How the Metaverse will influence the manufacturing sector
Ramya Kannan, Industry Leader – Manufacturing at UST
The future will include new immersive forms of team collaboration and even new digital, AI-enabled colleagues or bots. The right technologies will help manufacturers transform and benefit from this shift.
Ramya Kannan, Industry Leader – Manufacturing at UST
The Metaverse is revolutionizing the digital experience and opening up immense possibilities for various industries. The market and revenue opportunities would be close to $800 billion globally in 2024. Powered by advanced technology, it offers a unique appeal of a decentralized ecosystem that empowers consumers to create and drive their online experience per their individual preferences. It is time for businesses to take notice and strategically develop to meet these experience expectations. Yet to be fully functional, we see how the Metaverse is fast becoming a reality with the use of innovative technologies along with compact self-sustained, and user-friendly devices. It is the perfect time to plan and stay ahead of the competition.
The potential of the Metaverse in manufacturing
The Metaverse will transform how people interact with each other and with data. It could lead to an innovative internet and intranet for companies that encompass a variety of technologies like virtual reality headsets, 3D modeling tools, haptic feedback, and more immersive digital experiences for their employees and customers. Let's look at how these technologies and immersive interactions can impact industrial and manufacturing operations and drive better customer and employee experiences.
Better customer experience
- Furniture manufacturers can offer customers an immersive experience with their websites where customers can design their living spaces and find furniture and fixtures that appeal to them. Renovation projects can use immersive experiences for design sessions. Users can interact with the design and layout of interiors in houses, hotels, restaurants, and offices before purchasing.
- Companies could get an accurate 3D virtual representation of the plant or facility along with the production lines for the manufacturing of different products.
- Real estate developers, home buyers, site engineers and manufacturing companies can verify progress at construction sites and try modeling different scenarios for layouts and modifications before making decisions using immersive technologies.
- With haptics, 3D technology, and virtualization, customers and businesses can engage in product design sessions from anywhere in the world. Hybrid working teams can collaborate on new product development, find the right manufacturer, and look at innovative designs and functionality.
- Contract manufacturers can offer their clients virtual experiences to look at production lines and products create, review progress on orders and get intel to manage their demand-supply planning.
- Realtors can create very realistic tours of properties to enable remote views and decisions. Hotels and offices can offer real-time virtual tours to customers to experience their spaces. Cruise lines and tour operators can give their customers an immersive experience of potential tour packages that may enhance purchase propensity.
- Collaboration in areas like the industrial design could be a transformative experience where distributed teams use the interactive and immersive experiences offered by the Metaverse. Designers, as well as suppliers, could meet in virtual spaces to discuss ideas and explore 3D representations of their design or the integration of components.
Enhanced employee experience
The metaverse will reshape the world of work. The future will include new immersive forms of team collaboration and even new digital, AI-enabled colleagues or bots. Training, skills acquisition and learning will be accelerated through virtualization and gamified technologies. In short, it will offer endless possibilities to rethink the office and work environment.
- The Metaverse would change employee onboarding and training significantly. Immersive experiences would help new hires understand the company, the business, vision, mission, philosophies, values, products and services easier and better. Several companies in the industrial and manufacturing space have begun or are planning to train employees on using and maintaining equipment through VR headsets instead of physical equipment that could be dangerous or difficult to use during training. The Metaverse can quickly help new employees set up in the work environment, including configuring devices, getting HR, payroll and finance avatars set up, getting help in troubleshooting, and understanding policies and procedures.
- A combination of new mechanical and digital technologies is making manufacturing increasingly complex. As a result, enterprises need to train and retrain their workforce; immersive experiences will make training new and current employees easier. Experiential learning is beneficial to learning how to operate machinery, build models, perform computations, use equipment, review scenarios and understand concepts. It can combine VR with learning theory, data science, and spatial design, improving the learning experience. As mentioned above, on-the-job training with heavy equipment or dangerous environments can be risky for new hires. In a VR-driven training world, trainees also benefit from making mistakes without real-world consequences.
- Monitoring production equipment, server farms, processes, and troubleshooting machinery becomes more manageable using immersive experiences. Like in training, employees don't need to go into risky work zones physically. They now use the digital twins of physical and virtual environments to handle any break-fixes of equipment, remediate malfunctions, and adjust instruments to the right specifications. The Metaverse will also allow them to oversee the quality of output from production lines, fix issues in the pipeline, manage quality and focus on outcomes.
- Digital twins, or detailed virtual replicas of physical products and scenarios, are highly analytical tools that use mathematical models to simulate the real-world plant or product. This visualization uses real-time data feeds from IoT devices and sensors and proactively creates “what if” analyses and simulations to predict performance. All these will help manufacturing personnel make better decisions.
- Along with facilitating enterprises, manufacturers can enhance consumer decision-making too. For example, automotive manufacturers focus on using the Metaverse to allow prospective buyers to get a “feel” for the product and even configure cars to their tastes and needs. With these enabling “experiences,” simulating and visualizing, and modeling, manufacturers can significantly minimize expensive rework and get things right the first time. Manufacturing in the Metaverse promises to bring down the time to value, cost, and the risk of faulty decision-making.
Get ready for the future of manufacturing
With endless possibilities, the metaverse is here to stay, and companies will benefit from embracing it sooner than later. They should prioritize investing in technologies and platforms that will help them adapt to future changes as this new landscape evolves. These would include vital technologies like the digital twins that will be a central component of the industrial metaverse.
Companies should continue to expand their use of cloud technologies, a necessity for every industrial business. Changing paradigms of work environments, the pace of change, and the needs of the Gen Z workforce demand companies keep abreast of advances in virtual reality, augmented reality, distributed ledgers, and virtual marketplaces. Manufacturers should look at the right use cases that give them the best returns to benefit from this shift. Read the eBook to see how implementing metaverse solutions can help you stay ahead of disruptions.