The Industrial Metaverse Convergence with Consumers
How industrial companies can launch consumer goods in the metaverse using blockchain technologies. More stories on grocery robotics rivals, spin welding, and moving large machine tools.
Manufacturers Enter the Industrial Metaverse
Nike and Boeing try out the metaverse. Autonomous factories launch in space. Stellantis goes all in on software. NVIDIA launches manufacturing partnerships.
A Sketch of the Industrial Metaverse
The industrial metaverse is built on digital twin, extended reality, and blockchain technology. NVIDIA leads the way with their Omniverse, but many companies like Unity and Meta are following closely.
NavVis to stream large-scale reality-capture data for factories in NVIDIA Omniverse
NavVis, a global leader in reality capture and digital factory solutions, today announced it is working on an integration to NVIDIA Omniverse™, a platform for building and operating industrial metaverse applications, to enable streaming large-scale reality-capture data for factories. Combining NVIDIA Omniverse with NavVis’s mobile mapping system, NavVis VLX, and spatial data platform, NavVis IVION, the collaboration aims to ensure that Omniverse simulations can run not only with physically accurate, computer-designed models but also with accurate 3D representations of the ever-changing real world.
On the way to the industrial Metaverse
A recent Capgemini Research Institute report explored this potential in more depth; Total Immersion; How immersive experiences and the metaverse benefit customer experience and operations, found that 77% of consumers expect immersive experiences to impact how they interact with people, brands and services, but also that organizations recognize the broad opportunities it presents to drive value across the business, specifically in their internal operations.
As opposed to the static spaces of the consumer metaverse, the dynamic spaces of the industrial metaverse are complex and layered. This ever-evolving reality involves interactions on a deeper, more collaborative level. We suggest the dynamic experiences of the industrial metaverse are best exemplified by the next generation of digital twin technology.
Manufactured in the Metaverse: Mercedes-Benz Assembles Next-Gen Factories With NVIDIA Omniverse
Mercedes-Benz plans to start production of its new dedicated platform for electric vehicles at its plant in Rastatt, Germany. The site currently manufactures the automaker’s A- and B-Class as well as the compact SUV GLA and the all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQA. Experts from NVIDIA and Mercedes-Benz operations are setting up a “digital first” – planning process for the plant that won’t disrupt the current production of compact car models at the site. This blueprint will be rolled out to other parts of the global Mercedes-Benz production network for more agile vehicle manufacturing. By tapping into NVIDIA AI and metaverse technologies, the automaker can create feedback loops to reduce waste, decrease energy consumption and continuously enhance quality.
How the industrial metaverse will transform manufacturing
Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc. is one of the world’s largest makers of welding equipment, with more than 42 manufacturing locations in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America — and its business depends on making sure enough welders are certified to use its equipment. For that reason, it felt it needed a school to train workers — but traditional training was slow, expensive and cumbersome. So it turned to technologies more often associated with consumer gaming: virtual reality and the metaverse. Now, trainees don VR headsets to do virtual welds, and they get immediate feedback in an immersive environment on how straight their pipe or sheet metal welds are. If they mess up, they can simply reset the virtual system instantly and keep getting better, and they don’t have to waste materials in repeated attempts. Once they’ve learned to do it right, they apply those skills in actual welding using Lincoln’s gear. The result: Lincoln Electric discovered that it could train welders in 23% less time. And more skilled welders means a larger potential market for its welding gear. “Virtual reality can reduce time while increasing the proficiency of training programs,” Randal Kenworthy, senior partner at technology consulting firm West Monroe, which has Lincoln as a client, told SiliconANGLE.
In order to see the benefits of training in the metaverse, Lincoln Electric and Iowa State University compared two groups, one that did entirely traditional hands-on training and one that did half hands-on and half VR welding. The results showed that welders who did the VR training had significantly higher levels of learning and team interaction, with a 41.6% increase in overall certification over the traditional group. And besides the 23% less time spent in overall training than the traditional group, using VR also greatly reduced training costs by $243 per student, because they could start over each time without wasting materials or losing time reassembling.
