Metaverse makes its way to big cities

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By A D

With the advent of metaverse technology, the way we interact with the world is changing, creating new immersive virtual world experiences that overlay digital data on top of the physical environment.

As tech giants like Facebook and Microsoft surmise that more people will want to spend more time in virtual spaces, the industry is predicted to become an $800-billion industry by 2024. Cities are already moving forward with digital city halls and other operations, although it will take some time until they develop a fully functioning virtual world. For a wider adaptation to people’s daily lives, governments and leaders must go beyond gaming and fantasy.Seoul takes the first step in that direction with its metaverse platform as it reveals plans bring services to residence through virtual reality.

The mayor of Seoul announced the commencement of the Metaverse Seoul project by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Users may virtually tour several of Seoul’s attractions, read official papers, submit grievances, and get assistance with municipal taxes at what is being refferred to as “a place of communication for citizens”. According to reports, the local administration spent $1.6 million on the first stage of the project. The second step will focus on making the platform more accessible to senior folks who might have problems physically travelling to city offices. The city has drawn out a five-year strategy that includes the introduction of a wide range of commercial, governmental, touristic, and cultural services withing their metaverse.
After launching a beta version earlier, the project is now widely available on Google Play and the App Store.

a digital avatar interacts with the virtual replica of the bell at Metaverse Seoul's  new year's eve bell ringing ceremony in 2022
New Year’s Eve bell ringing ceremony in Metaverse Seoul.
photo credits: upi.com

Seoul began its metaverse hopes last year with a virtual New Year’s Eve bell-ringing ceremony to ring in 2022, as pandemic ridden restrictions plagued the world. The South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT announced a $183 million investment in 2022 to develop a “national metaverse ecosystem” by cultivating knowledge, aiding local enterprises, and developing regulatory frameworks for the new technology.

The metaverse technology has now roped in city administrations as well. Cities all over the world, from Dubai and Santa Monica to Seoul, are concentrating on effectively integrating public services in the virtual world, fostering corporate activity, and most importantly, engaging residents.
Dubai’s own metaverse plan was launched with the goal of making the city “one of the top 10 metaverse economies” and “a global hub for the metaverse community.” Additionally, they want to expand metaverse education, promote creativity, entice new firms to Dubai, and leverage Web3 technology to give the government new ways to work.
The city of Los Angeles replaced its Sixth Street Viaduct bridge and opened it to the public this summer.
FlickPlay and Santa Monica are collaborating to release a play-to-earn metaverse app. Users of the programme in the city’s central business district can access digital prizes and collections and then exchange them for tangible goods at nearby shops.

Since the conception of the Metaverse, technology has come a long way. Existing versions have already hosted live events in the Metaverse for millions of users, thanks to the efforts of IT and social media firms. Technologies like blockchain and virtual reality have grown in popularity and accessibility. As a result, the Metaverse experience resonates more with the common man. Cities will continue integrating technology like the Internet of Things and digital twins into their daily operations as these tools become more accessible and as the extent of their utility is further investigated. Large urban centres that typically lead the way in technological development will undoubtedly continue to invest in a more immersive Metaverse.

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