NEOM’s tech arm moves from spending to luring investors as it plans “world's first truly metaverse platform”

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Updated 02 February 2022

NEOM’s tech arm moves from spending to luring investors as it plans “world's first truly metaverse platform”

NEOM’s tech arm moves from spending to luring investors as it plans “world's first truly metaverse platform”
  • NEOM Tech & Digital is planning to invest up to $1 billion in 2021 to advance the project's technology plans
  • Co. also investing in data center projects and in M3LD data consent system

RIYADH: Having people living physically in NEOM won't be necessary for Saudi Arabia’s futuristic $500 billion giga-project to generate money. The developers of NEOM have another revolutionary idea: a metaverse network blending the digital world with the physical environment.

In what would be a new approach to combine the mega-city with the meta-city, NEOM is targeting people abroad to experience its XVRS, a digital twin of NEOM accessible to all for a charge.

Joseph Bradley, the executive in charge of digital development NEOM described XVRS as “the world’s truly first metaverse platform.” 

“Because we are building NEOM from scratch, we can provide unique experiences that actually blend the two worlds together,” Bradley said in an interview with Arab News as he is attending the LEAP event in Riyadh.  

“No one else in the world can do this,” he said.




Joseph Bradley

XVRS' features

Bradley, the CEO of NEOM's subsidiary Tech & Digital, said XVRS had three main engines. The first one allows people to create digital versions of physical assets. 

Secondly, “it has an integrated, mixed reality engine. That means I can show up as a hologram and show up there physically, and vice versa,” he said.

The third feature it has is a marketplace, allowing people to buy and sell digital content.

In a statement, Bradley stated that “the future will be defined not by megacities, but by cognitive meta cities. It is a vision focused on experiences rather than scale, XVRS puts human needs at its core.”

Making Money

NEOM Tech & Digital is planning to invest up to $1 billion in 2021 to advance the project's technology plans. However, it is also focusing on how to create income with products such as XVRS.

Bradley said the project is now attracting local and international investment and will soon in a position to export its technology across the world.

Bradley added: “Bringing investors and bringing revenue to Saudi, that is the whole vision behind 2030 and we are super excited to do that.”

He said: “We have several real estate developments, several cities that would like to be able to take their existing cities and create a digital version to allow people to interact with it.”

Last year it was revealed that tech giant Oracle would be the first tenant of a new hyperscale data center in NEOM.

Bradley also reiterated his view that NEOM will be a leading component of the Kingdom’s ambitions to diversify its exports away from fossil fuels.

Bradley said: “The vision is to export technology,”

If you do not get any data, you cannot create value. It is very simple. No trust means no data. No data means no value

Joseph Bradley, CEO of NEOM Tech & Digital

NEOM's data privacy solution

Bradley added that NEOM will have cutting edge safeguards to allay increasing concerns about the so-called “data privacy paradox”, whereby users of tech, primarily on social media, have their personal information appropriated and used without their full knowledge.

Bradley said: “Around 80 percent of people are concerned about sharing their data. They are sharing more and more and more of the information knowingly or unknowingly.”

He added: “If you think about an iceberg, the tip of the iceberg, when you go to the average [website], I won't name the site, but people go to this very well-known site and they believe when they hit consent that they're selling they're sharing information. What they don't know is they just shared it below the iceberg with 400 other sites.”

The solution will be NEOM’s pioneering end-to-end consent management platform, called M3LD, part of a $1 billion investment by the city in AI-based products.

M3LD is set to be released during the first quarter of 2023, according to a statement by NEOM Tech and Digital.

The platform will give consumers control over the use of their personal data and reward them accordingly, while simultaneously adding value to data controllers, or third parties, who wish to use the data.

Bradley said: “We have not run from this problem. We're addressing it head on. “
He emphasized the importance of building trust with consumers. 

“If you do not get any data, you cannot create value. It is very simple. No trust means no data. No data means no value.”




Bradley speaking at LEAP 2022

 

 

 


Saudi Cabinet authorizes ministers to discuss agreements with Thailand in energy, tourism sectors

Saudi Cabinet authorizes ministers to discuss agreements with Thailand in energy, tourism sectors
Updated 12 sec ago

Saudi Cabinet authorizes ministers to discuss agreements with Thailand in energy, tourism sectors

Saudi Cabinet authorizes ministers to discuss agreements with Thailand in energy, tourism sectors

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet on Tuesday authorized the ministers of energy and tourism to discuss with Thailand a draft cooperation agreement in their respective fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The council of ministers also approved an initial agreement on cooperation in the field of labor between Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan.

The Cabinet also approved two memorandums of understanding between Saudi Arabia and France in the field of railways.

The council has also endorsed an initial agreement between Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Statistics and the UK’s Office for National Statistics to boost cooperation.

The Saudi Cabinet also discussed the decisions taken at the recent OPEC+ ministerial meeting to amend the production level for the month of September 2022 stressing the need for full compliance with the specified production quotas.

It added that the stability and balance of the oil market is one of the pillars of the Kingdom’s energy strategy, as oil is an important element in supporting the growth of the global economy. 


