The metaverse will disrupt construction and real estate, democratising the sector as it creates opportunities for new talent and the potential to increase margins.
Many industries follow a 6D framework for disruption. It begins with digitalisation, through democratisation to eventually reach disruption. Examples include analogue phones that were digitalised and have now become pocket computers, and cars, which went from analogue machines to computers on wheels, said Jason English, CEO, Al Laith.
The construction industry however still follows a similar path to past years, remaining reliant on concrete, steel and glass.
The metaverse, he argued, will disrupt the construction and real estate industry. He pointed out that Citi Bank has estimated that the metaverse could be worth $13trn by 2030, with 5 billion users. A raft of major virtual property transactions have taken place, including one for $4.3m, and he highlighted that TedX and a number of banks have started using the metaverse.
The metaverse is a “series of miniverses [or] digital environments that effectively offer an immersive experience through avatars”, he said. Companies using BIM have the ability to produce simple metaverse models that can be uploaded into a platform, he added.
English said that Al Laith now makes company announcements and holds board meetings in the metaverse. “People come into our [custom built] auditoriums and interact.”
The results of this, he said, has been increased margins, downsized office space, more flexibility on where people live, new job opportunities and as a business, Al Laith has attracted younger talent. “Essentially, we have spawned a technology business just by accident,” said English.
“Accept that there is disruption on the horizon and start understanding how you can carve out your piece of opportunity in the future world. Because there is massive opportunity,” he concluded.