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VR and AR to boost UAE's GDP by 1% and add $4.1b to economy by 2030

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Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are expected to contribute $4.1b to the UAE economy, a 1% boost to GDP by 2030, and will also have a significant impact on employment in the country.

According to a report by PwC Middle East, the majority of the contribution to the UAE economy will come from AR ($2.8b) with VR providing $1.3b.

Moreover, the technologies will benefit all industries, most notably in the healthcare and retail sectors in the UAE and will create more than 40,000 jobs in the country.

Last year, the UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention announced plans to introduce VR rehabilitation in physiotherapy for stroke patients, patients suffering from balance disorder and children with development disorders, cerebral palsy and Parkinson's syndrome.

Dubai Water and Electricity (Dewa) and Dubai Customs are integrating these technologies to transform their customer and employee experiences while Dewa’s engineers and technicians are using smart helmets and goggles to remain in quick contact with one another to conduct repairs.

Ali Al Hosseini, Chief Digital Officer at PwC Middle East, said that the Middle East is at a crossroads today as it undergoes a once-in-a-lifetime transformation and choosing the path of early technology adoption will have tremendous implications for business, society and the region’s economy as a whole.

“No place exemplifies this drive for innovation and openness to change better than the UAE. As AR and VR technology finally comes of age, we expect both to help boost the UAE’s economy in a significant way - the technologies will improve how organisations in the country operate, make for a seamless transition to more effective processes, and most important of all - educate people more effectively and generate incredible user experiences,” he said.

Healthcare sector to be biggest contributor

Globally, AR and VR are expected to contribute $1.5tr to the global economy by 2030 and provide a significant increase on the current contribution to global GDP of $46.4 billion. 

Out of the two technologies, AR will continue to provide the biggest benefits to global GDP through to 2030, accounting for $1tr of the $1.5tr overall.

Finland ($7.b), Germany ($103.b) and the UK ($69.3b) are forecast to see the biggest increases in percentage terms of GDP by 2030 with contributions of 2.64%, 2.46%, and 2.44% respectively.

The healthcare sector will provide a boost of $350.9b to global GDP while the use of VR and AR in the retail and consumer sector will provide a $204b boost and product and service development will provide a $359.4 billion boost to global GDP by 2030.

“AR and VR are transforming the world we live in and we have only seen a fraction of what is possible. These technologies can deliver experiences unlike any other and will make businesses thrive with the right adoption,” Richard Boxshall, Senior Economist at PwC Middle East, said.

Naushad K. Cherrayil