Gardens by the Bay, M1 and ESPL join hands to create new metaverse experiences

Look forward to more metaverse experiences in the digital recreation of the Singaporean garden icon.

by Justin Choo

Ever fancied a virtual Gardens by the Bay wedding with friends from around the world in attendance? It might be just the start of many metaverse experiences following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between M1, Gardens by the Bay and Electronic Sports Pte Ltd (ESPL) to develop and roll out new virtual experiences hitherto unseen.

“With the enhanced 5G connectivity, we look forward to working with M1 and ESPL to create even more interactive and immersive experiences in Gardens by the Bay, offering a ‘phygital’ option for event organisers to expand their reach beyond the physical confines of the venues here, to engage people from around the world,” says Lee Kok Fatt, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Gardens by the Bay.

From left: Roland Ong (Project Chair, ESPL), Lee Kok Fatt (Deputy CEO, Gardens by the Bay), Willis Sim (Chief Corporate Sales & Solutions Officer, M1 Limited)

M1 and ESPL will be providing their respective expertise in 5G connectivity and virtual experiences to complement and enhance Gardens’ iconic sights. The possibilities are endless; aside from weddings, you can hold concerts physically and concurrently in the metaverse and organise MICE events (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) for trade–’phygital’ events, as they call it. There is also a case for the technology to be used to develop curricula that are more engaging for students.

Much has been said about the vital role that 5G will play in the future of the metaverse; what’s key to this development in Singapore is the rapidly improving 5G SA infrastructure–it’s the first country in the world to achieve almost complete standalone 5G (SA) coverage over 95 per cent of the island. This makes high-speed, low-latency connectivity available to mobile devices anywhere, fulfilling a crucial element for democratising the potential pickup metaverse activities–i.e. making interactive virtual sessions possible on our personal effects even when on the move. M1’s 5G SA infrastructure currently offers over 70 per cent coverage islandwide (UPDATE: M1 informed us it is currently at 90%) and is on track to reach over 95 per cent by the end of this year.

gardens by the bay metaverse on a samsung galaxy fold

5G makes it possible to access the metaverse on mobile devices.

M1, ESPL and Gardens are currently developing metaverse experiences that complement the Gardens’ physical offerings–or hybrid, ‘phygital’ events. The parties provided a working demonstration of what such a metaverse may look like by collaborating with Singapore-based artiste DJ Red to put on a virtual performance and interact with a virtual audience in a Digital Twin of Gardens–created by ESPL–and set against the virtual backdrop of Supertree Grove. Cool factor aside, it also opens up opportunities for Gardens to reach a global audience.

“Offering metaverse experiences is an exciting milestone in our True 5G rollout roadmap. M1 is constantly pushing the bar with our 5G capabilities, and we’re proud to roll out 5G within the Gardens by the Bay as well as power its digital recreation made by our partner ESPL. The ability to give audiences a live and immersive experience both physically and virtually, have immense potential to deliver rich content on the go. We are excited to unlock new metaverse opportunities for the entertainment, MICE and tourism industries and help Gardens by the Bay become the garden of the future,” says Willis Sim, Chief Corporate Sales and Solutions Officer, M1.

picture of Gardens by the bay metaverse in action

The metaverse works almost exactly like a video game.

With 5G seemingly edging towards normality, it’s good to know that efforts are already underway to maximise its potential. While no dates or roadmaps have been explicitly laid out concerning this collaboration and its targets, we understand that it’s possible to speak to Gardens about creating a custom experience if you already have something in mind.

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