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Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri (right), UAE Minister of Economy, during the launch of the ministry's metaverse office at Dubai Metaverse Assembly at Museum of the Future in Dubai Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE Ministry of Economy has announced the opening of its new address - which it can be ‘visted’ from anywhere in the world as it is located inside in metaverse. The announcement was made by Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy, during a panel discussion on the opening day of Dubai Metaverse Assembly at the Museum of the Future on Wednesday.

Al Marri said the virtual office is the “digital twin” of the ministry’s office in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where people – through their avatars – can hold meetings, network and even sign legally-binding agreements.

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Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy, during a panel discussion on the opening day of Dubai Metaverse Assembly Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

The customer centre in the digital world also offers services by the Ministry of Economy, added Khalifa Al Jaziri, who is the avatar representing the ministry in metaverse.

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How to enter the office

Al Jaziri said: “Our digital address represents the full building of the ministry. Each floor can serve different purposes. A visitor will get a virtual ticket/ token and a notification will be sent to our customer happiness centre to let the visitor enter our office in metaverse.”

Because the metaverse is a 3D setup – as opposed to the two-dimensional website – interaction in the metaverse is voice-prompted to simulate an actual conversation with a customer service representative.

Al Jaziri said a physical visit to the ministry to avail its services will no longer be required as these can be availed in the digital world. He was joined by the avatar of Al Marri during the presentation and they both gave a sneak peek of the virtual office – from the knowledge hall to networking areas, where people can congregate.

Another innovative feature of the digital office is that it has space where legally-binding documents can be signed. “So, anyone around the world who has a transaction with the ministry no longer has to come to the UAE to sign an agreement,” noted Al Jaziri.

Early adopters

Meanwhile, at the same panel discussion titled ‘Metaverse and the Economy: What is the size of the Opportunity?’, Mark Zaleski, managing director and partner at BCG Digital Ventures, said: “Early adopters will be the winners in metaverse. The laggards will have to spend disproportionately a lot more money to catch up.”

Zaleski noted the UAE is on the right track being an early adopter of metaverse. “There is an exponential growth in metaverse and the Gen Z (those born between 1997 to 2012) are creating it. The numbers (business projection) are phenomenal and the cost of technology has gone down. The early adopters will win,” he added.

Experts say the current market size of metaverse has exceeded $3 billion and is expected to reach highs of $80 billion by 2030.