The Metaverse is everywhere, and everyone is “venturing” into it from all industries. The experiences it offers are new (to most), intriguing, and currently leave lasting impressions as a result. The Metaverse is very much seen as representing 3D, AR and VR because the premise is currently driven by the experience.

Reality is that is just the surface level, and just one aspect of metaverse technology. It’s the presentation layer wrapped around metaverse experiences. A layer that makes data understandable to a wider audience by allowing it to be presented in contexts that are familiar and relatable to anyone. Presentation and interaction that closer mimics the physical world, and physical things. But if we look past that layer and dig around more metaverse technologies we start to unpack what is now being coined “the Industrial Metaverse”.

Metaverse technologies vs Industrial Metaverse applications

Digital twins are a Metaverse associated technology that we are seeing bubble up more and more lately. Again, not a new concept, but more a result of the increasing exposure to Metaverse as a concept as it advances and the technology exposes more and more benefits and uses. As we infuse AI and ML into these “twins” we can now have them react and respond in ways true to real life scenarios. The topic of digital twins is one we’ve covered previously here.

Industrial Metaverse is digital twinning on crack. Taking digital win technology beyond a single physical representation, and down into the inner workings of organizations and how they run. Departments, tasks, operations, efficiencies, etc. The Industrial Metaverse is essentially creating an organizational twin that we can then use to test and learn how we can operate more effectively, more efficiently, how to maximize performance. A reactive platform where the effects and consequences of every tweak and adjustment of elements and attributes within the organization can be visualized, regardless of whether they a positive or negative ripple effect across the entire organization. This mitigates risks, fuels decision making and allows effective exploration of options and solutions with less real-world consequences.

Applications of an Industrial Metaverse

Much of Metaverse technology is applicable across many industries. The fact is, we can look at the Industrial Metaverse as building organizational models through data means the power is creating when those models and data are given context.

Creating digital twins is just one of the many advantages of the industrial metaverse. The industrial metaverse can reach a much larger scale with increasing complexity by creating digital twins of entire systems such as factories, airports, cargo terminals, or cities — not just digital twins of individual machines or devices that we have seen so far.”

– Thierry Klein, president of Bell Labs Solutions Research at Nokia

Education and Training

Whether an company needs employees onboarded to their companies, or trained on specific tasks, equipment, or processes within an organization, solutions driven by an industrial Metaverse solution provide effectiveness, as well as cost saving benefits. The collaborative nature of Metaverse technology means that physical location restrictions can be removed. All of a sudden its no longer a puzzle of time and place to coordinate training sessions, its simply time. Any and all participants, including the any tutors, can meet in a single virtual space from literally anywhere, to all train and learn together. Training methods can also be enhanced leveraging the visualization benefits of Metaverse technology. No longer are textbooks and written guides what lead learning. Replication of practical tasks in a virtual setting means users can learn as if they were engaging with an actual piece of machinery with no risk of breaking it, and a far more absorbing experience that leaves a lasting impression, making retention of information far greater. Take these baseline benefits and it doesn’t matter if its a factory worker in a manufacturing plant training on a task, Oil rig workers in in the field being trained on emergency scenarios, Airline workers being educated on the differences of distinct planes, to learning experiences for kids with special needs. Solutions for education and training live everywhere.

Design, Engineering, and Production

Regardless of industry, there are production aspects to how a business runs. An obvious realm is where the designing and manufacturing of physical products is involved. At Younite-AI we work with clients in automotive, but the same principles apply to electronics, household appliances, shoes, basically anything in our real world that is manufactured. These physical products have digital assets associated with them that give us a contextual bond between the real-world and our Industrial Metaverse. In the design, development, and engineering phases of these products, we already see well established benefit to using Metaverse technology to help the teams undertaking those tasks. But beyond making crafting of new products more effective, our Industrial Metaverse can help with the physically production, and even maintenance, of each and every part of a product that has a digital counterpart. So, we can now hit factory lines and use our Industrial Metaverse technology to impact new areas such as quality assurance for products rolling off production lines, better understanding of where our real world counterparts are in the production line process, and how to best move them through it. We can use our tools to train production line workers on machinery or assembly procedures prior to hitting the real world production line, improving speed and confidence within a workforce. And I could go on and on and on with all the small areas and opportunities for efficiency within production processes that an Industrial Metaverse solution, particularly when paired with AI and ML solutions, can supercharge to create more confident manufacturing and significant cost savings.

