The writing has been on the wall for many years. Digital technologies and the digitization of social media, primarily through the groundbreaking work of Facebook, now Meta Platforms, have led investors and technologists to look into the next disruptive platform after the internet. The result has been efforts to digitally recreate and integrate the physical, industrial and social worlds as we know them, into what is known as the Metaverse.
Enter the Metaverse
According to Wikipedia, the Metaverse is a hypothetical iteration of the Internet as a single, universal, and immersive virtual world facilitated by the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets. A metaverse is therefore a network of three-dimensional virtual worlds centered through a commercial, industrial or social connection.
Today, the development of the metaverse is closely linked and integrated with the advancement of virtual reality technology due to the increasing demands for immersion. Recent interest in metaverse development is also influenced by Web3, a concept for a decentralized iteration of the Internet.
Some components of the metaverse have already been developed within online video games. The 2003 Second Life virtual world platform is often described as the first metaverse, as it incorporated many aspects of social media into a persistent three-dimensional world with the user represented as an avatar.
In 2019, Facebook launched a social VR world called Facebook Horizon. In 2021, Facebook was renamed Meta Platforms and its chairman Mark Zuckerberg declared the company’s commitment to developing a metaverse. However, many virtual reality technologies announced by Meta Platforms have yet to be developed.
Digital twins in parallel
Along with the above, digital technologies i.e. Internet of Things, Data Feeds, Predictive Behavior Modeling, Analytics, Big Data, Connectivity, Cloud, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality , have also made it possible to recreate industrial products, processes and factories. into their digital counterparts, called digital twins.
According to Wikipedia, a digital twin is therefore a virtual representation that serves as a real-time digital counterpart to a physical object or process. Digital twins are the result of continuous improvement in the creation of product design and engineering activities.
The digital twin concept consists of three distinct parts: the physical product, the virtual digital product and the connections between the two products. The connections between the physical product and the virtual product are data that flows from the physical product to the virtual product and information that is available from the virtual product to the physical environment.
Convergence of two worlds
The integration of digital twins into the metaverse accelerates the digital recreation of real-world objects, including industrial and associated ecosystems, and brings them into the various metaverses, which will soon flourish. In other words, digital twins are at the center of where the physical world and the virtual world collide and converge today.
While the metaverse can help create virtual worlds and experiences beyond current dreams, it also has a commercial use case of reconstructing digital replicas of real industrial and physical objects and systems. In the coming days we will likely see investments in building replicas of all real-life assets, what we can call the meta-tag.
By integrating digital twins into a metaverse, many of the positive functions of digital twins can be leveraged across the entire industrial metaverse ecosystem.
Perks inside the Metaverse
A digital twin is a fully functional virtual copy of a real system. It combines datasets from multiple sources, from design data to Internet of Things data. Feeding this data into digital twin software built on a real-time 3D platform can create a digital system to simulate the behavior of a physical system, just as it would behave in the real world.
A digital twin is used throughout the lifecycle of a product or infrastructure project, from research, production, construction, training and maintenance. It provides a single source of truth across every department, from design to training to marketing.
A digital twin can reduce time to market by 20% and reduce costs by up to 25%. Having better designs from the start pays dividends over the life of a project, as 80-90% of the costs incurred during plant production, use and maintenance are determined at the design stage.
Once a product is manufactured or a project is completed, design teams have little visibility into the actual use of their creations and whether the actual behavior follows the initial design.
A digital twin bridges this gap between the design team and the user of the product or system in real time, giving them access to information. This information can help design better products and remotely update and upgrade existing products and services.
Use cases in the metaverse
The convergence of digital twins and metaverse platforms is expected to bring benefits across multiple industries through prediction, monitoring, tracking, resource management, allocation, optimization, and quality control.
This has significant potential in many sectors, including fabrication shops, medical services, automotive design and production, retail and e-commerce platforms, smart architecture and urban design, and the internet. industrial objects.
The next step in integrating metaverse and digital twin platforms is integrating more advanced tools for data generation, insight generation, and predictive behavior. This includes 3D vision cameras, computer vision, stereo depth cameras, object cameras, 4K color cameras, and real-time 3D data generators; high speed computing platforms and data toolkits; control systems for industrial robotic equipment; blockchain, machine learning and artificial intelligence platforms.
With these systems, it is possible to reconstruct the actions of real-world objects and predict their performance and actions. The convergence of metaverse and digital twin platforms allows us to build predictive design and construction strategies using various world-class products, avoiding the likelihood of making costly mistakes.
A more connected future with a unified virtual and human world is the next logical expectation.
Bhaskar Raman is the Head of Regional Business Unit at Omnix Engineering
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