By Jalaja Ramanunni
2022 was the year of rising curiosity around the metaverse. ‘What is metaverse’ made it to the top 10 most-searched what-is questions on Google.
Entities in the UAE have been quick to enter this new realm. Take a look at the top five metaverse activations in the UAE in 2022.
Pickl’s dining experience
At GITEX Global 2022, UAE-based burger joint Pickl invited visitors to place their orders in their metaverse. And yes there was a real, edible burger involved.
Pickl and Commercial Bank International (CBI) brought a metaverse dining experience to life for their guests at the event. At CBI’s activation, visitors created an avatar and collected their tokens in a simulated Web3 wallet which gave them access to the experience through the metaverse platform. They entered Pickl’s virtual restaurant through an immersive wrap-around floor-to-ceiling screen, placed their order and received a physical burger in a few minutes. The experience was enabled at CBI’s stand at GITEX, Dubai World Trade Centre while the burgers were made at Pickl’s food truck and delivered directly to the customer at the CBI stand. When we asked Pickl if they plan to continue taking orders the same way, Simon Ritchie, comms director, Pickl said, “It was a novelty and fun experience. We were quite excited to try it out when CBI approached us with the concept. However, it is too early for consumers to switch the way they order food – they are used to the convenience that food delivery apps provide. We continue to look for ways to engage in the metaverse.”
E&’s virtual universe on Mars
Formerly known as Etisalat Group, e& ventured into the metaverse with ‘e& universe’ at GITEX 2022. E& launched its virtual universe in partnership with HTC with an aim to provide visitors with varied experiences in art, music, entertainment and a glimpse into digital retail of the future. E& universe was hosted virtually in Arcadia Planitia on Mars, a vital location that is considered the most suitable for future life on the red planet and may serve as an aspirational and strategic location for the future. It is a subtle nod to the UAE’s National Space Strategy, the success of the Hope Probe mission, and in line with the vision of the UAE leadership. This move marks a significant achievement in the Etisalat Group’s transformation into a technology and investment conglomerate.
MoHAP’s metaverse customer happiness center
The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) launched the first government-sanctioned metaverse customer happiness center. The simulated digital environment replaces traditional methods of patient-provider communication and eliminates the necessity to visit a clinical practice in person. It was developed by TMRW and launched in at the Arab Health and Medlab Middle East Exhibition and Congress 2022. The portal lets customers log in to MOHAP’s website and with the click of a button, they can access a three-dimensional virtual medical office. It helps customers access services such as renew medical licenses, make payments and schedule diagnostics appointments check-ups.
Ministry of Economy’s new office
The UAE Ministry of Economy launched its third office in the metaverse. The building in the metaverse offers its full portfolio of services and it is a replica of the Ministry of Economy in Abu Dhabi. At the virtual office, visitors can organize meetings and interact with each other using avatars. The platform can be used for signing agreements and legally binding documents by users who are not physically present in the UAE. In addition, its 24/7 customer care support can be accessed at the virtual office.
DAFZ’s virtual platform
Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZ) entered the metaverse by launching METADAFZ to showcase its products, services and digital facilities to clients and investors. METADAFZ aims to offer a seamless digital experience to clients and investors, enabling them to establish businesses in the Emirate with greater ease. In METADAFZ, clients across the globe can conduct meetings over a virtual platform. The initiative offers an alternative to the traditional way of conducting business activities and empowers company representatives to discuss future work prospects and launch businesses in Dubai.