Leading UAE-based business conglomerate, the DAMAC Group – the parent company of global property development company DAMAC Properties, data centre firm Edgenex, luxury jeweller de-Grisogono and fashion house Roberto Cavalli – is announcing plans to embark into the world of the metaverse and build its own digital cities, becoming one of the pioneers in the GCC to do so.
“In an attempt to mold to the progressive trends of business, we are expanding our offerings into the metaverse realm to avail of the many opportunities it presents. We are keen to pioneer the possibilities that the metaverse offers in ways which allow us to be more connected and involved with our customers and their interests,” said Hussain Sajwani, Founder of DAMAC.
The Group will be run under the banner, ‘D-Labs’, and will be led by Ali Sajwani, Chief Executive Officer of D-Labs and DAMAC General Manager. The initiative forms part of the company-wide ambitions to move into digital assets and non-fungible tokens (NFT), and he is tasked in delivering the organisation’s goal to be a leading global digital brand.
The Group plans to invest capital up to US$100 million for the project.
“Over the past two years we have been aggressively driving our digitisation efforts, and this new initiative into the metaverse will only further leverage our digital footprint. As well as updating our systems, processes and operations across departments, we have been investing in building a strong team of skilled and talented experts to help support our ambitions of being a digital leader.
We plan to continue this exercise, and expand our team and know-how,” explains Ali Sajwani.
Since last year, the Group’s real estate arm, DAMAC Properties has been offering home buyers a 3D virtual experience that utilises virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology. This is a stepping stone into the metaverse realm, considered to be a digital universe made up of VR, AR and extended reality (XR) that refers to ‘all real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables’ where users can get the feel of ‘living’ an experience.
Through this move, the DAMAC Group hopes to branch out its services to cater to the needs of the entire Group when it comes to digital assets – ranging from virtual homes, digital property, as well as digital wearables, and digital jewellery through the company’s acquisitions of Swiss jewellers de-Grisogono, and Italian fashion brand Roberto Cavalli, respectively.
Digital experiences is also part of the offering, where guests will be able to get a virtual treat of the Mandarin Oriental Resort Bolidhuffaru, which is part of the Group’s hotels, resorts and serviced apartments portfolio.
Remaining committed to its stakeholders, existing customers of DAMAC will be prioritised in investing in these digital assets once plans have rolled out.
The Metaverse in Business
The metaverse is known to benefit businesses and its employees through enabling collaborations in a stimulating and highly-networked 3D environment that focuses on social connections. Some of the prominent perks in adapting to the metaverse include increase customer engagement and loyalty, better connectivity and collaborations with stakeholders, and eventually increased revenue.
A Market Research Future (MRF) research observed that the metaverse market was worth $21.91 billion in 2020, which is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41.7% by 2030. The report explains that the convergence of the physical and digital worlds, coupled with burgeoning need for metaverse for purchasing digital assets utilising cryptocurrencies, will offer robust opportunities for the market over the forecast period.
Furthermore, there is a massive demand for real estate in the metaverse, which is being slated as one of the most popular attractions for investors in the virtual space.