The Road to the Industrial Metaverse

How did we get here?

Nearly two thirds of manufacturers surveyed by Deloitte believe the industrial metaverse will transform manufacturing.

The 1992 Neal Stephenson sc-ifi novel, Snow Crash, popularized the term metaverse, conceptualizing a virtual reality based digital universe.

Linden Labs introduced one of the first metaverse-like environments, the popular virtual world platform Second Life, in 2003.

In 2014, Facebook acquired leading virtual reality company Oculus VR. As the tech became more accessible, interest in virtual and augmented reality exploded in the late 2010s and 2020s.

Today, manufacturing applications are becoming clearer.

According to the Deloitte survey, industrial use cases span four key ecosystems:

  • Production at 34%
  • Customer interactions at 21%
  • Supply chain design at 21%
  • Talent at 17%

Use cases for product engineering include:

  • Virtua product design and prototyping
  • Remote collaboration
  • Real-time documentation and data visualization
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Quality control
  • Remote monitoring

At the same time, there’s hesitancy among manufacturers, tapering enthusiasm. Key challenges include cost of implementation, lack of digitally skilled workers, and difficulty integrating AR with existing technology stacks.