Research analysts at GlobalData, an analytics firm based in London, expect the metaverse to be at least a 600 billion dollar opportunity within the next 8 years. Their recent analysis finds that the metaverse and its underlying technologies will have a huge impact on the manufacturing industry in particular, with vast changes expected over the coming decade.
Facilitating Design with Digital Twins
Many manufacturing companies are already beginning to use AR and VR technology—including digital twins—to improve efficiency, accuracy, and facilitate problem solving. Vehicle manufacturers especially have started using these to help with their daily operations. For example, recent initiatives from both Bentley and BMW are making use of NVIDIA’s Omniverse platform to create digital twins of their manufacturing facilities, rapidly speeding up production capabilities and streamlining their workflows. Specifically, these digital twins have been used to train new staff and test new production methods without the need for physical interaction or substantial costs.
Elsewhere, Boeing and Microsoft are allegedly collaborating using gaming engines and VR to conceptualize and design aircraft in a virtual environment to prevent manufacturing issues and improve engineering. Defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin are alsos utilizing AR tech, and believe it could have profound effects on the efficiency and accuracy of their production. Currently, many of these processes are in their prototype stages, but they’re already demonstrably improving workflows and efficiency across manufacturing sectors—with the potential to have an even bigger impact as the technology develops in the coming years.
Covid as the Catalyst
The pandemic has also been a key driver in the uptake of AR and VR technology in manufacturing, as well as other industries. The need for social distancing has led thousands of companies to turn to remote working and virtual collaboration in order to keep their businesses running. This is likely to be a key area of growth for the metaverse in manufacturing, as companies seek to find new ways of working that are both efficient and safe. The move to remote work has been a major challenge for many companies, but it has also resulted in a number of opportunities for those with the right technologies in place. The metaverse is one such technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way we work, learn, and socialize—offering a way for people to connect and collaborate in a virtual space.
As the world has returned to normal, it’s clear that there is still a greater desire for remote working than ever before. The metaverse provides a way for people to stay connected and productive, without the need to physically be in the same place. The possibilities for transformation of multiple industries, including manufacturing, are endless—and the potential for the metaverse to radically alter the ways we live and work is unprecedented.