One of the buzzwords of 2022 was the Metaverse, mainly driven by the change of Facebook into Meta. This virtual realm is seen as a potential future for many industries, including manufacturing. After the interesting discussions and conversations with people on my previous blog on that topic, some asked me how we see it 1 year later, and mainly how we see this develop in the context of the manufacturing industry. In this blog we describe our take on the development and future of Digital Twins in the Industrial Metaverse.
One player in this space is Nvidia, with their Omniverse platform. This year they showed the world what the Industrial Metaverse could look like, with impressive marketing videos and images. However, the real value in the Industrial Metaverse would lie in the complexity of the models and their interactions, simulations, and emulations. Building these models was and is still a daunting task, and a single platform approach is not enough.
What is needed are standards, ways for different models and systems to connect and work together. Nvidia pushes for the adoption of their Universal Scene Description format, but they are not alone. Other contenders, such as FMI/FMU and AML, are also trying to push a standard which could help to realize an Industrial Metaverse. In the end, it doesn’t matter who wins the “battle” of the standards, as long as the data formats are compatible and allowed for the creation of valuable Digital Twins.
The Industrial Metaverse can be seen as a sandbox, a way to connect multiple Digital Twins and allow for human interaction through technologies like AR/VR/XR. We predict that in the coming years, there will be multiple sandboxes operating alongside each other, and it would be helpful if they could be connected. The focus, however, should be on building useful digital twins, driven by clear use cases.
As more and more companies begin to work with Digital Twins, the desire to connect them to each other and to connect humans to them will only grow. The validation of Digital Twins and their use cases is crucial, and humans are the intermediaries to ensure they remain accurate and relevant. The further development of the Industrial Metaverse depends on the feedback provided by humans, and the success of the Industrial Metaverse will rely on collaboration between companies in the Digital Twin field.
The technology is getting there, and the initiatives and will are in place. All the ingredients are present for the Industrial Metaverse to emerge in the coming years. The business value of Digital Twins in software solutions is already being recognized, and use cases like virtual prototyping, virtual commissioning, dashboarding, and training are already providing value for a lot of companies. As these use cases continue to prove their worth, more and more companies are expected to adopt Digital Twins and the Industrial Metaverse.
The question is not if the Industrial Metaverse will emerge, but when. We predict that in the next few years, the Industrial Metaverse will become a reality, transforming the way companies in the manufacturing industry work together.
We will keep following the future development of the Industrial Metaverse and look forward to giving you an updated opinion in 2023.