No, the metaverse isn’t the world inhabited by Mark Zuckerberg at Meta, the parent company of Facebook. Rather, metaverse is a mash-up of “meta” and “universe” that refers to an immersive, interactive Web 3.0 environment. This environment features elements like augmented reality, virtual reality, cryptocurrency, digital twins, and artificial intelligence.
Of course, the industrial sector stands to benefit immensely from the emerging metaverse. That especially applies to extended reality (XR), which involves augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR). XR is being coupled with Web 3.0, or the third generation of the internet, to help round out the industrial metaverse.
IndustryWeek offers five examples of how the industrial metaverse will evolve:
- Virtual factory tours
- Virtual presentations of products and services
- Payments via cryptocurrency, blockchain, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
- Stepped-up R&D collaboration
- Enhanced real-world customer experience
As the industrial metaverse grows, so, too, does tech spending. The Market Data Centre predicts the global metaverse market for industrial manufacturing will soar from $13.1 billion in 2021 to $341.4 billion by 2030.
We’re already seeing the industrial metaverse being populated. For instance, automaker BMW is collaborating with NVIDIA to develop a digital twin of a factory to simulate 31 factories. And aerospace giant Boeing is eyeing the industrial metaverse—tools such as immersive 3D tech, HoloLens headsets, and digital twins—to create the “factory of the future.”
Much of what will be available in the industrial metaverse is largely imagined at this point. In the energy sector, for example, the industrial metaverse could be employed in a number of ways, such as relying on a digital twin to detect changes on a wind turbineoperating hundreds or thousands of miles away.
But no matter what they sell, businesses in the industrial sector may be heading back to the future if they disregard the metaverse as merely child’s play with games like Batman: Arkham VR and Minecraft VR.