Exploring the Industrial Metaverse: Digital Twins and Beyond

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In technological innovation, the Industrial Metaverse has emerged as a game-changing paradigm set to transform industries far and wide. A convergence of physical and digital realities, this term has swiftly become the new buzzword in the tech world, promising revolutionary advancements and unprecedented opportunities. This article will explore the concept and potential of the Industrial Metaverse, poised to usher in a new era of efficiency, innovation, and interactivity. With technologies such as digital twins and advanced artificial intelligence leading the charge, the possibilities are seemingly boundless, and the industrial landscape, as we know it, stands on the brink of significant transformation.

What is the Industrial Metaverse?

The Industrial Metaverse is a virtual environment where stakeholders, such as engineers and designers, can collaborate in real time, regardless of location. Think of it as a digital meeting room equipped with the power of simulation and advanced visualization.

This virtual environment allows users to access digital replicas – digital twins – of products, machinery, and even whole manufacturing facilities. But the capabilities of the industrial Metaverse don’t stop there. It also allows users to simulate various scenarios to optimize designs, identify potential issues, and make data-backed decisions. Imagine testing multiple iterations of a product design or machinery setup without the actual physical and environmental costs. That is the kind of transformative impact that the industrial Metaverse aims to bring to these sectors.

It may seem like science fiction to some, but the industrial Metaverse already shows signs of massive potential. ABI Research anticipates that by 2030, the industrial metaverse market could be worth USD 100 billion, primarily driven by digital twin technology, extended reality applications, and more. This figure underscores the significant commercial and operational implications this technology holds.

Source: ABI Research, Evaluation of the Enterprise Metaverse Opportunity, Third Quarter, 2022

While the consumer metaverse – famously adopted by Mark Zuckerberg and Meta, for example – has dominated the headlines, the industrial Metaverse holds the most transformative potential. Industries such as manufacturing and logistics, which have long been pioneers of digitalisation, are driving this growth. They have been integrating enabling technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), extended reality, and digital twins for years, contributing to developing the industrial Metaverse. Their efforts and successes are poised to accelerate the adoption of the industrial Metaverse across other industries and sectors, including railways, power utilities, and public safety.

What are Some of the Benefits of the Industrial Metaverse?

The Industrial Metaverse, as a convergence of the virtual and physical worlds, opens many possibilities for industries, making it one of the most promising technological advances of our time.

Rapid Problem Identification and Resolution

One of the central benefits of this digital universe is that it allows problems to be found, analyzed, and fixed rapidly. Sometimes, potential issues can be identified and addressed even before they manifest, resulting in significant time and resource savings.

Breakdown of Geographical Barriers

Imagine a world where barriers of distance are nonexistent, where teams from different countries and continents can work together as though they share the same physical space. This is the promise of the Industrial Metaverse. It facilitates a level of collaboration previously unattainable, allowing everyone to share and experiment with new ideas rapidly and seamlessly.

Fostering Innovation 

This new collaborative environment fosters a culture of innovation, where virtual reality can aid in practical, on-site work. A virtual realm that allows users to delve into the past and even project into the future to better understand processes, solve complex problems, and find optimal solutions.

Blending Physical and Digital Realities

But it’s not just about breaking geographical barriers or enabling predictive analysis. The industrial metaverse also blends physical and digital realities using virtual and augmented reality technologies. This intersection of realities empowers industries to reduce costs, operate more sustainably, enhance the work experience, and expedite operations by shifting expensive, time-consuming activities into entirely virtual environments.

Enterprises and public sector agencies can experiment with and optimize their systems, processes, and infrastructure within these digital spaces, addressing potential issues before allocating substantial resources to their physical counterparts.

The Industrial Metaverse has the potential to transform industries, promoting collaboration, enhancing problem-solving abilities, reducing costs, and driving innovation. As we continue to unravel its potential, it’s clear that the Industrial Metaverse promises to be a game-changer for operational technology.

Digital Twins: The Leading Light of the Industrial Metaverse


Although the full potential and final form of the Industrial Metaverse are still being unveiled, one groundbreaking technology within this revolutionary paradigm is already highly advanced and in daily use: the digital twin.

Digital twins are virtual replicas of physical assets or processes that can mimic and reflect their real-world counterparts’ real-time behavior, performance, and environment. To develop a digital twin, engineers create a comprehensive model and infuse it with a wealth of data, including inspection and sensor information. This combination gives birth to a digital twin: a dynamic virtual embodiment of the asset that mirrors its state and operations.

