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The Impact of Metaverse Emergence on Industrial Manufacturing
January 11, 2024 News


Written by: Mohammad Al Amin Mohd Jahaya, Journalist, AOPG.

The concept of the metaverse is not new, as it has been around since 1938. However, it is only recently that it entered the mainstream, popularised by the entertainment industry (movies, etc.) and Meta’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

Even though metaverse technology is still in its infancy, it is expected to revolutionise industries through the merging of physical and virtual worlds. It is also predicted that the metaverse will elevate customers’ experience and optimise business operations.

However, since the metaverse is still in its early stages, there are many doubts and confusion as to how it can be effectively employed in businesses.

Emon Zaman, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, at AVEVA, knows, and he shared with Disruptive Tech News exactly how the metaverse will revolutionise the way businesses operate—particularly in industrial manufacturing.

The Integration of the Metaverse Into Industrial Manufacturing

According to Zaman, the metaverse can be integrated into industrial manufacturing as remote decision support, utilising real-time data to monitor the conditions of industrial facilities or keep track of raw materials’ arrival in the manufacturing line via GPS tracking.

In addition to that, manufacturers will be able to use real-time data to make process-based decisions to optimise their manufacturing facilities—improving their reliability, enhancing product quality, and reducing operation costs in the process.

Through mobile devices or any external connections, the information can then be delivered to end users at any time and location, eliminating the need to be physically presence onsite. This enables manufacturers to focus their efforts elsewhere, such as networking with potential investors or buyers that will provide them with resources to scale their business.

Metaverse Benefits for Industrial Manufacturing

Whether it is industrial manufacturing or any other business, technology adoption will help improve reliability, profitability, safety, and sustainability. To that end, Zaman shared an example of how the metaverse can be tied to safety and reliability in industrial manufacturing:

A lot of use cases involving industrial metaverse in our industry [industrial manufacturing] could be around using three-dimensional models, for example, to train and improve employees’ awareness on how to run facilities. So, this is geared toward safety and reliability.”

The industrial metaverse will allow manufacturers to utilise real-time data to optimise operation performance and resiliency. For example, manufacturers will have the capability to build out shop floors in the metaverse for demo and testing to detect and correct errors without disrupting ongoing production or incurring unnecessary risks.

On top of the benefit Zaman highlighted, the metaverse is presently being utilised by companies like Boeing, Nike, and Gucci to enhance the efficiency and productivity of their design team through real-time collaboration in a simulated environment. This ability enables said companies to save billions in R&D.

Challenges in Adopting Metaverse for Industrial Manufacturing

This all begs the question: How hard—or easy—would it be for industrial manufacturers to adopt and deploy the metaverse as part of operations?

According to Zaman, the industrial world in general is slow to adopt new technologies. This is because it involves changing standard operation procedures and critical infrastructure that both employers and employees have been familiar with for many years. The adoption, therefore, will happen gradually, and this is the reason for the slower adoption rate for new technology in this sector.

Moreover, there are rules and regulations, such as safety and health standards, along with considerations regarding intellectual property rights that must be adhered to before adopting a new technology like the industrial metaverse.

Besides adhering to regulations and scale considerations, scepticism is also one of the challenges in adopting the metaverse. Since this innovation is still relatively new, it has not been widely employed in other verticals. Hence, there are very few records or evidence of its successful implementation.

There is also a security aspect that needs to be considered as well—in particular, the security of data and other digital assets. One of the most pressing concerns regarding the metaverse is data tracking and profiling. All activities and data uploaded onto the metaverse will be recorded to enhance future experiences. While this action aims to improve users’ future experiences, it also creates new vulnerabilities that can exploited by cybercriminals. This could lead to a scenario where digital assets are stolen, or important data is held for ransom.

These are the reasons why manufacturers are still reluctant to invest in metaverse technology. Then, there is the skills gap involved.

The Skills Gap Problem in Implementing the Industrial Metaverse

Given that metaverse is a next-generation technology, there will likely be skill gaps in terms of data and AI knowledge, as well as adaptability and learning agility. These gaps can disrupt the productivity of the manufacturing line and will necessitate extra resources if they are to be adequately resolved. These gaps stem from differences in generations and varying educational backgrounds.

To this end, Zaman explained that to efficiently and effectively adopt the industrial metaverse, manufacturers need to prepare a comprehensive strategy in relation to retraining and upskilling employees and changing business processes along the way.

The skills gap issue, along with the other challenges enumerated previously, is why manufacturers will need technology assistance from solution providers such as AVEVA.

In particular, a trusted and expert ERP provider such as AVEVA will facilitate seamless data integration, enhancing data sharing capacity and improving decision-making and operational efficiency within the virtual environments of the metaverse. Data integration, in turn, streamlines and optimises workflow, ultimately improving overall efficiency.

AVEVA, Lending Helping Hands to Enterprises in Industrial Manufacturing

AVEVA is one of the world’s leading industrial solutions providers, used and trusted by over 20,000 companies across the world—including Petronas Malaysia, which is currently using the AVEVA PI System equipped with predictive analytic solutions to help with asset reliability decisions for their oil and gas supply chain.

This collaboration has been very successful according to Zaman. As a result, AVEVA and Petronas Malaysia are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding to not only further deepen their collaboration, but also to make every solution AVEVA has offered to Petronas Malaysia commercially available around the globe.

This initiative solidifies AVEVA’s pivotal role in implementing metaverse integration within the industrial landscapes. AVEVA’s extensive experience in diverse industrial sectors has aided in comprehending the intricacies that are unique to each sector. This expertise enables AVEVA to customise its implementation of digital twin and user experience specific to various industrial sectors.