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What Is the Industrial Metaverse that Dynamics 365 Is Embracing?

Posted by Alanna Friedberg on Nov 21, 2023 10:00:00 AM

INDUSTRIAL METAVERSEThe term “metaverse” has become synonymous with gaming and virtual reality in recent years. It’s hard for a lot of people to understand how to apply the concept to everyday life in a practical way. It helps to think of the metaverse as a movement versus a specific market niche. The industrial metaverse leverages immersive technology in the cloud to redefine how people and machines work together. Microsoft looks to embrace the promise of the industrial metaverse to improve how the world functions.  

Understanding the Industrial Metaverse

The industrial metaverse blends aspects of the physical and physical world. It accelerates manufacturing, field service, and engineering efficiency by enabling real-time connectivity and collaboration within industrial environments. Microsoft views the industrial metaverse as a transformative catalyst to spur innovation in the workplace.

It allows people to bring immersive experiences into various industry aspects, empowering millions worldwide. Examples include using remote operational technology and simulations to enhance process monitoring. Microsoft’s vision of the industrial metaverse focuses on improving people’s ability to come up with proactive solutions and interact with machines from a safe distance.

The industrial metaverse is more than just a virtual reality environment or a science fiction simulation in a movie. It pushes beyond visualization into creating an interconnected virtual environment, allowing users to immerse themselves in artificial intelligence (AI) and data.

Microsoft’s View of the Metaverse

Microsoft breaks the metaverse down into three separate domains.

1. Consumer Metaverse

Many have experienced this by interacting with technologies like Bitcoin, blockchain, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The consumer metaverse focuses on entertaining individuals and improving their overall well-being.

2. Commercial Metaverse

Here, employees find innovative ways to work together and achieve organizational goals. Microsoft already has spaces like Microsoft Teams and Mesh accessible from a PC and virtual reality/mixed reality headsets. It’s a way of building social capital within the workplace by supporting the ability of employees to collaborate regardless of their physical location.

3. Industrial Metaverse

One of the past difficulties people encountered in manufacturing environments is the presence of knowledge silos. That meant insights that might have value to other groups, departments, or individuals ended up segmented away from other enterprise users who might benefit from the information.

The industrial metaverse shifts this dynamic by combining the power of various technologies. That positions organizations to deliver financial value, efficiency, and sustainability through process optimization, digital analysis, and AI predictions.

How Organizations Can Benefit from the Industrial Metaverse

As the industrial metaverse evolves and expands in scope, Microsoft continues to find new ways of making it a practical concept for industries like manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and energy. For example, the company sees the industrial metaverse as an ideal way to improve supply chain resiliency by improving visibility, increasing flexibility, and making contingency planning easier. Let’s examine how Microsoft makes this possible by shaping the industrial metaverse.

1. Combining IT and OT Data

Microsoft developed a common data foundation built on Azure Synapse Analytics. It interacts and syncs data pulled from physical, operational technology (OT), and digital information technology (IT) spaces. Enterprises have access to information that lets them make real-time decisions based on data. From there, they can optimize existing operational processes while developing new products, services, and experiences.

2. Internet of Things (IoT)

Azure IoT Hub uses IoT-based sensors to stream live OT data into Azure Data Lake. From there, businesses can use Azure Stream Analytics to continually analyze and optimize overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), quality, performance, and availability. Companies can also use stored data to perform historical research and simulate future scenarios. Leveraging the power of Azure Data Explore allows businesses to query and analyze large datasets.

3. Digital Twins

Digital twins are virtual models of physical objects. They contain sensors that collect real-time data to simulate an object’s behavior and monitor how it operates. Azure digital twins come in two different versions.

  • Operational twins — Provides organizations with different options for visualizing and interacting with physical systems, products, or processes. Companies can add data to view IT and OT relationships. That makes it easier for businesses to improve transparency, resiliency, and efficiency.
  • Simulation twins — Companies use simulation twins to create and test new products. After building these comprehensive 3D models, businesses can push simulation twins to production and create operational twins. Simulation twins are an excellent way to set up what-if scenarios that optimize operational twins. They also provide additional predictive analysis to study the effect of different changes and associated impacts.  

Empowering Frontline Workers

The area where the industrial metaverse can make an impact is in the lives of frontline workers. Manufacturers spend countless hours managing equipment downtime, which leads to lost profits. The ability to communicate quickly makes a huge difference in finding a speedy resolution or continuing to encounter frustrating roadblocks.

Dynamics 365 Guides uses industrial metaverse concepts to help workers connect regardless of location. Combined with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist With Teams, workers can talk to each other and find quick resolutions to pressing problems, including connecting with an expert to work out issues with malfunctioning equipment.

Putting Information in Context

Frontline workers rely on technical know-how, decision-making skills, and the ability to persist in difficult situations. Employers often run into issues using traditional on-site training methods. New employees may feel overwhelmed in such an environment. Providing hands-on training can quickly become expensive and time-consuming.  

Microsoft’s industrial metaverse allows companies to provide a mixed-reality training experience. New users get exposed to relevant, introductory task knowledge within an immersive, data-rich environment. Combining 3D models and digital twins helps frontline workers understand the inner workings of different machines and processes. They can immediately tap into relevant material and receive real-time updates, providing the most up-to-date knowledge.

Sharing Knowledge

Before employees retire or move on to new opportunities, the industrial metaverse allows companies to capture and share their experience and knowledge. That includes understanding the assets and processes that keep operations running. Using mixed reality to facilitate knowledge retention allows those skills and information to become accessible more quickly.

Explore the Microsoft Industrial Metaverse

Mixed reality, digital twins, and IoT are just a few ways Microsoft is leveraging technology within the industrial metaverse. Internet eBusiness Solutions (IES) guide organizations looking to transform how they conduct business in today’s digital environment. Learn more about how IES can help by contacting one of our experts.

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