Industrial Metaverse: The Role of VR/AR in Industrial Efficiency

Source: Shutterstock/Frame Stock Footage
Table of Contents

The industrial metaverse is a rapidly developing technology that aims to create a digital world that mimics real machines, factories, buildings, and entire cities and transportation systems. 

According to a recent report by Siemens, the industrial metaverse market is set to increase significantly, with a projected tenfold growth by 2030. This suggests that the industrial metaverse will become the dominant sector in new technology.

Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) technologies are at the forefront of this transformation, offering unprecedented ways to create a more efficient and streamlined manufacturing process and reduce the costs and risks associated with training, maintenance, and repair.

This article will explore the role of virtual and augmented reality in the industrial metaverse and how their integration can be scaled and utilized company-wide.

AR and VR in the Industrial Metaverse

The industrial metaverse is an advanced technological platform that integrates virtual and augmented reality technologies into one central location, providing employees with a highly immersive and interactive experience.

The integration of VR and AR into the industrial metaverse has a range of advantages, such as:

  • Improving safety,
  • Reducing errors and downtime,
  • Enhancing communication,
  • Increasing productivity.

However, certain challenges need to be taken into account, including:

  • The need for specialized hardware and software,
  • The cost of implementing these technologies,
  • The training required for employees to use them effectively.

Many successful case studies demonstrate the potential of VR and AR integration in the industrial sector. Some well-known companies, such as Sephora, IKEA, Airbus, and Nike, have already implemented AR technology in their e-commerce strategies.

Video source: YouTube/Microsoft HoloLens

Additionally, Germany remains a pioneer in adopting VR technology in the automotive industry. In particular, Volkswagen has successfully reduced design costs through virtual prototyping. 

Scaling VR/AR with the Industrial Metaverse

Many industrial companies are turning to the industrial metaverse to streamline their VR and AR applications to stay ahead of the game.

By bundling all these applications into one central location, employees can easily access and utilize them to speed up work processes, improve quality results, and reduce the use of real resources, resulting in cost savings.

However, for the Industrial metaverse to be genuinely successful, VR and AR need to be implemented and scaled throughout the entire company, allowing for seamless access and use. 

This requires that all employees have access to the applications they need, whenever and wherever they need them.

Extended reality (XR) app streaming is the best way to achieve this.

XR app streaming is a hardware and software-independent approach that consistently transmits all assets in full detail via cloud or local server rendering, making it a highly secure and effective solution.

It also ensures a “single source of truth” approach for 3D assets and user management, providing maximum data security.

With the industrial metaverse, companies can control and scale their VR and AR content, ensuring the viability of their digital future. Furthermore, by leveraging the industrial metaverse, industrial companies can maintain a competitive edge by staying ahead of the technological curve. 

Enabling VR and AR for Widespread Collaboration

As time passes, the industrial metaverse is expected to develop into a digital space where coworkers can collaborate, plan, and meet virtually, in addition to their physical workplace.

One of the major advantages of the industrial metaverse is that it allows for the widespread implementation of VR and AR throughout the entire company, making all XR applications and files accessible and usable by all employees who have the necessary permissions.

This company-wide integration of VR and AR is key to unlocking the total capacity of these technologies. It can even lead to converting entire work processes to metaverse technology.

As mentioned, the automotive industry provides a great example of how the industrial metaverse can transform engineering processes. Employees can work collaboratively from anywhere in the world by creating 3D models of prototype components and using VR or AR to visualize and test them.

One benefit of this approach is that it removes the necessity for expensive and time-consuming physical prototypes.

With the industrial metaverse, the prototyping process is significantly shortened, saving money and improving the process’s quality through true-to-scale 3D visualization.

This also makes it possible to prototype small or large series with a high degree of variation, all while using fewer or no real resources. 

Accelerating the Metaverse with High-Speed VR/AR Networks

The quality of networks will be a crucial factor for the success of the industrial metaverse. Virtual reality experiences require high-speed fixed networks to work properly. In contrast, augmented reality is related to mobile network performance.

For AR to reach its full potential, it will require 5G-advanced networks, which will become available around 2025.

The metaverse of the future will combine VR, AR, and other technologies to become an extended reality that is part of everyday life. This will require the evolution of fixed and mobile networks.

The metaverse is already generating a lot of traffic, and the impact on IP traffic is set to escalate over the next two years. The four main drivers of a metaverse experience are:

  1. Applications,
  2. Platforms,
  3. Access devices, 
  4. Networks.

How each of these drivers evolves will influence the metaverse’s evolution speed. High-speed networks providing ultra-low latency for seamless streaming of hyper-realistic 3D graphics will be necessary to create the industrial metaverse. 

Advancing the Industrial Metaverse with AR and VR

Despite the potential benefits of the industrial metaverse, some industries are not fully embracing this technological advancement. In fact, funding for Web3 start-ups fell 74% in the final quarter of last year.

Meanwhile, Big Tech companies like Apple and Microsoft are investing heavily in AR technology because they see it as a future-proof technology with numerous and well-defined use cases across several industries, including gaming and military training.

Although some may think that their interest in AR indicates an interest in the still vague and underdeveloped concept of a metaverse, their focus is really on AR and VR technologies.

The AR infrastructure being built by Big Tech could pave the way for future metaverse-like applications.

For smaller players in the Web3 space, this presents a maturing and more flexible environment focused on solving real-world problems and enhancing the experiences and interactions of old industries or services.

Ultimately, the partnership between Big Tech’s proficiency in creating AR infrastructure and Web3’s aptitude for developing novel software products, services, and applications has the potential to impact various aspects of our daily routines.

VR & AR in the Industrial Metaverse: Key Takeaways

The industrial metaverse, which aims to replicate real machines, factories, and cities in a digital world, relies on virtual and augmented reality technologies.

The integration of VR and AR in the industrial metaverse offers numerous benefits, such as:

  • Improved safety,
  • Reduced errors and downtime,
  • Enhanced communication,
  • Increased productivity.

However, challenges such as the cost of implementing these technologies and training employees to use them effectively need to be considered.

As hardware costs decrease and software capabilities improve, AR/VR technology adoption is expected to increase further in the coming years.

We invite you to imagine the possibilities and explore how these technologies can transform your business.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep up-to-date with the latest developments in artificial intelligence and the metaverse with our weekly newsletter. Subscribe now to stay informed on the cutting-edge technologies and trends shaping the future of our digital world.

Neil Sahota
Neil Sahota (萨冠军) is an IBM Master Inventor, United Nations (UN) Artificial Intelligence (AI) Advisor, author of the best-seller Own the AI Revolution and sought-after speaker. With 20+ years of business experience, Neil works to inspire clients and business partners to foster innovation and develop next generation products/solutions powered by AI.