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Cities in the Metaverse

Updated: Dec 23, 2022

While the Metaverse is yet to be defined in any universal way, largely because it doesn’t yet exist, most people envision a persistent, hyper-realistic, immersive, Ready Player One-esque virtual world that allows planetwide interactions, in real-time.

Here at we define the Metaverse as: “the hyperconvergence of the physical and digital worlds”, that is, the merging of the real world and virtual worlds to the point at which they become indistinguishable from one another. In a world where a fully-realized Metaverse exists, this hyperconvergence will allow people to visualise information in ways that have never been possible. It will allow us to peel away layers of the physical world to any degree they desire. To this end, people will be able to live in a purely physical world, a purely digital world, or anywhere in-between. Which means that, in the future, the Metaverse will be interwoven into the fabric of our cities.

Some cities, however, are already getting ahead. Notable movers and shakers in the Metaverse are Orlando, Florida. Historically known as the home of two of the world’s largest and most internationally renowned tourist attractions in the Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios, Orlando has been home to Metaverse-related industries for decades.

Orlando’s ambition to be the “home of the digital experience”, or the “MetaCenter”, alongside Miami’s ambition to be the “home of blockchain”, covers a wide range of immersive Metaverse technologies. These technologies include: IoT (Internet of Things) devices, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D reconstruction, or capturing the shape and appearance of real objects as a digital replica, or twin.

Regional leadership and the region’s economic development group, the Orlando Economic Partnership, are working with video game software development company Unity Technologies to create a digital twin, a three-dimensional virtual replica, of the 800-square-mile metro area of Orlando. The region’s digital twin will capture all the area’s physical infrastructure, from the interiors and exteriors of buildings to highways and utilities. Orlando’s leadership hopes this digital twin will allow it to run regional analyses and support decision-making on things like power grid expansions and transport improvements.

The Orlando Economic Partnership’s Chief Innovation Officer David Adelson is bullish about the regions aspirations. He recently stated that “the Metaverse is taking shape – and it is evident that Orlando’s tech companies play a big part in developing this new world.” This stems from Orlando’s existing $6 billion defense-related augmented and virtual reality markets – companies bases in the region include American aerospace, arms, defense, information security, and technology giant Lockheed Martin.

Orlando’s leadership are also leading by example. Orlando’s Mayor, Buddy Dyer, recently give the first mayoral address in the Metaverse, via his annual State of Downtown Address. Dyer used the address to highlight exciting developments in the Metaverse, and doubled down on Orlando’s future as the “MetaCenter”. Orlando’s leadership also recently participated in a dual Nasdaq bell-ringing ceremony, which occurred both in Times Square, and the Metaverse, and Chief Executive Officer of the Orlando Economic Partnership Tim Giuliani, was selected as the Winner of the 2022 GIS WebTech Award for Technology Leadership for the region’s digital twin.

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