Geographies in Depth

Metaverse use cases: positively transforming the real world, one virtual step at a time

Numerous public and private sector organizations are already using the metaverse for good Image: Accenture

Rebecca Ivey
Head of Global Collaboration Village, World Economic Forum
Iris Vimbai Jumbe
Lead, Marketing and Communications, Global Collaboration Village, World Economic Forum
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  • The Global Collaboration Village, a World Economic Forum initiative in partnership with Accenture and Microsoft, is a purpose-driven platform, powered by next-generation technology.
  • Village Partners include nearly 140 organizations from business, government, civil society and academia, all contributing expertise drawn from diverse metaverse use cases.
  • These examples underscore the metaverse's potential to revolutionize education, industry, healthcare and social impact, demonstrating its adaptability across various sectors for real-world problem-solving.

The Global Collaboration Village, which unites leaders and decision-makers from diverse backgrounds to harness the potential of virtual and augmented reality in solving complex problems, recently held a convening of its community of nearly 140 Village Partners, a selection of whom showcased their innovative metaverse use cases. These applications spanned a wide array of sectors, including education, healthcare, construction, business analytics and climate change awareness and highlighted the transformative power of immersive experiences.

Empowering education and learning

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has launched the world's first twin-campus metaverse project. This project replicates physical campuses, allowing users to navigate and explore them remotely. It addresses the challenges of physical distance and travel restrictions, ensuring that students and faculty can continue their educational and research activities without being physically present on campus. It also offers an engaging and interactive experience, redefining how universities provide remote education and research opportunities.

Also in education, UL Research Institutes is empowering safety science education through interactive digital twins on Xplorlabs - a web-based platform - in collaboration with the UL Research Institutes Office of Research Experiences and Education. The mission is designed to empower students and educators in science and engineering through a project evolving from a 2D web-based platform to leveraging digital twins in mixed reality.

This component of the UL Safety-Verse enables real-time interactivity and immersive learning experiences. The objective is to provide a more profound understanding of scientific concepts, enhance engagement, bridge theory and practice and promote collaborative learning among students. This use case reflects the scope of the metaverse's potential to revolutionize education and safety science.


How is the World Economic Forum contributing to the metaverse?

Innovating in healthcare and social impact

The metaverse is also transforming the approach to preventive care and patient engagement. Among the healthcare service providers at the forefront of using this tech is Apollo Hospitals. Its metaverse product – ProHealth DeepX - bridges the gap between clinical health information and reality. Its Cardiac Risk Score, powered by AI, offers personalized insights to predict cardiac events and tailor interventions for individuals. This immersive experience enables users to visualize their heart's health and wellness journey, transforming preventive healthcare by making it tangible and personalized.

Going beyond health, PwC's SustainableMTech coalition unites a wide range of players to combine emerging technologies with social impact, aligned with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. The coalition focuses on building proofs-of-concept, tracking progress using innovative methodologies and influencing international intergovernmental bodies. PwC's approach demonstrates the potential for metaverse technology in fostering collaboration and social change.

Mobilizing resources for environmental sustainability

Arctic Basecamp is a team of Arctic experts, scientists and communication experts who ‘speak science to power’ to encourage bold climate action by raising awareness of the global risks from Arctic change and highlighting the urgent need for scalable solutions. The Arctic Risk Platform highlights the global climate risks associated with Arctic change. Extreme Arctic warming is triggering a cascade of risks across the rest of the planet.

These experts developed an experience within the Global Collaboration Village to visualize the links between Arctic change and global risks: the Polar Tipping Points Hub. Through unique visualization of climate tipping points and the cascading risks they pose, the space, which was designed by Accenture, enables decision-makers to grasp the urgency of polar warming and has the ability to catalyze collective action to address climate change.

Image: Arthi Ramachandran

Aramco, a Saudi-based energy company, has created an immersive experience that showcases the significance of mangrove forests in climate change mitigation, coastal protection and biodiversity preservation. This virtual tour guides visitors through a 3D replica of a real mangrove eco-park in Saudi Arabia, where they can interact with the environment, including observing fish and birds. The tour aims to raise awareness about an ambitious initiative to plant 650 million mangroves worldwide by 2035 to support carbon sequestration. This metaverse application fosters collective responsibility and encourages individuals to become sustainability advocates in their communities.

Image: Saudi Arabian Oil Company, 2023

Transforming industries and urban development

SAP is building a metaverse-enabled platform to support enterprises with analytics, outcome simulations and human-computer interactions. This immersive digital twin experience allows users to interact with data intuitively, monitor asset health, visualize supply chain data and simulate business scenarios. This use case showcases how digital twins are transforming asset-intensive industries and streamlining business operations.

Image: SAP SE

NEOM, a new region taking shape in northwest Saudi Arabia, is employing extended reality (XR) and IoT technology for city construction. It has created digital twins of construction sites to facilitate better decision-making through VR simulations and real-time IoT monitoring. This approach enhances safety, logistics and post-construction quality. The project demonstrates the metaverse's role in city development and the potential for long-term returns through digital twin technology.

Image: NEOM

Enhancing cultural heritage conservation and investing in creative industries

The Philippines Department of ICT emphasizes innovation, emerging technologies and creative industries. It is opening up funding applications to support research and development projects related to game animation, film development and extended reality. Serious games and gamification applications are being developed for various sectors. The Philippines is also exploring the potential of a metaverse platform for trading digital assets, immersive experiences and virtual events. This use case highlights the alignment of emerging technologies with national research priorities and the role of collaboration with universities and institutions.

Casa Batlló, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Barcelona, is venturing into the metaverse and Web3 to transform the cultural heritage sector. It collaborates with digital artists to create products and experiences that enhance on-site immersion at cultural heritage venues. This initiative engages visitors in a uniquely customized experience, while offering innovative cultural heritage conservation.


The metaverse holds promise for every sector

As a collection, these use cases showcase the metaverse’s potential across diverse sectors, including education, healthcare, environmental and social impact, urban development and cultural heritage. These examples emphasize how metaverse technology is driving change. As the Global Collaboration Village continues to expand, it will remain a hub for innovation through next-generation technologies, offering immersive experiences and 3D tools to leaders and decision-makers to accelerate real-world solutions.

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