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Leaping toward the Metaverse

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

Monday saw the start of LEAP23, a four-day global technology event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This is the second LEAP event, following the inaugural event held between the 1st and 3rd of February 2022.

The Saudi Arabian Metaverse ecosystem has been growing rapidly over recent years with investments and initiatives aimed at promoting virtual reality (VR) and its various applications in different sectors such as entertainment, education, healthcare, and tourism. The Saudi Arabian government has made significant investments in developing the VR industry – the country’s crown prince has committed to spending more than $7 trillion to boost the private sector and help position the kingdom as a hub for innovation – and has launched various initiatives such as the "Quality of Life Program" which includes VR as a key component.

LEAP is a Saudi Arabian technology conference that focuses on showcasing the latest developments and trends in technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Billed on the LEAP 2023 website, as a “global, award-winning technology event for 100,000+ disruptive tech professionals to join together from around the world”, this year’s event will be “venturing into new worlds to unpack the online, explore outer space and discover what's next for tech and humanity.”

The conference provides a platform for entrepreneurs, investors, and technology enthusiasts to network, exchange ideas, and explore new business opportunities. Theis year’s conference will feature keynote speeches, panel discussions, and exhibitions from various technology companies, startups, and venture capital firms. LEAP aims to promote innovation and the growth of the technology industry in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East region. By bringing together thought leaders and experts from various technology fields, LEAP provides a unique opportunity for attendees to learn about cutting-edge technology and its applications in different industries. The conference also highlights the achievements of technology companies and startups, and helps to foster collaboration and partnerships between attendees. LEAP 2023 will feature 11 stages and tracks, over 400 sessions, with more than 700 speakers. It will host over 400 start-ups, more than 900 investors and over 900 exhibitors.

Amongst this year’s 700+ speakers are: Saudi Arabia’s Vice Minister for the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology Haitham Abdulrahman Alohali, Chairman of The Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity and Programming (SAFCSP), Faisal Al Khamisi, Google Managing Director Abdul Rahman Al Thehaiban, Intel’s Saudi Arabia General Manager Ahmad Alabduljabbar, Sandbox Co-founder Sebastien Borget, and Unity’s Helen Copnall.

Monday’s talks included: “Deep Dive: The State of the Metaverse: How Close to the Interoperable, Connected Metaverse Are We?”, “The Metaverse Experience – Transcending Physical and Digital Divide”, with Tonomus’ Joseph Bradley, “Blurring Boundaries, Redefining Reality”, with a stellar cast including Animoca’s Robby Yung, The Sandbox’s Sebastien Borget and Meta’s Derya Matras.

Here at we’re looking forward to hearing tomorrow’s “The History of Metaverse”, with UC Berkeley’s Jack McCauley, “Hooping through Realities”, which will focus on industrial applications of the Metaverse, “Metaverse and Digital Twins: The Clash of Data, AI, Simulation and High-Performance Computing”, with Nvidia’s Simon See, and “AI for Augmented Reality”, with Meta’s Luc Vincent.

We’ll be doing a full rundown of this year’s event in due course. Don’t forget to leave a comment below!

Hala AlGhanim/Unsplash

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