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Exploring the Enterprise Metaverse

The metaverse—the so-called future of the internet—is a hot topic. As usual for tech buzzwords, some of the attention is positive, and some of it is negative. While the size and scope of the impact that metaverse technology will have on life and business in the near and long-term futures is not yet clear, what is clear is that it will have an impact. Its impact will start to become more obvious as the decade progresses.

According to Precedence Research, the global metaverse market could reach $1.3 trillion by 2030, which is up from $51.69 billion in 2021. The metaverse describes a highly immersive 3D virtual world that leverages technologies such as AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), and MR (mixed reality). Grand View Research further describes metaverse as “elevating the internet experience” by establishing this virtual world experience. Within this world, participants can engage in any number of ways, and, in fact, many believe the metaverse will completely reshape the way we live, work, communicate, and play. And while the definition of metaverse is still very much in flux, Precedence uses a nice descriptor, saying it’s “a smooth convergence of the digital and physical lives, creating a virtual, unified community where people can play, work, transact, socialize, and relax.”

A new whitepaper from ABI Research looks at the technical realities of the metaverse, including the enterprise metaverse. Since digital twins and simulations are already a part of many enterprises’ workflows, ABI suggests the enterprise metaverse is in a more advanced stage of development than the consumer metaverse. Use cases for the enterprise metaverse include not only digital twins and digital simulations but also virtual training, hybrid remote work, and immersive collaboration tools and virtual events.

Many of the use cases ABI lists in its whitepaper for the enterprise metaverse offer cost reduction as a benefit. For instance, leveraging metaverse for hybrid or remote work, including virtual events can save on costs associated with renting an office space and traveling to meetings and events. Digital twins and simulations can also reduce costs by creating efficiencies, allowing for more predictive maintenance, and optimizing operations in general.

Several other use cases for industrial metaverse offer better, more effective ways of doing certain things, like training. Accenture’s Immersive Learning Survey from 2021 reported that more than 90% of executives believe existing methods of training employees need to be more effective. About half (47%) of executives in the survey said if their organizations do not invest in mixed-reality learning and development, they will miss out on engaging and impactful training outcomes.

As enterprises in many sectors face skills gaps, more effective training is going to be critical to addressing shortages in industries like construction and manufacturing. Metaverse technology and immersive training can not only help get new workers up to speed in a way that maximizes learning retention and minimizes training time but also allows for upskilling and reskilling of existing workers.

ABI’s whitepaper suggests there’s already traction for enterprise metaverse in AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industries, as well as manufacturing and automotive, and other industrial sectors won’t be far behind. ABI also suggests immersive training has an early start in industries such as healthcare, education, retail, and manufacturing.

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