How business value drives adoption

The idea of ​​an immersive virtual reality where people interact as avatars in a simulated environment may seem a bit strange to most people. But today, the benefits of the industrial metaverse – where the physical and the digital converge, are amplified by the power of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), high-performance networking, the cloud, virtual/augmented and extended reality ( VR, AR and ER) and 5G/6G connectivity – are starting to solidify.

And it’s the business value of the use cases that makes the difference.

Recent research with EY shows that companies are starting to embrace the potential of this augmented world. Eighty percent of veteran respondents said they believe the industrial metaverse will have a significant or transformational impact on their business. And the companies that have already implemented use cases are reporting more benefits than those in the planning stages expect to see.

The digital twin is emerging as a flagship application of the industrial metaverse. It is a digital representation of a physical system or environment. It includes physical and procedural properties and conditions and can integrate real-time data and simulations.

3D and PLM market leader Dassault Systèmes calls these ‘virtual twin experiences’. In one of their recent showcases for equipment manufacturers, visitors entered a gigantic hall, wearing smart glasses and carrying a backpack full of PCs, batteries, sensors and actors.

With this equipment, they experienced the virtual world in real time by immersing themselves in a 360-degree 3D model of a shop floor with real-time production and equipment performance data. Visitors could experiment and understand how a virtual platform can improve the simulation and decision-making process and reduce the costs of ineffective operations.

It turns out that this is the kind of application industries are craving.

They can work with real-world datasets and test algorithms on a virtual testbed. Use cases such as scheduling and capacity planning, onboarding new team members, and visualizing predictive maintenance make virtual R&D one of the most cited value-creating use cases for the industrial metaverse.

By delivering visualization, data interoperability, and intertwined digital-physical worlds, teams can engage in prototyping and testing, facilities planning and optimization, supply chain, grid or network planning and optimization, and predictive maintenance. All this can save time, money and effort, while protecting staff and the environment.

So why now? COVID-19 proved to be a clear turning point, a disruptor that forced remarkable changes in the way we work. Combine that with inflation, supply chain issues, skills shortages, safety requirements and climate change.

That’s why business value is the clear driver for industrial metaverse adoption.

The concept of virtual reality goes back a century. In 1968, Ivan Sutherland and his student Bob Sproull had launched a head-mounted VR/AR display that was so heavy it was nicknamed the “Sword of Damocles.” Such a daunting name must have given researchers pause. Much has been adjusted and reoriented since then. Enough that use cases are now emerging with real weight and business viability. Fifty-eight percent of respondents in the EY survey have already tested or implemented a metaverse use case.

Imagine the face of a railway operator, illuminated by the thousand tiny dots that intersect a 360-degree visualization of the nation’s rail system on a wall of screens in front of him. Some dots are trains that leave the station every three minutes and reach a speed of up to 400 kilometers per hour. Others provide signal data, while even more alarms flash between red, yellow and green to indicate performance metrics or areas of concern.

It is the height of summer tourist traffic, the capital hosts the Olympic Games and the entire country is in the grip of heavy rainfall. While the driver adjusts the routes for the time it takes a train to brake – up to three kilometers under normal conditions, another kilometer on wet track – a freight train derails and the entire system is immediately in the red zone.

Not the best time for an equipment changeover, but that’s why they’re testing it here in the VR training room. Imagine the worst, and the operator and his team of engineers can simulate it using a digital twin of the national rail network.

A virtual testbed for a mission-critical industry like railways – where there is zero tolerance for errors – means they can prepare for the worst unknown.

Digital twinning also applies in the world of medical research. Imagine a virtual laboratory, where a digital replica of the human vascular network is displayed on a large screen, and a team of phlebologists with an XR headset injects a test antidote into the subject on the screen, collects data, changes parameters and simulates simulations. algorithms. Because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, this research could lead to life-changing breakthroughs.

If we expand this to the realm of testing vaccines or assessing the side effects of new drugs for individual patients, we can change the face of medicine.

Still, these are still early days for metaverse use cases.

To grow the market to the “$100 billion by 2030” predicted by ABI Research, industries will need a robust networking foundation built on multi-access connectivity and high-speed computing capabilities. Secure, ultra-fast networks with low latency and high reliability will power the industrial metaverse and keep mission-critical applications online. Even the most advanced 5G networks will be tested by the demands of the metaverse, and work on 6G is already well underway.

Regardless of the technology, it is still humans behind the metaverse. Partnerships will be critical as the integration will require a high level of internal skills and external collaboration to succeed.

Find a partner that brings technology leaders, systems integrators, global service providers and specialty industry partners around the world to the table. Those kinds of powerful teams can help realize the new apps and solutions that will drive real business value.

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