the most innovative start-ups and help them contribute to the various development projects in the UAE, especially in the area of ​​renewable energy. The platform also works for the benefit of very early start-ups, which have not yet finalized the development of a commercial solution. By 2021, 17 startups had already been funded.

Dubai Next began to extend its concept to students, even if they have not yet graduated. Another example that the talent war is both global and increasingly aggressive. So since the beginning of the year, 150 entrepreneurial projects have been selected, the best ones that have all the possibilities to be financed by DubaiNext.

It is also worth mentioning, in renewable energies, the Masdar City project, piloted by the Emirates of Abu Dhabi. Masdar is designed to be a 100% green smart city, but also a center of technological excellence. It should be completed by 2030. It already has a scientific and technological research institute, established with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is home to hundreds of companies, including the regional headquarters of Siemens, but also the international headquarters of Irena (International Renewable Energy Agency).

Metaverse: preparing for the future

As it prepares for the innovation of the future, the UAE is not neglecting the present. Thus, at the end of last month, the country hosted the first edition of Dubai Metaverse Assemblywhich brought together several hundred global experts and specialists on Metaverse, the Internet platform of tomorrow – in which it has been radically repositioned Facebook, already costing billions of dollars in investment for it. A few months ago, in December 2021, the emirate of Abu Dhabi also hosted an event related to Metaverse: Blockchain World Abu Dhabi. Internationally, it dedicated the beginning ofHeliconNFTa new “online universe” that combines gaming in the metaverse, but also NFT trading.

Metaverse can be considered the virtual platform of tomorrow, succeeding its distant predecessors of the early 2000s, through, for example, the short-lived success of Second Life. More ambitious today, especially because computing power and connection speed have increased significantly, the concept is actually based on the online virtualization of everything that makes up our daily lives today, private and professional.

Even if the concept is relatively simple to state and is still only in the first stage of its development, it nevertheless generates considerable hopes for renewal, not only for the Internet as we know it, but also a question of possible of the majority of our society. behavior. Hence the interest for the United Arab Emirates to position itself now as a nerve center of its conceptualization, a destination where some of the essential technological developments for the realization of the Metaverse will take place. But that’s not all: new governance rules, even ad hoc economic regulations, will also have to be invented for this global virtual space if it is to deliver on its considerable promises.

A market set to exceed 1300 billion

In Dubai, some of the first concrete achievements of this new virtual environment were presented during the Metaverse Assembly: working sessions on various technical and regulatory issues, and of course formal presentations by hundreds of international experts on the subject.

Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah bin Touchindicated that the government aims to make Dubai not only one of the “top Metaverse economies on the planet”, but also wants to attract “at least a thousand Metaverse companies”, resulting in the creation of “40,000 highly skilled jobs … until 2030”.

Another concrete achievement is the creation, at the beginning of October, of a virtual and operational branch of the Ministry of Economy of the United Arab Emirates. This Metaverse headquarters constitutes a real permanent presentation space, including meeting rooms and auditoriums, as well as the presentation of the companies already involved, in particular blockchain, an essential technology for securing all actions and transactions that will are performed during these. virtual practices.

The UAE’s early positioning in the Metaverse offers them the opportunity to draw on the state of the art of key components of tomorrow’s digital technology: not only blockchain (which guarantees absolute a priori data reliability), but also everything related to virtual or augmented reality, artificial intelligence, very high speed networks, cloud computing, etc.

The challenge of this positioning is not only technological or prestigious, it is above all economic. According to a recent study by ResearchAndMarkets.com, the global Metaverse market, if it already represented $40 billion in 2020, could reach more than $1,230 billion by the end of the decade, representing an average annual growth of more than 40% per year. It remains to convince the world’s most advanced technological giants in this field, such as Facebook, Ali Baba, Huawei, Tencent Nvidiato position the United Arab Emirates, including Dubai, on their (virtual) Metaverse map.

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