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Understanding how immersive mixed reality will power the metaverse for manufacturers

Feb. 2, 2022
Companies will build immersive virtual spaces, aka metaverses that will employees to virtually collaborate.

By Dijam Panigrahi, co-founder and COO of GridRaster Inc.

The way manufacturers utilize technology for everyday tasks is set to undergo one of the most drastic evolutions ever. Just a few short years ago it was nearly impossible to think any technology could have a greater impact than networked computers, the internet or even mobile computing. But now, immersive mixed reality powering the metaverse is challenging just that.

How companies will leverage digital twins

Today’s IT leaders are building the metaverse—a virtual world where people, consumers, workers all gather to communicate, collaborate, and share through a virtual presence on any device. This means companies will build immersive virtual spaces, aka metaverses that will employees to virtually collaborate using their digital twin through chats, email, video calls and even “face-to-face” meetings.

Well-known companies like Microsoft, Accenture and Facebook, which itself is now called Meta, are all paving the way toward this new reality of business, but there are companies working behind the scenes building immersive reality, modeling and simulation technologies that will ultimately power this new metaverse.

What companies can do with the metaverse

Microsoft, in particular, believes individuals will engage with one another in an immersive experience once they can co-exist in a virtual setting where they exist as avatars, perhaps even one day as holograms. The company expects people to access virtual settings from its Mesh for Teams application through mixed-reality headsets like HoloLens, as well as everyday smartphones and laptops.

In one of the earlier enterprise-level buildouts, Accenture has been developing a virtual campus where its employees meet for coffee, parties, presentations and other virtual events. The company also leverages this virtual meeting space when onboarding new employees so they can build their virtual twins.

Modelling is at the center of powering the metaverse

In this virtual metaverse, digital twins based on modeling and simulation play a leading role. Simulation enables companies to take copies of the digital twin, run simulations on it, and then identify optimizations that are too complex to find by monitoring the physical environment alone.

The power of simulation will be a game-changer for enterprises and businesses throughout the metaverse in a variety of industries—think optimizing production planning in the automotive sector, accelerating design in the aerospace industry, improving overall production efficiency for manufacturers, and increasing accuracy for consumer-packaged-goods companies. Many companies are poised to leverage virtual simulation to make better business decisions and generate the greatest return on investment. Perhaps you are one of them.

Optimum immersive-reality systems are needed to support ultra-realistic, high-fidelity digital-twin visuals during the modeling and simulation process—precise fusion of the virtual on real world in a multi-platform environment and the ability to demonstrate a variety of realistic environments. 

Metaverse is a new kind of application that is enabled by tight integration between real and virtual worlds. Metaverse is enabled by a multitude of new technologies that can be categorized in five groups: 

  1. Communications and computing infrastructure:  Metaverse will need to perform large scale compute-heavy tasks, and access large databases to merge the real and virtual world.
  2. Management technology: Metaverse will require resources like energy, compute, etc. This layer manages and allocates most optimum resources to run metaverse. 
  3. Fundamental common technology: AI, Spatio-Temporal consistency are fundamental common technology for metaverse. 
  4. Virtual reality object connection: Metaverse will create 1:1 connections between real and virtual-world objects and technologies like blockchain; identity modeling will enable that. 
  5. Virtual reality space convergence: Metaverse will fundamentally need a new medium to interact. AR/VR/MR, BCI, gaming technologies will enable this.     

Immersive reality solution-providers offer the following foundational technologies to run industrial enterprise metaverse: 

1: Virtual reality space convergence: AR/VR: 

Ultra-low latency, high-fidelity rendering: Low latency is extremely critical to provide an immersive experience in metaverse. AR/VR partners provide unparalleled realism of environments by leveraging ultra-low latency remote rendering on cloud/on premise in full fidelity and wirelessly streaming the solution to affordable commercial-off-the-shelf devices—HMD, tablet and desktop.

High-precision 3D AI-based spatial mapping: Uses high-fidelity remote spatial mapping with high-fidelity 3D scene reconstruction, scene segmentation and 3D object recognition using 3D vision and deep-learning-based AI with precise fusion of the real and virtual worlds to merge real world and virtual worlds.

2: Communications and computing infrastructure:

Cloud computing/edge computing: Industrial enterprises will always subscribe to multi-cloud, edge cloud. Depending on different factors like data sensitivity, latency, cost, different parts of the metaverse need to be run at different clouds/edge in a distributed manner. AR/VR partners automate running the metaverse for industrial enterprises. 

Messaging framework: In the distributed applications there is a need to update the metaverse at global scale so users can collaborate seamlessly. AR/VR partners have messaging framework updates distributed to the metaverse at global scale. 

Fundamental common technology: Security and privacy are among the biggest issues. Since metaverse has the digital twin as an integral part, the metaverse will have much richer data. The security and privacy in metaverse cannot be solved by traditional security tools. AR/VR partners have built tools that handle security and privacy related to digital twins. 

The metaverse is going to be important for all businesses, enterprises and consumers. Today, people and employees can only experience the internet when they log on, but with new connectivity, devices and technologies powered by immersive mixed approaches, we’ll be able to experience the internet—and work with it—in unprecedented ways.