Companies that have already deployed industrial metaverse use cases are seeing more reported benefits than those still in the planning phase expect, most notably in capital expenditure reduction (15%), sustainability (10%) and safety improvement (9%), according to a study by Nokia and EY.
State of Metaverse interest
The metaverse at work study shows that companies believe in the power of the metaverse and that metaverse technologies are here to stay. Only 2% of respondents see the metaverse as a buzzword or a fad, while 58% of companies with future metaverse plans have already deployed or piloted at least one metaverse-related use case. Among those who have yet to begin their metaverse journey, 94% plan to do so in the next two years.
Companies also say the industrial metaverse is creating substantial business value. On average, 80% of those who have already implemented metaverse use cases believe they will have a significant or transformational impact on the way they do business.
The study notes that 96% of respondents see how, by mixing physical and virtual use cases, the metaverse brings additional innovative capabilities that will allow them to accelerate the deployment, adoption and monetization of Industry 4.0 for their business.
In terms of geography, the US (65%), UK (64%) and Brazil (63%) are currently leading the way when it comes to having deployed or piloted at least one industrial or enterprise metaverse use case. The average in Germany was 53% while Asia Pacific is less advanced (Japan, 49%; South Korea, 49%).
When asked which use cases they most expect to deliver transformative value, enterprises saw the highest potential in the use of extended reality for training to onboard and upskill the workforce, while three out of the four industries surveyed chose the use of virtual R&D to enhance product design and processes.
When deploying metaverse use cases, companies clearly appreciate the need for sufficient infrastructure and robust analytical capabilities. Respondents placed the highest importance on the key technical enablers that are truly foundational to meeting the demands of such use cases – cloud computing (72%), AI/ML (70%) and network connectivity (68-70%). Given the need for further technical expertise in-house, at this stage enterprises are relying on a range of partners to close capability gaps and deploy use cases.
Vincent Douin, executive director of business consulting and business transformation with Ernst & Young says the industrial and enterprise metaverses are here, this study shows the clear appetite for these technologies such as extended reality and digital twins to achieve business goals.
"We are already seeing many organisations going above and beyond the planning stages and recognising tangible benefits from their initial implementations,” he claims.
For his part, Thierry E. Klein, president of Bell Labs Solutions Research, Nokia notes that the metaverse interest in the private sector strongly aligns with the company's vision that sees the Industrial Metaverse as an extension of Industry 4.0.
"Consequently, those who have already implemented mission-critical communications networks for Industry 4.0 are now well placed to experience the benefits of the Metaverse that clearly some companies are already seeing,” he concluded.