In the past four years, VR training has become even more prevalent across manufacturing — for example in automotive and aviation, where workers repeat rote steps on factory floors or even interact with robots. BMW uses VR to train multiple employees at once. Volkswagen AG formed a global initiative with 10,000 employees. Aviation manufacturing giant The Boeing Co. cut training time by 75% with VR. Aeronautics companies also use metaverse technologies to train pilots in the air, spurred by a pilot shortage that began with the pandemic. Loft Dynamics AG has been using VR simulators to train helicopter operators in the U.S., cutting air-time training by as much as 60%.
The industrial metaverse: A game-changer for operational technology
By combining its AI-based autonomous drone-control solution and advanced machine-learning capabilities with machine vision tools, Nokia Bell Labs has created a technology that can track the growth of millions of plants. “We have developed a completely autonomous drone solution with multiple drones flying through this farm,” says Klein. That allows the farm to monitor details such as the height and color of its plants, spot poor growth areas, and predict the production yield.
“We actually built a complete digital twin of the farm that gives the growers a real-time picture of the entire production throughout the farm,” says Klein. With data analysis, the farm can optimize its water, energy, and nutrient consumption; speed up troubleshooting; improve accuracy in yield forecast; and maintain a consistently high quality.
AVEVA Industrial Metaverse
The Industrial Metaverse: More than a Glorified Digital Twin?
Much more of a newcomer — having blasted its way across the chasm from obscurity into mainstream business consciousness only last year in the tailwinds of social media platform Facebook’s rebranding to Meta, a metaverse company — is the industrial metaverse.
The Metaverse will evolve into an autonomous and intelligent immersive environment, blending automation and human intuition to quickly solve problems. Industrial companies will gain visibility of, and control over operations that contribute significantly to the bottom line, and provide the transparency necessary to measure, monitor and control their carbon footprint.
Metaverse could accelerate manufacturing as well as social ills
For companies playing with virtual reality as disparate as plane-maker Boeing Co (BA.N) and online-gaming platform Roblox Corp (RBLX.N), forays into the so-called “metaverse” have come with equal parts promise and peril.
The U.S. aviation giant is looking to digital technology to accelerate production of new aircraft, said Susan Doniz, Boeing’s chief information officer, at the Reuters Momentum conference in Austin on Tuesday. She cited how Boeing cut the development time of the T-7 trainer jet by 80% to three years as an example of what might be possible for commercial airplanes.
NVIDIA launches Omniverse Cloud to support industrial metaverse ‘digital twins’
During the company’s virtual GTC 2022 conference for developers, Nvidia announced the launch of Omniverse Cloud, a comprehensive cloud-based software-as-a-service solution for artists, developers and enterprise teams to use Omniverse to design, publish and operate metaverse applications anywhere in the world.
Omniverse Cloud runs on specially designed cloud-computing architecture within Nvidia’s data centers and hardware running Nvidia OVX architecture for graphics and simulation and Nvidia HGX servers for advanced artificial intelligence workloads. It uses the Nvidia Graphics Delivery Network, a global-scale distributed data center network for delivering low-latency metaverse content that the company learned from its experience with GeForce Now, its low-latency cloud-based video game streaming service.
Using a digital twin of the entire network built into Omniverse that runs alongside the actual railway network at the same time, being fed the same data in real time, it will be able to use AI to monitor sensors and other data and simulation to predict and prevent incidents. “With Nvidia technologies, we’re able to begin realizing the vision of a fully automated train network,” said Ruben Schilling of the Lead Perception Group at DB Netz, part of Deutsche Bahn.
New NVIDIA Neural Graphics SDKs Make Metaverse Content Creation Available to All
These SDKs — including NeuralVDB, a ground-breaking update to industry standard OpenVDB,and Kaolin Wisp, a Pytorch library establishing a framework for neural fields research — ease the creative process for designers while making it easy for millions of users who aren’t design professionals to create 3D content.
Neural graphics is a new field intertwining AI and graphics to create an accelerated graphics pipeline that learns from data. Integrating AI enhances results, helps automate design choices and provides new, yet to be imagined opportunities for artists and creators. Neural graphics will redefine how virtual worlds are created, simulated and experienced by users.
