Emirates News Agency – e& takes its first step into the metaverse

DUBAI, 9th October 2022 (WAM) – e&, formerly known as Etisalat Group, will delight booth visitors at GITEX Global 2022 by inviting them to step into the next digital universe with the soft launch of their virtual world e& universe. This move marks a significant achievement in the group’s transformation journey into a global technology and investment conglomerate as it takes its first steps into the metaverse.

Hatem Dowidar, Group CEO, e& shares his views on why telcos need to adopt the metaverse to improve customer experience and drive enterprise digitization.

The Metaverse technology may be in the early incubation phase as it requires high-bandwidth, low-latency communications to function at scale. Still, telcos must consider harnessing their potential to improve life, whether as a virtual playground or shopping destination, or even as a training ground for smarter, more efficient AI and industrial manufacturing processes.[1] To make it work at scale, we will all imagine that robust connectivity solutions are required. This is where 5G becomes pivotal, as cellular networks may not be able to handle the demands of the Metaverse network.

According to a report by Ericsson, 5G is a game changer for the Metaverse and its entire ecosystem because of its global reach, including roaming capabilities.[2] For the metaverse’s cloud and edge cloud (MEC) capabilities, 5G also offers low latency, offload processing, and an improved level of detail (LOD). towards 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 (AI).

In fact, there are endless possibilities that telcos can use in the metaverse domain such as[3]:

• Cloud Computing Services – Edge computing is one of the cornerstones in the metaverse, and telcos are in a prime position to provide edge computing services to enable more efficient data transfer, reduce the burden of network congestion and also add another revenue stream in the process.
• Human Interface Hardware – Telcos can drive the adoption of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications used for optimal interaction in the metaverse. These could come through the bundling of VR devices and connectivity services, and go further by adopting an end-to-end (E2) approach to device lifecycle management.
• Advanced Analytics or AI – Telcos now more than ever have access to a multitude of data points. What’s more, in the Metaverse they can use these Big Data insights to improve decision-making. The data could also help them use customer and operational insights to increase sales using advanced analytics and AI.
• Connectivity Providers – With the generational shift from 5G to 6G as we approach 2030, this will fuel the adoption of the metaverse in everyday life. Telcos can play a role in addressing network capacity and efficiency issues as Metaverse requires robust fiber connectivity that delivers high bandwidth speeds.
• Metaverse Platforms – As the Metaverse platforms will evolve from a number of different virtual worlds individually created by companies, there will come a time when a super-virtual world will emerge. By investing in emerging Metaverse platforms, telcos will have the upper hand in building the deep technical expertise needed to create the Metaverse of the future.
• Cyber ​​Security, Privacy and Trust – Individuals and businesses remain concerned about their digital footprint and data integrity. As data stewards, telcos are viewed by customers as a trusted partner when it comes to protecting their private data. Therefore, telcos might consider leveraging their existing customer relationships and positioning themselves as “experts in identity management.”
Telecom companies also need to work with tech giants, internet tech companies, specialized cloud providers, device manufacturers, technology platform providers, as well as online game developers so that they can create a partner ecosystem for the development of a solid Metaverse ecosystem. In this way, telcos can become orchestrators of the Metaverse ecosystems by identifying opportunities for collaboration with the parties involved.

Based on the limitless possibilities available when launching metaverse, and in line with our commitment to the digital empowerment of societies, with this GITEX Global we take a significant step towards metaverse by announcing the launch of e& universe, which is hosted virtually in Arcadia Planitia on Mars.

We also had two other big showcases: the Metaverse Service and etisalat by e&’s Business Center. The Metaverse Service is a Metaverse platform designed to maximize user experience through multiple virtual rooms and avatars. This was the result of collaborating with SK Telecom, the largest mobile operator in Korea, to explore media and entertainment. In our third Metaverse Showcase, etisalat by e&’s Business Center Showcase collaborates with Huawei, where e& innovatively demonstrates the future of retail using a 3D retail experience.