Sia Partners at the forefront of metaverse consulting

02 February 2023 5 min. read
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The metaverse is touted to promise a new era of immersive digital experiences, transforming the way people interact, collaborate, and learn around the world. At the forefront of the development is global advisory firm Sia Partners – and particularly its Middle East wing, which is helping public and private clients to get the most from the nascent technology.

As businesses look to new digital means of innovation, hype for Web3, or Web 3.0, is going through the roof. Over the last two years, perhaps the most talked about part of this has been the rise of the metaverse – which seeks to build a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection.

The metaverse is seen by corporations and organisations as a billion-dollar opportunity, with the global network finally manifesting a single, universal virtual world.

Sia Partners at the forefront of metaverse consulting

With companies around the world rapidly sinking capital into new metaverse projects, the Middle East has emerged as one of the regions currently leading the charge. In particular the UAE, has a bustling virtual reality and extended reality ecosystem – the two technologies at the heart of metaverse growth.

According to experts at consulting firm Sia Partners, the metaverse provides the region with a major opportunity to become a leader of digital skills and training in the future. The interactive, virtual environment presents an ideal place for training and simulation for emergency responders, public safety and the military, according to the consultancy.

For example, a notable project recently completed by Sia Partners saw it help to build a virtual cyber security training environment, which mimicked a real-life security operations centre for one of the main cyber security entities in the GCC.

“The metaverse is more than just a futuristic concept, it is quickly becoming a reality”, contends Amancio Torres, Managing Partner of Sia Partners in the Middle East. “In the private sector, the metaverse can be used to improve collaboration and communication within organisations, as well as to create new revenue streams through the development of virtual experiences and products. The metaverse can also be used to improve training and education, as well as to create new forms of advertising and marketing.”

This has inevitably led to governments across the Middle East also look to get ahead of the curve, when it comes to metaverse development. For instance, in 2022, the government of Dubai announced a ‘Metaverse Strategy’ aiming at creating 40,000 jobs in the sector, and adding $4 billion to the economy over the coming years.

“We’ve worked on some of the most high-impact metaverse projects in the Middle East, for both public and private sector clients in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia,” added Sarim Amair, who leads Sia Partners’ metaverse offering in the Middle East. “In government, the metaverse can be used to improve citizen engagement, services and experiences. For example, virtual town halls and other public meetings can be held in the metaverse, allowing for greater participation and accessibility for citizens.”

But realising the metaverse’s real-world potential is easier said than done. It requires numerous new skills and access to innovative technologies – without which, there is a risk that the major investment it requires goes down the drain. This is where – like any other kind of digital transformation campaign – the support of vetted experts can make all the difference.

Sia Partners has already accrued a large amount of experience in the segment, supporting dozens of engagements to date. “The projects we have assisted have been diverse in nature, ranging from the development of fully-fledged custom virtual environments to the creation of digital twins of physical spaces,” said Torres.

Global expertise

Listing some of these engagements, Amair recalled another project involved designing and developing an event space for one of the UAE’s top ports. The firm eventually facilitated over 30-40 individuals in virtual reality while executing an immersive presentation in the respective environment.

More recently, Sia Partners developed a digital twin of a startup incubator in virtual reality for Saudi Arabia’s main tourism authority, enabling investors to trace the respective journeys of start-ups. At the same time, Torres added, “we’ve conducted a plethora of metaverse and web3 workshops for clients,” giving them insight for strategic planning or into their early steps.

One example of this form of support is Sia Partners’ metaverse and web3 training course, ‘Metalense’. The course offers participants the opportunity to undergo a two-to-three day bootcamp to ideate and develop related proof-of-concepts through VR/AR experimentation and concept development with experts.

The Middle East wing of Sia Partners is not alone in its metaverse endeavours, either. The consulting firm draws on expertise from a 2,000-strong global group, and has a team of over 100 professionals dedicated to Web3 and metaverse topics.

“We’re one of the only consulting houses to have an end-to-end metaverse solution with a global reach,” Amair contended. “It’s an exciting time to be doing business at the cutting edge of the metaverse – and we’re proud to be at the forefront of this technology. We can help our clients transform their business and technology capabilities and fully embrace the potential of immersive Web 3.0 – and by doing that, we are also helping the world to explore the amazing potential of this life-changing technology.”