13 Febbraio 2023

Industrial metaverse: The data driven future of industries 

Women using Hololens

Industrial metaverse is a transformative catalyst for innovation. Our ability to bring immersive experiences into the world of work has the potential to empower millions across the globe. What makes this such an exciting time is that this is real, it’s here, and happening right now across a diverse set of industries.  

Why industrial metaverse? 

The industrial metaverse is redefining how people and machines collaborate to design, build, operate and optimize physical systems using immersive technologies in the cloud for improvements in sustainability and efficiency. Remote operational technology and simulations are empowering effective monitoring of processes, proactive problem solving, and interaction from a safe distance.  

The industrial metaverse is powered by the combination of many innovative technologies that deliver immediate financial value, sustainability, and employee efficiency through process optimizations, modelling, digital analysis, and AI-based predictions. Companies like Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Companyare transforming their operations with industrial metaverse, digital twins, and virtual collaboration, adding predictability and resiliency to the supply chain. Mercedes-Benzis democratizing the digital experience by empowering its factory employees to drive process innovation through data insightsfrom frontline workers and plant managers to process engineers. Sight Machine,Microsoft’s 2022 Partner of the Year Finalist in manufacturing, serves multiple industries and use cases from a single Microsoft Azure-based platform delivering immediate business value. 

Why now?

Industrial metaverse is evolving and capturing the scope of every industry including manufacturing, healthcare, retail, energy, and sustainability for both customers and our partner ecosystem.  

Enhanced visibility, flexibility, contingency planning, and risk management are improving supply chain resiliency and risk mitigation. Investments in automation, remote solutions, and immersive training are helping us cope with the emerging labor shortage and declines in productivity. There is an increased need to track and reduce emissions and natural resource consumption and incorporate sustainable materials into products, which is driving consistent efforts towards sustainability. Customers can innovate with a more efficient and streamlined way to virtually design, develop, and test industrial processes. 

Microsoft is continually investing in technologies, platforms, and solutions to meet our customers where they are and help them fully realize the value of the industrial metaverse based on an innovation loop of design, build, operate, and optimize. 

How is Microsoft shaping the future of industrial metaverse?  

As industrial metaverse comes into focus, our customers are taking advantage of the solutions available today that form the underpinnings of the future potential. 

Common data foundation: Integrating IT and OT data 

A common data foundation, built on Azure Synapse Analytics, that integrates and synchronizes data from the physical operational technology (OT) and digital information technology (IT) domains, empowers organizations to make real time data-driven decisions, which they can use to optimize their existing business, while creating entirely new products, services, and experiences. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) 

Using Azure IoT Hub, IoT based sensors stream real time OT data into Azure Data Lake, for continual analysis using Azure Stream Analytics, so availability, quality, and performance overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) can be optimized. This data, once stored, can be used to run simulations for future scenarios, provide historical analysis, overlayed on top of operational digital twins and combined with IT data for further insights and actions, leveraging the power of Azure Data Explorer to query and analyze large amounts of data. 

Digital twins: Operations and simulation 

Azure Digital Twins allow for both operational efficiencies and simulated analysis.  

Operations twins provide multiple ways to visualize and interact with physical products, systems, or processes and their associated real time operational telemetry. Additionally, these twins can be enriched with IT data and show IT and OT relationships to improve efficiency, transparency, and resiliency. 

Simulation twinsare used to design, build, and test new products and can be comprehensive, physics-based, 3D models that once complete, are ‘pushed’ into production and seamlessly create operational twins. This can also provide ‘what if’ scenarios to optimize operational twins and provide predictive analysis to characterize changes and their associated impacts before any change is made in the production process. These simulations can be used along with machine learning to build autonomous systems that continuously improve operations. 

Digital feedback loop: Teams, Power Platform, and AI 

AI has already proven its value to customers by using software to automate common, repetitive tasks or assisting with complex problem solving and analysis. With the power of AzureOpenAI Service, customers will be able to create and access complex information via natural language, allowing for significant employee and operational efficiencies. Combining integrated enterprise-wide data, AI, and the collaborative power of MicrosoftTeams with MicrosoftPower Platform, we can create a digital feedback loop, further empowering and optimizing the work of the frontline worker. 

Azure: Cloud to edge 

Organizations often come to Microsoft with a diverse mix of technologies, from servers in data centers to retail spaces and manufacturing floors. Our philosophy extends the operational model of Azure from the cloud to the edge, letting customers choose where and how they blend their enterprise IT investments with their physical operations. In the industrial metaverse, we’re focused on providing visibility and control across on-premises, multi-cloud, and edge devices. Azure Arc is how we are able to give customers consistent governance and compliance across the software ecosystem powering the industrial metaverse. 

HoloLens 2 and mixed reality: Knowledge transfer, skilling, training, and empowerment 

Since its inception, HoloLens 2 has delivered immersive collaboration tools to industrial metaverse customers to help frontline workers do their job more effectively, efficiently and safely. Our commitment toHoloLens 2 and Microsoft Dynamics 365 mixed reality apps remains strong as the team continues to innovate in both hardware and software to deliver immersive experiences.

Building the industrial metaverse together  

The industrial metaverse is helping to create a pathway that will generate enormous data driven insights to unlock product potential and have real impact. 

Our commitment to innovate in this space and our commitment to support our customers is unwavering. What our customers create inspires us and the role we play in empowering them to innovate drives us.  

We look forward to sharing additional information in the future as we continue our industrial metaverse journey. 

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Source: Microsoft Industry Blog