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 percent), sustainability (10 percent) and safety improvement (9 percent), according to a study published today by Nokia and EY. Examining the current state of the enterprise and industrial metaverses, The metaverse at work1 study which surveyed 860 business leaders across six countries shows that the industrial metaverse, particularly, is expected to deliver on and beyond expectations.
The findings show that companies believe in the power of the metaverse and that metaverse technologies are here to stay. Only 2 percent of respondents see the metaverse as a buzzword or a fad, while 58 percent of companies with future metaverse plans have already deployed or piloted at least one metaverse-related use case. Nearly all (94 percent) of those who have yet to begin their metaverse journey plan to do so in the next two years.
Companies also say the industrial metaverse is creating substantial business value. On average, 80 percent of those who have already implemented metaverse use cases believe they will have a significant or transformational impact on the way they do business. Nearly all (96 percent) 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 monetisation of Industry 4.0 for their business.
In terms of geography, the US (65 percent), UK (64 percent) and Brazil (63 percent) 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 percent while Asia Pacific is less advanced (Japan, 49 percent; South Korea, 49 percent).
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 research and development 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 highest importance on the key technical enablers that are truly foundational to meeting the demands of such use cases – cloud computing (72 percent), AI/ML (70 percent) and network connectivity (68-70 percent). 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, Business Consulting and Business Transformation, Ernst and Young LLP, said: “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.”
Thierry E. Klein, President of Bell Labs Solutions Research, Nokia, said: “It is great to see that companies clearly believe in the power of the Metaverse for business value creation in both enterprise and industrial use cases. This strongly aligns with our vision, informed by more than 8 years of research at Nokia Bell Labs, that the Industrial Metaverse is 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.”
About the Study
The study incorporates the opinions of 860 company representatives from four industry sectors in the US, Brazil, UK, Germany, Japan and South Korea. The sectors are automotive; industrial goods and manufacturing; transportation, supply chain and logistics; and power and utilities.
The metaverse is defined in the report as a fusion of the digital and physical worlds. The enterprise metaverse is driven by demand for better digital collaboration and communication tools. It will envelop the core productivity applications that make business function and allow for the next generation of virtual connections. The industrial metaverse is characterised by physical-digital fusion and human augmentation focused on industrial applications; this includes digital representations of physical industrial environments, systems, processes, assets, and spaces that participants can control, monitor and interact with.