Microsoft Shows Off Enterprise Metaverse Plans
Microsoft is building an industrial metaverse using its HoloLens headset to immerse workers in a virtual workspace. Kawasaki has signed on for the project, which will aid in producing and repairing items for its supply chain and in building robots.
The HoloLens augmented reality headset interlaces a digital environment over the real world. The virtual workspace is a “digital twin” of the physical world and can help workers build and fix things in a factory more quickly than waiting for professional aid or traditional training. The headset can call a repair person to walk the floor worker through the project, with real-time visual guidance provided by the headset. Boeing and Heinz have already begun experimenting with the tech, now joined by Kawasaki. It’s a different approach to the metaverse concept from the more consumer and entertainment-oriented concepts currently in vogue, but one that could become a major aspect of industrial production, according to Microsoft.
“The same paradigm shifts – the digitization of people, places and things and their interactions – are also happening in the industrial metaverse. We are helping companies optimize their operations and automate, simulate and predict every business function and process, using IoT, Digital Twins, Mesh and the HoloLens platform,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said. “Kawasaki Heavy Industries, as the world’s leading robotics company, is using our platform to create an industrial metaverse solution that brings their distributed workforce together with their network of connected equipment.”
AI-assisted industrial activities are becoming more common as metaverse and conversational AI technology both improve. For instance, Xerox scored a contract with DARPA to create an augmented reality system operated by an interactive AI teacher that converts text and video instruction guides into a digital curriculum. The idea of leveraging the tech for training also fuels virtual being developer Virti, which uses a digital environment to train doctors to communicate better with the help of AI-powered virtual patients. And while not creating immersive digital space, RAIN recently raised $11 million to further develop custom voice assistants for commercial and industrial fields, including vehicle service.