What are Countries Doing for Development of the Metaverse?
It is one of the most discussed ideas so far in 2022. Undoubtedly, no two people’s perceptions of the metaverse are identical, but its value as a commercial channel and potential platform for digital experimentation is well-established.
Since Facebook changed its name to Meta in October 2021 and shifted its focus to the metaverse, the investments of many other corporations have continued to increase despite the fact that the concept is not novel. Microsoft, Tecent, Roblox, and Nike have launched their metaverse planning. It is evident that the metaverse will continue to attract investment and attention in the coming years, despite the fact that the initial Horizon Wordls testing from Meta do not differ significantly from what would be comparable to Second Life.
The analysis firm StrategyR believes that by 2026, the worldwide market for the metaverse would be worth 758 billion dollars each year.
Until now, the discussion concerning the metaverse appears to have centered on how some firms have positioned themselves in opposition to it. What about the states, though? The truth is that there have already been rapprochements at the government level, some with a more promotional approach and others with an already apparent effect.
We will take a tour across the world but in the metaverse to examine how some governments and states are placing themselves in relation to this trend.
United States: some cities already indicate palpable applications
Until now, the positions of some countries and cities towards the metaverse could be divided into three main categories: the cities that rely on digital twins to test possible applications that can reach their streets, those that are interested in how virtual reality can benefit its citizens, and those that are rising in the metaverse for touristic or repercussion purposes.
The ability to virtually ‘travel’ to other regions is one of the most apparent applications that comes to mind when considering the use of metaverses.
Several cities in the United States are already using the first of the proposed approaches: the deployment of digital twins to build an urban laboratory in the metaverse.
Orlando, Boston, and Las Vegas have developed virtual versions of their cities, enabling them to repeat what-if scenarios to foresee the precise impact of possibilities such as the construction of new buildings, the modification of roadways, and other land use decisions.
In order to reduce travel times and fuel usage, the city of Pittsburgh also utilized these technology to implement adaptive traffic lights that alter based on actual traffic conditions. This sophisticated traffic technology has decreased city commuter delays by approximately 20%.
Barbados steps forward in the metaverse
Barbados is another example of the utilization of the metaverse for tourism purposes. It took the island nation less than a month following Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement with Meta to become the first nation with an embassy in the metaverse, making headlines throughout the world.
How? Reaching a consensus with Decentraland, a platform that suggests one of the several virtual worlds that have emerged in recent months to have its own area, is essential.
In its announcement, Barbados also claimed to be in talks with several metaverse companies to develop a “sovereign digital land.” “The objective is not to pick a winner: the metaverse is still very young and new, and we want to ensure that everything we construct is transferable to all metaworlds,” said Gabriel Abed, ambassador of Barbados to the United Arab Emirates and also a digital entrepreneur.
On the horizon, it is anticipated that the Barbados space in Decentraland would allow people to purchase digital land and explore the entire island.
Seoul: Towards the Services and Officials of the Metaverse
Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, has a more administrative style. Over the next five years, the South Korean government will invest $177 million in the construction of a local metaverse.
The primary purpose of the investment is to develop a local economy centered on the metaverse, but it also includes a series of services for citizens dubbed Metaverse Seoul, through which their neighbors can interact with the avatars of city authorities in virtual reality. In the virtual world, citizens will also be able to visit locations and attend activities.
The launch of Metaverse Seoul is part of a plan by the city’s mayor, Oh Se-hoon, titled Seoul Vision 2030, to build the city into a market-leading city of future cities. The plan is structured in three phases: the “introduction” phase in 2022, the “expansion” phase in 2023 and 2024, and the “settlement” phase in 2025 and 2026.
China is not far behind
China also intends to establish Shanghai as the leader among the cities of the metaverse. This year, Chinese government departments and local governments produced five-year growth plans, one of which contained the first mention of the metaverse.
The statement supports “encouraging the deployment of the metaverse in fields including public services, commercial offices, social entertainment, industrial manufacturing, production security, and electronic games.”
The commission stated that it intends to expand research and development of underlying technologies, such as sensors, real-time interaction, and blockchain. Yes, the document does not specify a timetable or particular objectives.
Beijing’s most recent five-year plan, issued in March, identified seven “frontier” technologies that China would concentrate on in its pursuit of self-sufficiency in science and technology, including the metaverse and indigenous tech giants such as Baidu.
In spite of this, and in light of China’s persecution of other technologies such as cryptocurrency, there are others who believe that the Chinese metaverse will also be severely regulated. A few months ago, Winston Ma, a Chinese-origin adjunct law professor at New York University, said on CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia that the yuan has been weakening “It is believed that there will be laws regarding the metaverse proposals made by certain significant Chinese corporations.
The United Arab Emirates has also put the focus on the metaverse
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, announced this year the commencement of a new metaverse-based plan for the city.
The primary purpose of the strategy is to improve the city’s technology, generate new government jobs, and apply these improvements to the tourism industry.
Specifically, the United Arab Emirates have struck a partnership with the TMRW Foundation, an initiative founded by Cevat Yerli, a German-born video game designer, to research potential metaverse applications. Using augmented and virtual reality, for example, inhabitants will be able to get health-related services and consultations without leaving their homes.
At the Spanish government level, the metaverse has already made its appearance. A few months ago, the Spanish government issued a request for 3,8 million euros in subsidies for small and medium-sized businesses engaged in Web3 and metaverse-related research, development, and innovation.
The help is part of the Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience Plan.
Specifically, the appeal emphasizes their desire to foster the “creation of new online work spaces for collaboration” and the “new procedures or models that apply technology to the metaverse in cultural, health, or educational environments.
As has been the case over the past few months, all metaverse-related messages remain unclear. Additionally, those we have known from the United States. This either prevents the growing interest from making us all witness in a few years, one way or another, whether many of these suggestions are just a toast to the sun or take shape via something more than cute avatars, to have a genuine impact on our towns and states.
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