Unlocking the industrial metaverse: A blueprint for success

unlocking the industrial metaverse: a blueprint for success

Our study discovered that virtual research and development (R&D), prototyping, and testing was the most deployed use case for the industrial metaverse out of all use cases tested. Metaverse technologies enable more seamless collaboration on higher-fidelity design and testing processes, which significantly improves efficiency and safety as companies can continue to refine products more effectively before real-world production.

However, views differ between industries on the transformative impact of industrial metaverse use cases, hinting at their broad scope for positive disruption. For instance, respondents of our study from the transportation, supply chain, and logistics industries expected extended reality (XR)-enhanced user experience (UX) research, autonomous delivery robotics, visualized predictive maintenance, and virtual supply chain optimization to deliver transformative value over virtual R&D.

Technical applications aside, companies are also exploring the use of the metaverse for hands-on training to onboard and upskill employees. The high-fidelity training experiences made possible by XR technology enable employees to gain first-person experience in handling real-world scenarios without incurring any risk or requiring equipment. No travel or machine downtime is needed for training and new hires can experiment without fear of injury, leading to cost savings and improved outcomes.

Enabling the industrial metaverse

While the potential of the industrial metaverse is vast, enterprises need to have the right tools to leverage its capabilities. Despite overall optimism around the positive impact of the metaverse, some 50% of respondents in our study indicated that the availability and maturity of technical infrastructure were blockers preventing them from deploying metaverse use cases. Thus, enterprises must ensure that they are equipped with the necessary technical enablers to capitalize on this emerging technology.

5G networks enable a seamless virtual experience by delivering stable, ultra low-latency connectivity, which is a prerequisite for viable metaverse adoption. It is also necessary to utilize metaverse-adjacent technologies such as IoT sensors, AI, machine learning (ML) and VR/AR. Additionally, both cloud and edge computing are vital to any serious metaverse play; cloud computing enables massive quantities of data to be stored and processed, while edge computing ensures the data flow and processing can be completed at speed for a robust yet frictionless metaverse experience.

Many enterprises still lack internal proficiency on these Industry 4.0 technologies, much less the metaverse itself. As such, it is important for companies to select the right technology partners to build and integrate technical enablers so that they can effectively deploy and scale industrial metaverse use cases. A variety of partners are needed to meet different technical needs, but these can also differ depending on a company’s metaverse deployment stage. In our study, network providers ranked fifth most important for initial use case deployment, but 10th in driving advancement in the metaverse.

Next steps for the industrial metaverse

While the industrial metaverse is still very much in its infancy, it has already managed to deliver tangible value for early adopters, which makes it a very exciting prospect for enterprises.

There is no doubt that significant testing and exploring is still needed to unlock the true potential of the industrial metaverse. However, the signs are clear that it is poised to become an essential competitive advantage in the future. Thus, it is in the best business interests of companies to get a head start on this intrepid endeavor – especially as the digital revolution shifts into full throttle.

Companies who are just beginning their metaverse journey can make things more manageable by focusing on the requirements for and deploying a specific use case pilot first, while more seasoned players can begin preparing to scale, experimenting with new scopes and exploring ecosystem integration.

Stuart Hendry is the Head of Enterprise & Government, Nokia Asia Pacific & Japan.

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