China In-Focus — Shares edge up; Luckin plans store expansion; Asian giant forecasts 6m electric cars sale

China In-Focus — Shares edge up; Luckin plans store expansion; Asian giant forecasts 6m electric cars sale
Updated 12 min 48 sec ago

China In-Focus — Shares edge up; Luckin plans store expansion; Asian giant forecasts 6m electric cars sale

China In-Focus — Shares edge up; Luckin plans store expansion; Asian giant forecasts 6m electric cars sale

RIYADH: China shares edged up on Tuesday, led by energy and renewable energy stocks, while gains were capped as COVID-19 outbreaks and tensions with the US weighed on sentiment.

The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.2 percent, to 4,156.29, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3 percent to 3,247.43 points.

The Hang Seng index fell 0.2 percent, to 20,003.44, while the China Enterprises Index lost 0.4 percent, to 6,794.77 points.

China’s Luckin plans store expansion, remains committed to US market

Two years after it was forced to withdraw from the Nasdaq for an accounting fraud, China’s Luckin Coffee believes it has emerged from its “darkest moment,” and said it remains committed to US capital markets as it expands its stores and sales.

Luckin admitted in 2020 that about $310 million of its sales were fabricated in the previous three quarters, bringing the coffee maker to the brink of collapse after having blazed a trail as a homegrown challenger to US coffee giant Starbucks.

“That was Luckin’s darkest moment. The company was facing a huge crisis at the time,” David Li, chairman and CEO of Chinese private equity firm Centurium Capital, told Reuters, referring to the accounting fraud.

China electric car sales to hit 6 million

The China Passenger Car Association has raised the forecast of electric car sales from 5.5 million to 6 million this year, Bloomberg reported.

The association raised its forecast after deliveries of new-energy vehicles more than doubled in July to around 486,000 units, thus accounting for 26.7 percent of the overall automobile market.

PCA also revealed that overall passenger vehicle sales rose 20 percent in July to 1.84 million units compared to the same period last year. 

(With input from Reuters)


Southern Province Cement posts 42% profit decline on lower demand

Southern Province Cement posts 42% profit decline on lower demand
Updated 27 min 23 sec ago

Southern Province Cement posts 42% profit decline on lower demand

Southern Province Cement posts 42% profit decline on lower demand

RIYADH: Southern Province Cement Co. reported a 42 percent profit drop to SR150 million ($40 million) for the first half of 2022, according to a bourse filing.


Saudi miner Amak sees 11% profit drop in H1 after $333m IPO

Saudi miner Amak sees 11% profit drop in H1 after $333m IPO
Updated 4 min 45 sec ago

Saudi miner Amak sees 11% profit drop in H1 after $333m IPO

Saudi miner Amak sees 11% profit drop in H1 after $333m IPO

RIYADH: Saudi miner Amak has recorded an 11 percent profit drop for the first half of 2022, after making a strong debut on the Kingdom’s stock market earlier this year.

Formally known as Al Masane Al Kobra Mining Co., the firm posted SR82 million ($22 million) in profit, down from SR93 million in the same period last year, it said in a bourse filing.

Amak debuted on the Saudi stock market in March, after raising proceeds amounting to SR1.2 billion in an initial public offering.

The lower profits were attributed to IPO-related costs and a rise in marketing and Zakat expenses, despite a boost in sales from the operation of the Guyan mine at full capacity.

Revenues of the TASI-listed company went up by 15 percent during the six-month period, reaching SR303 million. 


MENA Project Tracker — Kuwait invites bids for $1.7bn water treatment plan; KOC awards $388.5m contracts

MENA Project Tracker — Kuwait invites bids for $1.7bn water treatment plan; KOC awards $388.5m contracts
Updated 34 min 11 sec ago

MENA Project Tracker — Kuwait invites bids for $1.7bn water treatment plan; KOC awards $388.5m contracts

MENA Project Tracker — Kuwait invites bids for $1.7bn water treatment plan; KOC awards $388.5m contracts

CAIRO: Kuwait’s Public Works Ministry is inviting bids for the expansion of $1.7 billion North Kabd wastewater treatment plant.

The deadline for the engineering, procurement and construction contract bids is Aug. 23.

Following the expansion, the plant is expected to hold up to 1 million cubic meters a day, according to MEED.

ENOC opens second compact service station

The Emirates National Oil Co. has opened its second compact service station in Al-Salamah 1 in Umm Al-Quwain, reported Zawya.

“The launch of a new service station in Umm Al Quwain reinforces our ambition to invest in the country’s growing infrastructure in order to meet both short- and long-term fuel needs,” stated ENOC Group CEO Saif Humaid Al-Falasi. 

KOC awards $388.5m contracts  

The Kuwait Oil Co. has awarded three contracts worth $388.5 million to Spetco, Contracting and Marine Services , and Fawares Petroleum Services Co.  for the supply and installation of sucker rod pumps at its oil fields, reported MEED.

NWC to invest $29bn on water infrastructure

Saudi Arabia’s National Water Co. has revealed its $29 billion investment plan for water infrastructure over five years, reported MEED.

The plan seeks to ensure water security and meet the country’s needs. 

This will be achieved by increasing the number and capacity of sewage treatment plants across the Kingdom.