130 I NT E R V I EW The metaverse: a transformative technology AVEVA’s Simon Bennet predicts how the industrial metaverse will evolve and why it could improve supply chain management, design processes, collaboration and more BY R E B E CCA G I B SON Described as an immersive, 3D virtual world where an infinite number of people can interact with a computergenerated environment and other users, the metaverse has been touted as having the power to transform how we socialise, shop, game, work and more. However, many analysts have predicted that the biggest potential of metaverse lies with critical sectors such as industrial manufacturing where it could be used to solve design, operational, supply chain management and other real-world challenges. Industrial software provider AVEVA already has more than 100,000 physical sites using its software, giving it a head start on building the industrial metaverse. AVEVA’s global head of research Simon Bennet shares how the firm expects the industrial metaverse to evolve, what technologies will be involved, and suggests possible applications that could improve how the sector operates. How does AVEVA see the industrial metaverse evolving? In some ways, the much-hyped industrial metaverse represents older-than-a-decade technology that is being presented in new hardware. However, the industrial metaverse is all about the digital twin (from birth throughout its extended life), the data (artificial intelligence-infused and first principlesenhanced), and the experience (seamlessly traversing desktops, mobile devices and wearables via 5G and wi-fi). With these three elements, the industrial metaverse is a natural layer that organisations can deploy on top of their existing digital infrastructure to futureproof their businesses. AVEVA sees the industrial metaverse as a persistent virtual environment that allows live collaboration across teams, is deviceagnostic, open to the full gamut of data sources and delivers role-based access to real-time operations, data streams and engineering data. The wide-ranging application of this technology is why we’re working with partners such as Microsoft to make the industrial metaverse concept a reality. What role could the industrial metaverse play? Today’s industrial metaverse solves real challenges in the design-operate-optimise asset life cycle like never before – and in a manner that helps preserve our Earth’s natural resources, while opening up new value and opportunities for industrial brands in dynamic economic conditions. We offered a preview of how the industrial metaverse could work at AVEVAWorld in San Francisco, California, USA, in November 2022. Delegates saw how easy it is to create and deploy an industrial metaverse, how engineering companies can use the technology to speed up design reviews, and how operators can use the industrial metaverse to improve on-site optimisation and better manage operational issues.