AVEVA E3D Design Overview
The Metaverse Goes Industrial: Siemens, NVIDIA Extend Partnership to Bring Digital Twins Within Easy Reach
Silicon Valley magic met Wednesday with 175 years of industrial technology leadership as Siemens CEO Roland Busch and NVIDIA Founder and CEO Jensen Huang shared their vision for an “industrial metaverse” at the launch of the Siemens Xcelerator business platform in Munich. Pairing physics-based digital models from Siemens with real-time AI from NVIDIA, the companies announced they will connect the Siemens Xcelerator and NVIDIA Omniverse platforms.
The partnership also promises to make factories more efficient and sustainable. Users will more easily be able to turn data streaming from the factory floor PLCs and sensors into AI models. These models can be used to continuously optimize performance, predict problems, reduce energy consumption, and streamline the flow of parts and materials across the factory floor.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries (Satya Nadella 2022 Build Keynote)
Should the metaverse matter to me?
Combining digital twins with IIoT applications in a factory or on a job site garners what may be referred to as the Industrial metaverse. Although providing value of themselves, digital twins are most powerful when combined and used across multiple industries to improve processes, monitor equipment, conduct predictive maintenance and train employees.
The metaverse in infrastructure: Connecting digital and physical worlds
The ITER project, based in France involves some 35 countries collaborating to build a large-scale electricity generation facility based upon the same principle that powers our Sun and stars – nuclear fusion. When completed, this facility seeks to prove the feasibility of fusion as a utility-scale, carbon-free source of energy.
ITER wanted to virtually teleport people into the digital twin and experience it. The resulting solutions use multiple platforms, including NVIDIA Omniverse, Unreal Engine for Oculus, Bentley iTwin, and Azure Remote Rendering for HoloLens2. This combination allows engineering-grade, millimeter-accurate digital content to be visualized with physically accurate lighting and environmental effects on multiple devices and form factors such as web browsers, workstations, tablets, and virtual reality and augmented reality headsets from anywhere in the world.
Amazon Robotics Builds Digital Twins of Warehouses with NVIDIA Omniverse and Isaac Sim
NVIDIA Omniverse Ecosystem Expands 10x, Amid New Features and Services for Developers, Enterprises and Creators
There are also new connections to industrial automation and digital twin software developers. Bentley Systems, the infrastructure engineering software company, announced the availability of LumenRT for NVIDIA Omniverse, powered by Bentley iTwin. It brings engineering-grade, industrial-scale real-time physically accurate visualization to nearly 39,000 Bentley System customers worldwide. Ipolog, a developer of factory, logistics and planning software, released three new connections to the platform. This, coupled with the growing Isaac Sim robotics ecosystem, allows customers such as BMW Group to better develop holistic digital twins.
At GTC, NVIDIA announced NVIDIA OVX, a computing system architecture designed to power large-scale digital twins. NVIDIA OVX is built to operate complex simulations that will run within Omniverse, enabling designers, engineers and planners to create physically accurate digital twins and massive, true-to-reality simulation environments.
"Manufacturing with metaverse components will become a critical consumer touchpoint—a point of differentiation for brands—in the future."— David Rogers (@doclrogers) March 26, 2022
The Full Potential of a Military Metaverse
A defense metaverse could build on this digital education ecosystem but it would be far more immersive, providing opportunities to draw on some of the mixed-reality advancements in education that are already taking place in the civilian and military worlds. Additionally, a defense metaverse offers the possibility of connecting virtual environments for acquisitions with those used for experimentation or training, allowing acquisitions professionals to quickly test or assess their designs in a virtual world that mimics the future operating environment — all while providing a modicum of operational security that the live environment may not afford. Lastly, a defense metaverse — much like many platforms — should also facilitate technology reusability, helping to drive down costs associated with acquisitions.
Semi-virtual site visits deliver enhanced customer value
AR technology offers opportunities to schedule visits that have been difficult to arrange in the past due to sites being in remote locations, offshore environments or other restricted areas. Headset technology allows field engineers to reach someone where they are and streamline the visit process. As a result, someone can receive insights in real time because remote engineers can see what is happening onsite versus trying to identify issues through messages or images (see Figure 4). Problems can be solved more quickly, which saves time and money in the process.
