Seoul, Dubai, Santa Monica named among leaders in Metaverse in WEF report

The metaverse sector, albeit gradually, is showing signs of growth and adoption in various parts of the world. Citing a report by technology intelligence firm ABI Research, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said that nearly 700 cities will have some form of metaverse infrastructure by the year 2030. As of now, however, South Korea’s Seoul, the UAE’s Dubai, and the US’s Santa Monica are in the report have been designated as the leading cities in the international metaverse sector.

Listing the benefits of cities exploring the metaverse, the WEF said this virtual world ecosystem brings cost savings in the design, operation and maintenance of city infrastructure, while helping city leaders gain ‘political capital’ if the city’s population becomes technology friendly.

“As cities seek to decarbonize, digital twin technologies can help by improving urban design through simulation, planning and optimization,” report highlighted.

In the US, Santa Monica is the first city to let users walk around town through a metaverse-enabled social media app called Flick.

“FlickPlay encourages people to go through real sites to find scarce digital tokens that can be collected and then used to unlock videos with rare filters to show off to your friends. By moving people through parts of cities that are less traveled, FlickPlay can also create new economic activity while reducing crime,” it explained.

Dubai sees metaverse as an essential part of its economic growth campaign, expected to be among the world’s top cities in terms of GDP. To strengthen its position in the sector, Dubai is looking to attract 1,000 companies working in the blockchain and metaverse sector. In the next seven years, Dubai aims to be home to over 40,000 Web3 professionals. According to WEF research, more than 50 percent of consumers in Dubai look forward to creating and monetizing content in the metaverse, report said. While 60 percent of consumers see the metaverse as a business opportunity, 78 percent of brands want to be more engaged in Web3.

“Dubai will develop Web3 technology and its applications to enhance new ways of working in tourism, education, retail, healthcare and remote working. How will the municipality achieve this? By fostering innovation, increasing research and development, while talent and investment is increased by helping developers, content creators and digital platform users gain support in education about all things metaverse,” the report noted.

As for Seoul, the growth of the metaverse in South Korea is fully supported by the government there. The Asian country has already committed $180 million (around Rs 1,500 crore) to the development of a national metaverse ecosystem. The first phase of Metaverse Seoul lets residents download the world’s first urban metaverse app and use it to play games, experience the city’s attractions, and perform everyday tasks.

“Metaverse Seoul phase two will bring in more services from 2024 that include connecting local industries with foreign investors, while the final phase will integrate virtual and augmented reality technology into the day-to-day operation of the city’s infrastructure,” the WEF report claimed.

Mark Zuckerberg became bullish on the metaverse technology when he renamed Facebook Meta in September 2021. Despite suffering back-to-back losses in his metaverse dedicated entity, Zuckerberg has kept his faith intact in this branch of new technology.

As per Statisticsit was estimated that the global metaverse market was worth $65.5 billion (roughly Rs. 5,44,035 crore) by 2022. This year, the market is expected to rise to $82 billion (roughly Rs. 6,81,082 crore) before rising to 936, 6 billion (roughly Rs. 77,79,526 crore) by 2030.

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