Khalid al-Muawad, Chief Experience Officer at Midwam
Midwam, an experience design company from Saudi Arabia, joined the Immerse Global Summit (IGS) 2022 Europe on Thursday to discuss how the Middle Eastern nation facilitated digital storytelling by tapping innovative, immersive technologies.
Khalid al-Muawad, Company Co-Founder and Chief Executive, spoke in a keynote speech at the event in Madeira Island, Portugal about how his enterprise designs and tailors bespoke immersive experiences for some of the world’s top organisations and institutions.
He explained in his keynote speech how extended reality (XR) firms could reshape businesses across verticals, including education, healthcare, and others to engage customers and incorporate emerging technologies.
Speaking to audiences, he stated how immersive experiences could act as a huge catalyst, adding human-centric interactive technologies could offer cutting-edge solutions and unforgettable memories for users.
Sectors that could greatly benefit from such technologies included the global entertainment and tourism industries by driving diversity in the global economy, he said. Ahead of the IGS 2022 Europe, he said in a statement,
“The digital revolution has disrupted and changed the way the public engages with events and destinations at home and abroad”
He added he was “delighted” to join the Summit with other major tech firms, namely as “companies look to the next phase of business development ” by adopting immersive solutions to engage with customers.
Call for a Human-Centric History
In his keynote speech, Al-Muawad outlined to audiences that maximum engagement for retail and supermarket adverts was roughly six to nine seconds, but immersive experiences could boost figures to “minutes, not seconds,” which he said was a “revolution when it comes to the business impact.”
He explained that his homeland of Saudi Arabia had been perceived by many as a nation of “camels and oil,” prompting leaders in Riyadh and around the country to “take a call for action and go digital” with engaging experiences and stories.
The creative content and experiences were later exported to the United States, United Kingdom, and France at national museums in the respective countries.
Doing so required a “human-centric approach” by designing experiences, stories, and content, using a bespoke journey where audiences could experience what the country had to offer, including tourism, heritage, culture, and history, among others.
Speaking on Saudi’s numerous UNESCO heritage sites, he said,
“We’ve also explored and experienced culture within an immersive setup and experience. We’re talking about that setup of 400 by 500 square metre
of a space that you turn into an immersive experience with the right digital layout and content. […] We were capable of designing an immersive experience that took people from where we were, like a time-lapsed experience, [to] where we were 20 years ago”
The immersive experience was successful as Midwam could measure engagement and behaviours with the content, leading many to greater interest and visa requests to visit the country.
“I would see someone getting into an experience and coming out crying just because they never expected to see such a thing, and I’ve seen someone come out extremely happy and motivated, feeling that power of ambition that place had”
Saudi Arabia Transforms as Global Metaverse Hub
His speech comes amid the country’s massive shift to emerging technologies as outlined in its Vision 2030 plan, which aims to reach targets in artificial intelligence (AI), sustainability, construction, and others, as proposed by HRH Prince Mohammad bin Salman and his government.
Additional measures to boost its technological footprint include efforts from the nation’s Ithra Center, which launched its Creative Solutions accelerator programme with support from some of the top tech leadership in the United Kingdom.
The boot camp develops cohorts of immersive storytellers, many of who have used Unity Technology’s gaming engine and Meta Quest headsets for VR experiences in storytelling, science, and history.