Technology Record - Issue 30: Autumn 2023

144 VIEWPOINT The disruption-ready technology is beginning to take shape and is set to transform everything from operational processes to supply chains, health and safety, collaboration, employee training and more SIMON BENNETT: AVEVA Innovating with the industrial metaverse Businesses need innovative solutions to develop and maintain competitive advantages in the face of increasingly complex market conditions and growing sustainability pressures. Supply chain interruptions, labour shortages and inflationary pressures are affecting every level of the value chain. At the same time, regulators and consumers alike are demanding that businesses take concrete action towards net-zero targets. The industrial metaverse is emerging as a disruption-ready technology for businesses to navigate these challenges and create resilient, agile operations that proactively drive innovation at every level. In a recent Microsoft and AVEVA qualitative poll of industrial business leaders, nine per cent of respondents said they are already using the technology for day-to-day operations. However, 41 per cent expect to deploy the technology within the next two years, with the number doubling over a five-year period. What is the industrial metaverse? At AVEVA, we define this ground-breaking technology as an interconnected, immersive and persistent virtual universe where teams can interact with each other and digital objects in real time. It is a collective virtual environment that blurs the line between the physical and digital realms in an increasingly interconnected world. Often referred to as the “digital twin on steroids”, the industrial metaverse adds photorealistic visualisation, time-travel capabilities and a rich collaborative layer to existing technology. It is already possible to digitally recreate every conceivable physical entity. Now, these digital representations will be able to interact virtually in 3D, across geographies and back and forth in time (thanks to recording functionalities). We expect them to be device-agnostic in the same way that Microsoft Teams can be accessed on different equipment today. Industrial metaverse applications bring the power of virtual environments and augmented reality to real-world industrial processes. These applications broaden an asset’s operability beyond the limitations of its physical environment. In the process, they will help optimise efficiency, enable remote collaboration, facilitate data visualisation, enhance training and support better decisionmaking at every level. Microsoft values the addressable market of the industrial metaverse at $300 billion over the next few years. However, that does not include the consumer and enterprise metaverses, as Microsoft’s chief technology officer Jose Valls revealed during a recent webinar. Policymakers already understand and are acting on the importance of immersive digital “Industrial metaverse applications bring the power of virtual environments and augmented reality to real-world industrial processes”