NEOM’s tech arm shifts from spending to attracting investors as it plans ‘the world’s first true metaverse platform’
RIYADH: It won’t be necessary to have people physically living in NEOM for Saudi Arabia’s futuristic $500 billion giga-project to generate money. NEOM developers have another revolutionary idea: a metaverse network blending the digital world with the physical environment.
In what would be a novel approach to combining the mega-city with the meta-city, NEOM is targeting people overseas to experience its XVRS, a digital twin of NEOM available to everyone for a charge.
Joseph Bradley, the executive in charge of NEOM digital development described XVRS as “the world’s first true metaverse platform”.
“Because we’re building NEOM from the ground up, we can deliver unique experiences that truly blend the two worlds,” Bradley said in an interview with Arab News while attending the LEAP event in Riyadh.
“Nobody else in the world can do that,” he said.
Bradley, CEO of NEOM’s Tech & Digital subsidiary, said XVRS has three main drivers. The first allows users to create digital versions of physical assets.
Second, “it has a built-in mixed reality engine. That means I can show up as a hologram and show up physically there, and vice versa,” he said.
The third feature it has is a marketplace, allowing people to buy and sell digital content.
In a statement, Bradley said, “The future will not be defined by megacities, but by cognitive meta-cities. It’s experience-driven rather than scale-driven, XVRS puts human needs at its core. »
NEOM Tech & Digital plans to invest up to $1 billion in 2021 to advance the project’s technology plans. However, it also focuses on how to create revenue with products like XVRS.
Bradley said the project is now attracting local and international investment and will soon be able to export its technology around the world.
Bradley added: “Bringing investors and generating revenue to Saudi Arabia is the whole vision behind 2030 and we are excited to do that.”
He said: “We have several real estate developments, several cities that would like to be able to take their existing cities and create a digital version to allow people to interact with it.”
Last year, it was revealed that tech giant Oracle would be the first tenant of a new hyperscale data center at NEOM.
Bradley also reiterated his view that NEOM will be a major part of the Kingdom’s ambitions to diversify its exports away from fossil fuels.
Bradley said, “The vision is to export the technology”,
If you don’t get any data, you can’t create value. It’s very simple. No trust means no data. No data means no value
Joseph Bradley, CEO of NEOM Tech & Digital
NEOM’s Data Privacy Solution
Bradley added that NEOM will have state-of-the-art safeguards to allay growing concerns about the so-called “data privacy paradox”, whereby users of technology, primarily on social media, have their personal information appropriated and used. without their knowledge.
Bradley said, “Around 80% of people are concerned about their data being shared. They share more and more information knowingly or unknowingly.
He added: “If you think of an iceberg, the tip of the iceberg, when you average [website], I won’t name the site, but people go to this very popular site and they believe that when they give consent they are selling, they are sharing information. What they don’t know is that they just shared it under the iceberg with 400 other sites.
The solution will be NEOM’s pioneering end-to-end consent management platform, called M3LD, which is part of the city’s $1 billion investment in AI-enabled products.
M3LD is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2023, according to a statement from NEOM Tech and Digital.
The platform will give consumers control over the use of their personal data and reward them accordingly, while simultaneously adding value to data controllers, or third parties, who want to use the data.
Bradley said: “We didn’t run away from this issue. We tackle it head-on. “
He stressed the importance of building trust with consumers.
“If you don’t get any data, you can’t create value. It’s very simple. No trust means no data. No data means no value.