Logistics and Operations

With digital counterparts we also have a contextual node within an organization that we attach all forms of data to. This really steps us away from the more obvious VR and AR world where the 3D aspect has such a strong presence, and into the world where we have an impact on the reams of excel sheets, analytics dashboards, and databases of organizational information, and disparate software applications that organizations run on. With an organizations structure, and their processes twinned, we can now dive into any area where there is a physical real-world counterpart. Beyond pieces and parts of physical products being manufactured, we also have real-world physical buildings and manufacturing plants, we have departments and teams, we can even go down to the level of an employee. This now means we can use the data information to give us the insights as to what has happened historically, what is intended for the future, and the actual real-time place it exists in a process. For pieces and parts, where they originated, how they’ve moved through the organization and the manufacturing process, where they currently reside in that process and where they will eventually conclude their journey (which likely never really concludes). For buildings and manufacturing lines we can look at how they’ve operated historically, how they operate currently in comparison, and look at the goals of how we want them to operate to use our historical data and all its interconnected dependencies to run scenarios and see the results on building and plant efficiencies, sustainability, and ability to react to extreme influencing factors that may effect productivity in the future (hurricanes for examples). And for the individuals, we can create digital twin co-workers creating a real world and virtual world duo, working in unison with one having the ability to look far into the future and test scenarios out paving the way for their real world doppelgänger to forge ahead in the real world more efficiently and confidently.

Where Do We Start?

At Younite-AI, we’ve set our sites on creating the foundational building blocks and the layers of tools that can sit upon it, for industrial metaverse solutions. This, along with our strategic insights and our data and technology development experience, allows us to partner with organizations to realize the full potential of the Industrial Metaverse in ways that directly relate to their organization. We partner with our clients to build the plethora of tools and applications that will increasingly add value, through operational efficiencies, and cost savings, through optimization and automation, across their entire organization. There are, in our experience, a few common hurdles to overcome to create that foundation.

Data is key. The more data from across the organization, in all its forms, is the life blood of an Industrial Metaverse solution. Typically this data lives with departments and teams, often with a resistance to allow others access to THEIR data. Creating the coalition of department leads (and data owners) is critical to keeping the blood flowing and momentum in establishing an effective Industrial Metaverse solution.

With the data blood flowing in, we often have to cleanse it in some way like dialysis. Data flows in with similar information in a variety of formats and department owned conventions. They must be aligned, harmonized, cleaned and unified in some centralized format within an architecture that is set up to use this new data structure to empower the tools we want to create on top of our Industrial Metaverse.

Companies already leveraging the metaverse may build lasting competitive advantages. Business leaders should develop a strategic stance by defining metaverse goals and the role they want to play.

– McKinsey & Company, Value creation in the metaverse

Start Small and Start Fast

The lucky thing is we do not have too many dependencies here. These building blocks can be evolved and built on over time. We can start with key departments, key processes, key cost savings areas. An industrial Metaverse is not a one-and-done solution. It is one that evolves and grows over time. Regardless, an effective approach to building your Industrial Metaverse solution means it can be an investment that can return value and cost savings almost immediately. Departments, and their data, can be rolled in over time through strategic planning focused around finding the areas of most opportunity. An opportunity always returns an ROI, and the incentive of ROI generally releases data sources. As more departments and data sources are added, the original cost saving tools simply become even more powerful and return even more cost savings, and we keep feuling the ability to create an ever growing set of custom tools for even more cost savings in new areas. Point being, other than any initial investment to get the ball rolling, done right, your organization should never see costs go up or productivity go down on an Industrial Metaverse solution.

Metaverse technology is not new, but we are still discovering we can use. As the technology evolution moves rapidly, these uses will keep emerging and evolving with it. We want to partner with organizations that wants to step confidently into this future and ride the wave of technology evolution. We’re already doing it with some clients successfully, and we’re already contributing to the evolution of these technologies so we’re not just using the latest and greatest in Metaverse and AI technology, we’re creating. It’s an exciting time, let us at Younite-AI, help you be a part of it!

About the Author:

Dave Papworth is the Creative Cultivator and Product Leader for Younite-AI. His career has taken him through multimedia, development, design, innovation, and ultimately Younite-AI.

While working in the advertising industry he led teams focused on technical innovation and how it can be leveraged for marketing campaigns and brand building platforms, creating forward-thinking projects that have been showcased at events like Googles Sandbox, and even recognized in Time Magazine as an “Invention of the Year”.

At Younite-AI, his focus is on building a team that can tackle any challenge, look beyond their boundaries, and grow the collaborative relationships we desire with our clients.