UAE’s e& enters the metaverse with launch of ‘e& universe’ at GITEX Global 2022

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Global technology and investment group e&, formerly known as Etisalat Group, entered the metaverse with the launch of ‘e& universe’ at GITEX Global 2022 in Dubai on Monday.

High bandwidth and low-latency are needed to ensure the metaverse can function, and this technology is available at scale in the United Arab Emirates, with the launch of 5G a few years ago.

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The metaverse, although in its early incubation stages, has become one of the global technology industry’s most defining trends this year. Several companies, as well as the Dubai government, have hopped on the metaverse bandwagon and established their own presence in the virtual world.

The group’s CEO Hatim Dowidar said on Monday that “telcos must consider harnessing [the metaverse’s] potential for the betterment of lives, whether it is a virtual playground or shopping destination, or even using it as a training ground for smarter, more efficient AI and industrial manufacturing processes.”

In a statement to the press, the CEO announced the launch of the e& universe which will be hosted virtually in Arcadia Planitia on Mars.

“To get [the metaverse] to work at the grand scale we all envision will require robust connectivity solutions. This is where 5G becomes the fulcrum, given that mobile networks may not be able to handle the metaverse network demands,” Dowidar said.

A critical enabler for the metaverse, 5G technology is needed to power such an ecosystem as it has global reach, including roaming capabilities, he added.

Ensuring superfast speeds, 5G offers low latency, making it an essential component in powering the metaverse.

“To harness the power of the metaverse, telcos must expand beyond their traditional capabilities and move towards embracing a growth mindset where they are open to exploring innovative ideas. In fact, telcos can play a more prominent role in the metaverse value chain by leveraging emerging technologies such as 5G, edge cloud, analytics and Artificial Intelligence,” said the e& chief.

“Telcos will also be required to partner with technology giants, internet tech companies, specialist cloud providers, device manufactures, technology platform providers as well as online game developers so that they can create a partner ecosystem for developing a solid metaverse ecosystem,” the CEO said.

“In that way, telcos can become the orchestrators of the metaverse ecosystems by identifying collaborative opportunities with involved parties.”

At GITEX, e& also launched a Metaverse Service, a platform on the metaverse designed to maximize user experience through multiple virtual spaces and avatars.

“This was a result of the collaboration with [South Korea’s] SK Telecom… to explore media and entertainment,” according to Dowidar.

“Through our third metaverse showcase, ‘etisalat by e&’s business center’ showcase is in collaboration with Huawei, where e& is demonstrating the future of retail using a 3D retail experience in an innovative way.”

Over the past few years, the UAE has positioned itself as one of the world’s leading adopters for metaverse and blockchain technologies.

In July, the government launched the Dubai Metaverse Strategy which aims to contribute $4 billion to the emirate’s economy, support 40,000 virtual jobs, and increase the number of blockchain and metaverse companies five-fold within five years.

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UAE sets up economy ministry in the metaverse

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