Stock du telecom
It will be on 5G and later versions that the full experience of Metaverse be delivered. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: If you have been thinking as to what should come first – a full 5G network or the Metaverse – Martin Tarr at the UAE telco du has the answer.

“Look, some of the more basic elements of the Metaverse service portfolio can be delivered on an earlier telecom network,” said Tarr, who is du’s Chief ICT Officer. “But if enterprises need the vast majority of what the Metaverse can do, then 5G is the way to go about it.

“For the early adopters of this new technology, there will be a cost involved. But it will eventually boil down to the services these enterprises want, whether they want to take (service) packages or less tailored ones.”

Tarr’s on the ball on these forecasts. The impression one gets from the vibes at Gitex Global is that the present is a defining moment in how soon UAE-based organisations get on to this parallel world of virtual and augmented realities. A ‘world’ that can be made to deliver real uses for governments, businesses and individuals in this one.

At du, a lot of that 5G infrastructure to make Metaverse possible is in place. In fact, even before this virtual world assumed this sort of significance in Dubai and the UAE, 5G take up rates had been on the higher side. With its home entertainment platform, du has 5G-enabled delivery of services.

Take up rates

The telco is working with local government enterprises to make ‘critical customer experiences’ available at the earliest. But how early would that be? Tarr meets that question with a straight bat – “Much earlier than what many think is possible.”

“We are working with clients already on a whole range of possible uses. Metaverse is part of the digital transformation the UAE wants to make. There is the ‘digital twinning’ project the RTA that we are partnering.” (In this digital twin, the RTA has recreated the Dubai Metro, which combines maintenance data from the past 12 years of operations with real-time inputs for a variety of use-cases.)

Another potential use we see happening is in creating interactive workplaces for enterprises – all real-world needs, as you can see.

- Martin Tarr, Chief ICT Officer at du

All of which leads to this question – is du about providing the 5G backbone for Metaverse and all the other cutting-edge technologies to make it happen? Or will du help enterprises actually build what they want?

“It could be both, because we have the consultants, the analysts that can actually help clients scale up their plans for Metaverse capabilities,” said Tarr. “Plus, we already have the 5G network.”

Best of both worlds, in other words.