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Metaverse in Real Estate

Metaverse is a combination of two words meta (beyond) + verse(Universe), meaning “beyond this universe”. Combined with an extremely hyped word NFT (Non fungible token) and cryptocurrency, it opens up a Pandora's box, which very few people are able to decipher. The topic is been widely covered by media and Facebook added fuel to it by renaming itself as Meta. There are lot of promises been made on the use cases and we see a lot of hope and greed in the gen Z on this. With this innovative and extremely enthusiastic generation been locked down in homes due to pandemic, there is going be something extraordinary churning out in the next couple of years with their concerted efforts. There can be hours of discussion of each one of them but at this time I will restrict to the use cases in real estate.

1. Real Estate >>> Digital Twin >>> Meta Twin.

Real estate investment has been and will remain one of the most emotional asset a human being acquire in his life time. They spend a lot of time, energy and money to refurbish, redesign and remodel to suit their imagination. This imagination, till now, has been limited by a higher cost, government regulations and tools to experiment. The Meta Twin is going to solve this problem, you can design, visualize, monetize and showcase real estate, with the wildest of imagination, to friends and families with an insignificant expense. Metaverse uses web3 technologies with VR/AR/Mixed realities or simply your phone to provide an immersive experience.

The term metaverse was coined by Neal Stephenson 's 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where humans, as programmable avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional virtual space that uses the metaphor of the real world. Stephenson used the term to describe a virtual reality based successor to the internet. The success of Second life in 2003, Sony PlayStation 2008, and Fortnite in 2017 have augmented the metaverse story. Fortnite have 350 million players as of 2020 mostly in the age group of 18-24 years and they have spend $680 million on accessories on the platform. These numbers indicate that the metaverse with NFT and digital currency is inevitable, though there are still major hurdles like social regulations, infrastructure upscale and popularity of oculus and HoloLens plus real use cases.

Digital twin is also in its formative stage. It retains its place of choice while addressing engineering, maintenance and operations issues. Though it is not something we can touch but still it is realistic, precise and detailed.

Meta twin on the other hand is focused towards user experience, services and business through monetization. Through Meta twin there can be interaction within a 3D representation of a real estate project and can be made accessible to the buyers of real properties on a metaverse platform through mixed reality.

2. Real Use Case do exist.

All most all physical real estate project can be a candidate of Metaverse, but smart city zones or the complete city is a good candidate for it. If we consider mixed-use smart city project, having a Meta Twin allows residents, government, merchants, service providers to have a common digital space to share information, provide solutions in Realtime for issues that affect them along side have entertainment and social events digitally on the city level. A high end Meta Twin with bridge to other Twins will greatly enhance the user experience.

Let’s look at an example of Shopping Mall. Physical furniture store will have furniture NFT on Metaverse so mall tenant will benefit from dual exposure and visitors. There could be a small physical store with large number of NFTs or a large store with small number of niche NFT. Retail shops will enjoy seamless technical integration with metaverse platform for marketing, customer experience and other value added services. Every aspect of physical world can be extended to metaverse with services like cafeteria, incubation center, receptionists, mall events and shows.

Sometimes we go with redevelopment project and the heritage has to be preserved. The heritage building and the ecosystem can move to metaverse with immersive experience. Here people can relive the memories of their father and grandfathers.

3. What are countries doing

On Feb 27th 2022 South Korea announced that it is planning on investing $187M to create the Metaverse ecosystem. The Caribbean nation Barbados could become the first sovereign nation with an embassy in the metaverse, Coindesk reports. Saudi Arabia is building a $500 billion city. The city, named Neom, will have a digital twin in the metaverse allowing the citizens to experience the city even before it is functional. Dubai Municipality has revealed plans to work with private sector companies and investors to create a futuristic, human-centered version of the city in the metaverse called @One Human Reality@. Singapore has created a digital twin — Virtual Singapore — that lets users visualize in 3D how the city will develop and evolve in response to population growth and new construction


So Metaverse in some form or the other is going to be a reality. Big Tech majors like Facebook, google and Microsoft are doing acquisitions and building metaverse. Large start-ups like sandbox and Decentraland are growing at great speed and governments are reading the pulse and moving into the space. We are at this time at the edge of a defining moments wherein multiple technologies like 3D, AR, VR, blockchain, crypto, NFT etc are converging into creating something which was only into our imagination till couple of years. Only time will tell if we get to see the amazon or a tesla moment in the years to come.

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