The practical utility of digital twins is impressively demonstrated in Siemens’ factory in Nanjing, China. Siemens developed a digital twin of this factory, which was instrumental in optimizing construction, detecting potential problems early on, and mitigating them before they escalated. By allowing for the anticipation and avoidance of minor and major planning errors that could have caused significant financial losses and delays in the past, the digital twin became a powerful tool in their arsenal. The results speak for themselves: a 200% increase in manufacturing capacity and a 20% rise in productivity.

Similarly, Akselos, a pioneer of structural digital twins, is making waves in the energy industry. By leveraging our groundbreaking engineering simulation software, RB-FEA, we create ultra-fast and highly detailed digital twins of complex structures. This technology offers remarkable speed, accuracy, and scalability, essential for enhancing safety, reducing downtime, extending asset lifespan, and lowering operational costs.

A notable application of Akselos’ technology is the digital twin of the Shell Bonga FPSO, the largest structure globally to be shielded by such a digital construct. In this project, the software analyzed over 90,000 separate fatigue locations, narrowing them down to 94 critical fatigue hotspots. Akselos is also safeguarding the Adriatic LNG regasification process by constructing digital twins of Open Rack Vaporizers (ORVs) – essential components of the process.

The full potential of Akselos’ twin technology is only realized when deployed across an entire site, where benefits accrue exponentially as assets are linked together. By leveraging site-wide digital twins, decision-makers can make more informed and strategic decisions, ultimately optimizing operational efficiency. Additionally, a comprehensive approach allows for a more proactive maintenance plan, reducing downtime and coordinating efforts across the site rather than in isolation.


The Industrial Metaverse: Beyond Digital Twins

While digital twins might be considered the heart of the Industrial Metaverse, they are just one piece of a much larger, rapidly evolving ecosystem. Creating a fully functional, vibrant Metaverse requires the integration of numerous other technological advancements and innovations. This goes beyond even more powerful computing capabilities and faster networks; it necessitates the continuous development and refinement of technologies such as artificial intelligence, advanced chip technology, and state-of-the-art virtual reality systems.

The Industrial Metaverse leverages a constellation of cutting-edge technologies, including but not limited to digital twins, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and edge computing, blockchain, and extended reality (XR). Alongside these, infrastructure technologies are becoming increasingly critical. For instance, 5G networks facilitate low-latency data communication, and advanced robotic systems play an increasingly important role in modern industry.

These technological advancements are not hypothetical future scenarios; they are already taking shape around us. The decade ahead promises significant breakthroughs that will enable us to construct and explore the Industrial Metaverse and, ultimately, cultivate and optimize it.

The IoT, already connecting over 16 billion devices worldwide, is expected to triple its reach within this decade. Coupled with the global roll-out of 5G and the development of integrated space-air-ground networks, high-connectivity, low-latency networks will soon be available worldwide. This connectivity will ensure seamless, real-time communication and interaction within the Industrial Metaverse, regardless of geographical distance or location.


Simultaneously, advancements in virtual and augmented reality technology provide more immersive, engaging interfaces with the Metaverse. Edge and cloud technology offers fast, reliable, and scalable computing power, making it possible to process the vast amounts of data generated in real time within the Metaverse. Finally, the integration of blockchain and AI enables secure, transparent transactions and the capability for predictive analytics, enhancing decision-making and operational efficiency within the Industrial Metaverse.

Conclusion: Embracing the Future with the Industrial Metaverse

In conclusion, while firmly anchored in the concept of digital twins, the Industrial Metaverse is a wide-ranging, multi-faceted technological landscape. Its development and evolution depend on the harmonious integration of various technological advancements and innovations.

As we move into an era where physical and virtual realities converge, we stand on the brink of an industrial revolution unlike any other. The rise of the Industrial Metaverse heralds transformative changes for industries worldwide. By leveraging a blend of digital twins, IoT, AI, cloud and edge computing, blockchain, and augmented reality, industries can uncover new efficiencies, drive innovation, and enhance overall operational performance.

The stage is set for the Industrial Metaverse to revolutionize the way we work, collaborate, innovate, and grow, opening up a world of possibilities that were, until recently, beyond our wildest dreams. The journey to realizing the full potential of the Industrial Metaverse is underway, propelled by breakthrough technologies and the relentless drive of industries to innovate and excel.