Revolution on the factory floor: benefits of the industrial metaverse
Recently, the first virtual factory set in a metaverse environment opened in South Korea where, using VR glasses, visitors can witness the manufacturing process of plastic screws and operate machines. The virtual factory can change settings such as the pressure of the injection moulding machine or the speed of the production process, without the need to shut the factory off. In the future, the factory floor might witness a revolutionary transformation from implementing the metaverse’s features.
Walmart is quietly preparing to enter the metaverse
Walmart appears to be venturing into the metaverse with plans to create its own cryptocurrency and collection of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. The big-box retailer filed several new trademarks late last month that indicate its intent to make and sell virtual goods, including electronics, home decorations, toys, sporting goods and personal care products. In a separate filing, Walmart said it would offer users a virtual currency, as well as NFTs.
Deloitte Launches Unlimited Reality: An Experience and Impact Offering for Virtual Worlds
Deloitte’s Unlimited Reality offering is designed to help clients understand and capitalize on the next massive wave disrupting business and society, and to equip executives with the strategies, tools and technologies they need to fully exploit virtual worlds and virtual economies. It provides guidance for businesses on how to transform industrial operations through physically-accurate digital twins, to monetize digital assets and engage customers using Web3 architectures, and to imagine and optimize new workplace models that combine humans and machines. The studio’s name is a reference to the tenth dimension. In theoretical physics, the tenth and final dimension captures the unlimited possibility of the universe in a single point, much like the promise of virtual worlds does for clients.
Hyundai Motor to set up metaverse factory with Unity
Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s top automaker, is set to establish a digital virtual factory in a metaverse space with Unity, a US-based real-time 3D content platform, in order to become a smart mobility solutions provider through upgrades of plant operations and production innovations. The partnership is expected to realize Hyundai’s vision of becoming the first mobility innovator to build a Meta-Factory concept, a digital twin of an actual plant, supported by a metaverse platform.
The automaker plans to first apply the concept to Hyundai Mobility Global Innovation Center in Singapore (HMGICS), supporting Hyundai Motor Group’s initiative to create an open innovation hub for research and development. The group earlier planned to adopt digital twin technology to HMGICS’ design sector.
Boeing wants to build its next airplane in the metaverse
In Boeing Co’s factory of the future, immersive 3-D engineering designs will be twinned with robots that speak to each other, while mechanics around the world will be linked by $3,500 HoloLens headsets made by Microsoft.
Boeing’s holy grail for its next new aircraft is to build and link virtual three-dimensional “digital twin” replicas of the jet and the production system able to run simulations. The digital mockups are backed by a “digital thread” that stitches together every piece of information about the aircraft from its infancy - from airline requirements, to millions of parts, to thousands of pages of certification documents - extending deep into the supply chain. Overhauling antiquated paper-based practices could bring powerful change. More than 70% of quality issues at Boeing trace back to some kind of design issue, Hyslop said. Boeing believes such tools will be central to bringing a new aircraft from inception to market in as little as four or five years.
Nike just bought a virtual shoe company that makes NFTs and sneakers for the metaverse
Nike just announced the acquisition of RTFKT Studios, which it calls ‘a leading brand that leverages cutting edge innovation to deliver next generation collectibles that merge culture and gaming.’
RTFKT claims that in February 2021, a collaboration with teenage artist FEWOCiOUS to sell real sneakers paired with virtual ones managed to sell some 600 pairs/NFTs in just six minutes, netting over $3.1 million at the time. This was around the same early spring period when most of us were hearing about NFTs for the first time, as Grimes sold some $6 million worth of digital artwork on March 1st. It’s not clear if any of these digital items are worth as much now; looking at OpenSea and Nifty Gateway right now, I see a number of them are either listed for or have recently sold for less than their original prices.
Emulate sensors and mechatronics systems with Unity SystemGraph
Unity SystemGraph is a new graph-based authoring tool that represents systems through its components, such as lidar sensors and cameras, in Unity. Now robotics and engineering teams can more easily prototype systems, test and analyze their behavior, and make optimal design decisions without access to the actual hardware.
