Dubai, United Arab Emirates
September 28, 2022 – A new study commissioned by Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) found that 79% of Middle East business professionals surveyed are ready to use virtual reality-based platforms, such as the metaverse, for work, in replacing current video conferencing options. On top of this, a whopping 94% of the respondents in the Middle East would feel comfortable conducting formal work meetings, like with HR, in a virtual reality environment.
The survey, which polled views among 15,000 respondents across the Middle East, North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia also uncovered some regional differences. According to the study, 82% of business professionals in the Middle East feel comfortable about their company introducing VR in their work processes. When asked about the drawbacks and concerns of virtual work environments, 33% of UAE respondents worry that they will not be able to read in-person emotions, 27% of KSA are concerned about security and 22% of respondents in Egypt said that unreliable network connectivity may hamper the ability to work in the metaverse.
“There is a growing appetite for more immersive collaboration tools like the metaverse in the Middle East,” commented Azz-Eddine Mansouri, General Manager of Sales at Ciena Middle East. “However, network reliability and security are paramount for these new work applications to strive.” Middle East respondents also expressed an interest in using these new immersive platforms for consumer-centric tasks. For example, shopping is one of the motivators in countries such as UAE (57%) and KSA (47%). In Egypt, 51% of respondents found the metaverse more suitable for work.
When it comes to selecting their avatar for the virtual world, 29% of business professionals would choose an avatar that reflects their real-world self, 21% would take on a different image depending on the setting and meeting purpose and 20% would choose an avatar that represents a more idealistic version of themselves. Only 15% of respondents would pick a pop culture figure as their avatar.
Despite growing interest amongst working professionals, 31% of respondents believe network reliability is preventing businesses from aggressively moving forward while 34% feel the technology is not readily available. Despite these concerns, 82% of professionals can see the metaverse becoming part of existing work practices and 40% think their business will move away from the traditional/static collaboration environment to a more immersive and virtual reality-based environment within the next two years.
Mansouri concluded: “Given the Middle East region has some of the world’s highest rates of tech adoption and digital penetration, virtual reality worlds will start to play a bigger role in the way we work and interact. The success of these virtual platforms depends heavily on having an underlying infrastructure that offers low latency and supports higher bandwidths.”