The Metaverse is the internet’s next evolution. It completely focuses on integrating the best of both worlds: the virtual and the physical experiences. For some, it is even an online environment designed to recreate the real world digitally.
Currently, many are developing these virtual sectors. While the private sector has made huge advances, governments are beginning to delve into it. For example, Digital city halls and other city operations are already bringing some cities into the Metaverse.
Many leading cities are also venturing into these worlds in search of something new and unique. But, of course, this applies to “inventing” something that isn’t only related to gaming or fantasy.
These inventions are related to experimenting with new ways to attract people from other niches, such as residents from the city that is being developed. Getting these people into the Metaverse provides an immersive experience where citizens can travel their city but through virtual reality.
Doing such projects of recreating a city in the Metaverse is called “digital twins,” where the entirety of the urban zone is simulated through 3D digital assets and modeling. In addition, this isn’t only created for entertainment: specialists found that digital twins can help resolve problems from real life.
What Are the Benefits of Developing Metaverse Cities?
A recent study by Deloitte Digital and Snapchat found that around 75 percent of the world’s population will be using augmented reality (AR) features in their smartphones in the next few years.
Augmented reality is the technology where the phone’s camera interacts with the actual environment and places virtual characters on the screen.
More and more local city leaders are considering the opportunities to adopt the Metaverse and virtual reality to engage with their citizens. This can help ensure bigger attendance at council meetings or reading official documents. Planning and other events can also be held this way.
In addition, public services can be greatly improved this way. For example, some people do not have enough time to attend a government office to do certain daily paperwork. Getting online would make it all more efficient, faster, and intuitive without the need to leave the house.
Improved City Planning
One of the main benefits of creating a Metaverse city is the involvement it can provide to the citizens of that location. Their participation in decision-making would provide valuable feedback, which can only be good for everyone.
Currently, cities such as New Rochelle and New York in the United States are debating the inclusion of these virtual reality tools, especially for public engagement processes.
This will also serve for certain issues, such as the construction of new buildings, since drawings and plans aren’t always the best way to visualize a finished project. Through 3D modeling, neighbors can see how the building will look, the same as their future real-life counterparts.
Helps with Conscientization
Digital twins projects can help with governmental issues and other matters such as climate change and nature. For example, city leaders in Wellington, New Zealand, have employed these Metaverse cities to allow the engagement of their population with matters related to taking care of the environment.
To access this, citizens need to use a computer or a table and get into the twin city project, where every policymaker and resident meets to discuss.
The Wellington officials also believe that such technology can assist residents and the government, giving a clear understanding of how to address policies. This includes dealing with rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions.
Boosts Virtual Tourism
Since digital twins are supposed to be the counterpart of real-life buildings, they are likely to have similar infrastructure systems. To know how these virtual constructions interact with each other, developers of 3D city projects need to include hotels, stores, and other similar amenities.
This indirectly boosts tourism in the Metaverse. M Social, the first virtual hotel ever made, is one of these clear successful examples. Many members can get online and interact with others, attending meetings, events, and other related social activities.
On the other hand, stores are more than a huge advancement for NFTs and the Metaverse economy. It’s expected that in the future, 3D city stores will be exactly like real-life ones, with many places to hang out with other people and do more entertaining things.
One of the clearest cases is the worldwide famous clothing store H&M, which opened its first Metaverse clothing store in the Metaverse. Users can buy outfits for their avatars, but in the upcoming years, customers will receive a physical version of what they bought.
These examples show how sales, shopping, and hotels can boost Metaverse’s tourism. But that’s not everything: marketing companies are vital in developing tourism. Such teams can increase engagement and visibility, attracting new people to these worlds.
Enhances Bureaucratic Procedures
It is expected that by 2030 citizens from Seoul will be able to apply for new documents, permits, and passports from their homes. City officials will respond to users’ requests from anywhere in the Metaverse.
Currently, only one country in the world has a digital embassy. Barbados opened it in Decentraland’s virtual world, intending to acquire representation there. Visitors can get help with any issues related to passports and documents or just walk and visit the building.
Most Important Metaverse City Projects
The growing interest in the Metaverse and its tools, such as blockchain, 3D visualization, AI, and VR/AR, represents the greatest opportunity for smart cities. This allows city leaders to leverage digital twins to transform life and urban infrastructure truly. The following are the pioneer cities jumping to the VR:
1- Seoul, Korea
In November 2021, the mayor of Seoul announced that its city would be getting a digital twin version after almost a decade of working with VR and AR technology. The government’s main goal is to create an office where citizens can use their avatars to deal with different civic processes, such as documentation.
Officials aim that this project will support the private sector too in the upcoming years, as well as an addition for virtual tourism not only for Korean citizens. This could lead to huge marketing and business opportunities, indicating the importance of having good design teams to achieve such benefits.
2- Singapore City, Singapore
When Virtual Singapore was released years ago in 2014, this country became one of the first to embrace the project of digital twins. Vizzio Technologies was the company in charge of designing all of this, along with the huge list of government clients in the ASEAN region (headquartered in Singapore).
To create this hyper-realistic city twin, Vizzio Technologies used patented technology that leverages satellites and AI. Moreover, even universities are getting into this project, with the University of Social Sciences setting one of the first courses in a Metaverse laboratory.
3- Shanghai, China
By the end of 2021, the Chinese city of Shangai announced a 5-year plan to design a Metaverse 3D city where public and private interests are aligned. The main intention is to grow the Metaverse industry, which can reach up to $52 billion by 2025.
Ten leading global enterprises and more than 100 companies related to the Metaverse will also be added to these new ecosystems. All of this was announced after an investment of $1.5 billion was going to be made to develop Shangai’s Metaverse.
4- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
In May of this year, Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) launched VARA MetaHQ, the first Metaverse project that completely involves the government. Furthermore, Dubai announced they’re developing strategies to attract more than 1000 Metaverse companies.
This is expected to create more than 30,000 new jobs in the next eight years. After the announcement, a Metaverse accelerator was also opened in this city, increasing the blockchain venture funds.
How Metaverse Cities Can Benefit Businesses
Since constructing these virtual worlds requires a lot of time and workforce, designers and developers often hire experts to market their work. This ensures that the Metaverse will gain brand awareness and succeed, attracting many people to visit it and generating profit.
Teams like Exonite are professionals at these tasks, ensuring success with marketing strategies that create a presence in social media and the Metaverse. This brings consistency, more sales, and revenue to NFTs and architectural designs.
It is interesting how local leaders and city staff may soon work with a Metaverse city. The possibilities on how they can engage with it and what the future of municipal government might look like are amazing thanks to this technology. But it also opens a whole new world to business within these cities.
As technology advances, every Metaverse city will have an exciting opportunity to influence how the virtual world develops. The first step is to stay informed, proactive, and curious about how to engage with it.