HTC VIVE and e& unveil metaverse partnership

The Middle Eastern operator group formerly known as Etisalat has partnered with Taiwanese mobile device maker HTC to showcase the latest in metaverse cleverness.

At GITEX Global, which reckons it’s the world’s largest tech show, awkwardly renamed e& is showing off a metaverse platform it calls e& universe. Its aversion towards capital letters is highlighted by both the name of event and of its partner, which prefer nothing but. The new platform is powered by a technology HTC calls VIVERSE, which is derived from its VIVE VR headset brand.

Apparently e& is all about ‘digitally empowering societies through the ideation and development of next-generation technological solutions,’ a manifestation of which is this universe. It will give event attendees the opportunity to explore it virtually, which is somewhat counterintuitive, and let those who couldn’t make it log in to the platform remotely. Once in, people can interact with 3D models and other digital replicas of real life.

“e& is not only showcasing the latest technological innovations but is also creating an incredible immersive and innovative experience through e& universe, a first of its kind venture in the region,” said Khaled ElKouly, Chief Consumer Officer, etisalat by e&. “The move to the metaverse is a start of a remarkable journey into the next digital frontier for the group as it seeks to do things differently, develop and launch technology solutions that will empower customers and businesses so as to offer heightened interactive experiences.

“With the metaverse, the opportunities for engaging with customers on a whole new level as well as fuelling their experiences with innovative solutions are endless. Through our collaboration with HTC, we have developed a metaverse ecosystem that delivers an unparalleled virtual experience for visitors. We will do what it takes to be the key orchestrator that revolutionises customer experiences by identifying opportunities to build such intricate virtual ecosystems that make the difference.”

“Through our collaboration with e&, our aim is to unleash peoples’ imaginations, helping them to enjoy new worlds, get work done in more engaging ways, learn, and relax,” said Joseph Lin, General Manager of VIVERSE. “This is just the beginning and with e&, we can’t wait to show you the amazing experiences that are coming next in e& universe.”

While the momentum behind the metaverse is undeniable, it still feels like a solution in search of a problem. The global digital economy enabled by the internet has been the single most transformative global event in the last half century, but demand to evolve from websites to virtual experiences remains unproven. Perhaps all we need is more things like the e& universe to make believers of us.


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