Middle East not ready for the metaverse, Capacity ME panel agrees
The Middle East is not yet ready for the metaverse according to a panel of experts at Capacity Middle East.
The panel was chaired by Carl Roberts, Partner at Hadaara Consulting and featured Thomas Kuruvilla, managing partner for the Middle East at Arthur D Little, Veer Passi, Group CEO of Kalaam Carrier Solutions and Sandeep Maru, global sales director for Ooredoo Group.
Kuruvilla kicked off the discussion by claiming that the capacity required for the metaverse is four to five times more than what telecom operators are planning today.
“I don’t think that even addresses a quarter of the requirements,” he added.
Kuruvilla believes that the benefits that the metaverse will offer will be significantly higher than the investment but questioned whether operators are collecting enough data to build a so-called “digital twin”.
Passi agreed that the Middle East is not ready for the metaverse but argues that capacity is only one portion of the greater puzzle.
He says that the gaming industry has provided a solid foundation for the metaverse and the industry can build upon that, but the capacity needed will be five to 50 times greater.
Additionally, Passi says the metaverse offers an opportunity for telcos that cannot be missed.
“We can’t make the same mistakes that we did with the OTT space – when they came in telcos became pure infrastructure providers,” he says.
“I think this is the time that telcos have an opportunity to be collaborative in this whole ecosystem and start planning in advance with long investments.”
Maru agreed, stating that there are many stakeholders that will gain from the establishment of the metaverse, meaning it will add “immense value” to the industry.
Kuruvilla sparked a discussion around regulation of the metaverse, arguing that regulators must “step in and control competition, much more severely than they are doing today”.
According to Kuruvilla, this must be done before various players invest, compete and lose money.
On regulation of the metaverse, Passi said he doesn’t believe the entire metaverse will be regulated, citing the fact that government’s are struggling to regulate cryptocurrencies around the world as an example.
“I think there will be elements that will be regulated on the financial and ethical side, but a large part of it will take much more time to get regulated.”