When many people hear the word “metaverse,” they immediately think of its applications in gaming, entertainment, and e-commerce. However, the “industrial metaverse” has the potential to offer substantial change to transform how people design, manufacture, and interact with physical entities across industries. What is the “industrial metaverse?” What potential may it offer?
What Is the Industrial Metaverse?
The term industrial metaverse may be used to describe metaverse technology deployed for industrial applications. It may apply to industries such as manufacturing, transportation, infrastructure, supply chain operations, and building.
Built on Digital Twins
Many of the industrial applications of the metaverse are built on digital twin technology. A digital twin is a virtual representation of real-world physical assets or systems. For example, it can be a virtual representation of a factory floor, supply chain, or an entire city.
Such virtual representations are not new. Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) have long used technology to create simulations of buildings and manufacturing operations. Metaverse technology expands this ability to create 3-D, fully immersive digital representations.
Examples of Manufacturing Applications
Digital twins may allow companies to create and test digital versions of a factory floor.
For example, Siemens designed its Nanjing, China facility using digital technologies. The entire factory floor was simulated with a digital twin, which helped to optimize the building, and to detect and mitigate potential problems before the physical factory was built. According to their website, this process helped to increase manufacturing capacity by 200% and productivity by 20%.
Likewise, BMW created a digital twin of its production plant in Bavaria before building the physical facility.
The use of digital twins can equally apply to a product. Boeing is using digital twin technology to design its airplanes. Using the technology, Boeing can simulate how the aircraft may perform in different environments and scenarios it may encounter. It also enables Boeing to analyze how the airplane and its parts will perform over its lifetime.
Digital versions of cities may also be created to study things such as traffic flow, energy efficiency, and the impact of environmental factors such as sea level rise and temperature change.
Digital Human Twins
Digital humans can also be created to test how real human bodies would respond ergonomically and efficiency-wise to new workflows.
Next Wave in Training
Metaverse technology may also be used in industrial training.
For example, one maker of welding equipment uses virtual reality (VR) to train workers to use its products. Trainees don VR headsets to do virtual welds. They get immediate feedback on their welds and can reset the virtual system to continue training. This saves the cost of wasted materials that physical training creates.
The use of VR is also used in medical training where procedures can be practiced digitally.
The Metaverse May Change the Face of Industry
Metaverse technology has the potential to transcend the usual use cases in gaming and entertainment and change the way that business is conducted, even in industrial settings.
 What is the Industrial Metaverse – and Why Should I Care, Siemens website, Retrieved 2/24/23
 The Industrial Metaverse: A Game Changer for Operational Technology, MIT Technology Review website, Retrieved 2/24/23
 Bellamy, Woodrow, Boeing CEO Talks “Digital Twin” Era of Aviation, Avionics International, 9/14/18
 Dotson, KYT, How the Industrial Metaverse Will Transform Manufacturing, Silicon Angle, 12/24/22
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