Augmented reality and virtual reality to add $4.1bn to UAE economy by 2030, PwC says

Augmented reality and virtual reality will together pump $4.1 billion (Dh15.05bn) into the UAE economy by 2030, boosting the country’s gross domestic product by 1 per cent, according to a new study by consultancy PwC.

AR and VR will also have a significant impact on employment in the UAE, helping to create more than 42,000 jobs in the country over the next ten years.

“AR and VR technologies will improve how organisations in the country operate, make for a seamless transition to more effective processes… educate people more effectively and generate incredible user experiences,” said Ali Al Hosseini, chief digital officer at PwC Middle East.

Globally, AR and VR are expected to contribute $1.5 trillion to the economy by 2030, PwC said.

Finland ($7.8bn), Germany ($103.6bn) and the UK ($69.3bn) are set to see the biggest impact from AR and VR on their economies, with the technology adding 2.64 per cent, 2.46 per cent and 2.44 per cent respectively to their GDP by 2030.

The UAE will see a 0.95 per cent increase in GDP from AR and VR by 2030, the study said.

AR enhances real world situations using digital capabilities. It also lets users interact with other people while accessing digital information, such as reading text messages and operating navigation apps.

In VR, users wear headsets with high-resolution lenses. It is currently used for gaming and immersive video, offering users an experience that is different from the real or physical world.

Tech companies are investing heavily in these sectors. Apple has about 1,000 engineers developing products based on these technologies and aims to release a combined AR and VR headset with a focus on gaming, video and virtual meetings within the next couple of years.

“AR and VR are transforming the world we live in and we have only seen a fraction of what is possible,” said Richard Boxshall, senior economist at PwC Middle East.

In the UAE, these technologies can deliver experiences “unlike any other and will make businesses thrive with the right adoption”, said Mr Boxshall.

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