Building digital twins, mixed reality and metaverse apps for businesses
BMW uses Nvidia’s Omniverse to build state-of-the-art factories
BMW has standardized on a new technology unveiled by Nvidia, the Omniverse, to simulate every aspect of its manufacturing operations, in an effort to push the envelope on smart manufacturing. BMW has done this down to work order instructions for factory workers from 31 factories in its production network, reducing production planning time by 30%, the company said.
Product customizations dominate BMW’s product sales and production. They’re currently producing 2.5 million vehicles per year, and 99% of them are custom. BMW says that each production line can be quickly configured to produce any one of ten different cars, each with up to 100 options or more across ten models, giving customers up to 2,100 ways to configure a BMW. In addition, Nvidia Omniverse gives BMW the flexibility to reconfigure its factories quickly to accommodate new big model launches.
BMW succeeds with its product customization strategy because each system essential to production is synchronized on the Nvidia Omniverse platform. As a result, every step in customizing a given model reflects customer requirements and also be shared in real-time with each production team. In addition, BMW says real-time production monitoring data is used for benchmarking digital twin performance. With the digital twins of an entire factory, BMW engineers can quickly identify where and how each specific models’ production sequence can be improved. An example is how BMW uses digital humans and simulation to test new workflows for worker ergonomics and efficiency, training digital humans with data from real associates. They’re also doing the same with the robotics they have in place across plant floors today. Combining real-time production and process monitoring data with simulated results helps BMW’s engineers quickly identify areas for improvement, so quality, cost, and production efficiency goals keep getting achieved.
Unity moves robotics design and training to the metaverse
“The Unity Simulation Pro is the only product built from the ground up to deliver distributed rendering, enabling multiple graphics processing units (GPUs) to render the same Unity project or simulation environment simultaneously, either locally or in the private cloud,” the company said. This means multiple robots with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of sensors can be simulated faster than real time on Unity today.
According to Lange, users in markets like robotics, autonomous driving, drones, agriculture technology, and more are building simulations containing environments, sensors, and models with million-square-foot warehouses, dozens of robots, and hundreds of sensors. With these simulations, they can test software against realistic virtual worlds, teach and train robot operators, or try physical integrations before real-world implementation. This is all faster, more cost-effective, and safer, taking place in the metaverse.
“A more specific use case would be using Unity Simulation Pro to investigate collaborative mapping and mission planning for robotic systems in indoor and outdoor environments,” Lange said. He added that some users have built a simulated 4,000 square-foot building sitting within a larger forested area and are attempting to identify ways to map the environment using a combination of drones, off-road mobile robots, and walking robots. The company reports it has been working to enable creators to build and model the sensors and systems of mechatronic systems to run in simulations.
12 factors heating up the popularity of digital twins and simulations
Observers see significant demand for multi-physics simulations that present a holistic view across different physical domains like electronics, structures, and heat. This is critical for areas like noise and vibration. Top simulation techniques include computational fluid dynamics (CFD), multi-body systems (MBS), or finite element analysis (FEA) technologies.
Others expect to see simulation advances used to improve various aspects of operations, particularly with the rise of the so-called “omniverse” for rendering models — referring to the use of things like VR and AR, automated data labeling, AI-powered physics, and improved supply chains.
On May 9, 2019, at the Fluidity Summit in New York City, Uniswap announced Unisocks, a limited edition pair of socks utilizing a bonding curve as its pricing mechanism. To facilitate ease of trading, Uniswap created SOCKS, an ERC-20 token representing a pair of Unisocks. Users can freely trade SOCKS on Uniswap or redeem them to receive the physical pair of socks.
People Are Selling Digital Socks for $92,000 on Ethereum's Uniswap
In 2019, Uniswap created 500 SOCKS tokens. The original idea was that they are “backed” by the same amount of physical, limited-edition pairs of socks. But they also came with a unique price scale. The very first SOCKS token was listed for $12, but the price of each subsequent sale has been increasing according to a dynamic curve since then. This has led to the current, absurd price high.