Digital Twins and IoT- a step into the Metaverse

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Lazaros Karapanagiotidis

August 4, 2022 | 6 minute read

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Digital Twins and IoT- a step into the Metaverse

You have heard about the Metaverse, and likely Digital Twins – the digital representation of an organisation by location, its associated physical assets, actors and the relevant data these provide through their day-to-day running of a business. Digital Twins give decision makers and operators the means to better predict events and direct resources based on their utilisation, capacity, and perhaps most importantly, the likelihood and impact of an event occurring.

With the proliferation of Machine Learning – notably in real time, Digital Twins have evolved to answer the question not of “What happened?” or “What is happening?”, but to “What might happen?”, or “What should I do next?”. This is a step up from traditional BI models in that the graphical user experience is graphic rich and moves decentralised business owners and managers a step closer to stepping into their environments, virtually.

The value unlock here is significant. In industries where seconds impact productivity, sales, and resource allocation – the ability for scarce subject matter experts to make decisions quicker, armed with data, is compelling. Better yet, the technology to do this – high speed connectivity, powerful data streaming, rapid and broad machine to machine integration, visualisation, mobility – exists.

But the Metaverse…

… although aspirational and exciting, is a prickly subject. It comes caveated with “not so easy to deliver and scale” requirements of powerful graphics cards, headsets, screens and ubiquitous, high quality bandwidth to stream all of this rich content reliably. Operationally intensive environments such as Oil & Gas, Utilities, Mining, Telecommunications, and Retail require field workers to inspect, fix, and work on assets in low connectivity, sparse, outlying locations. Environments such as cities, malls, built and population-dense areas make the provision of actionable data a challenge given the multiple interrelated events and activities that take place simultaneously; all of which create silos of data that may or may not be useful to gather. If these were broken into constituent parts, labelled, consolidated in time slices and statistical data aggregations that make business sense to accelerate decision making – the opportunity cost of doing vs. not becomes a competitive edge. Particularly where these abstractions of data are made useful for the entire enterprise to create a more insight driven environment. The business case here is tough to contest. 

In terms of the Metaverse value proposition, virtualising places of business, assets and activities is a challenge. The Metaverse aspiration becomes more deflating given that workers need to be connected to the internet and every device, new or old, attached to, or embedded with a sensor – we need not go into the ideal way to consume this content, and the Web 3.0 references. Structural and spatial models require digitisation to a precisely scaled digital rendition, geo-located and marked against the assets and actors that interact within these environments. The Metaverse’s background is influenced by gaming. Big teams creating content powered by gaming engines to deliver gamified experiences. Very cool, but a tall ask to get credible business value through a Metaverse play, right?

Where this goes – a mix of pragmatic use cases and delivering value

Gartner’s report on the Evolution Spectrum for the Metaverse is telling. It alludes to early Metaverse innovators (20% of the total amount) kicking in from 2025 up until 2027. Early adopters seldom achieve the benefits of innovation projects. Given the time taken to productivity for innovative technology initiatives on the Gartner Hype Cycle, we are looking at three to five years before these “Innovation triggers” become more beneficial than not.

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The good news is that this need not be the case.

The Metaverse is not just super rich 3D graphics, Virtual Reality headsets (later, contact lenses) and Minority Report-style interfaces. It implies that value is underpinned by well-thought-out, data-rich, responsive and up-to-the-second style reports and interfaces that are easy to interpret, and drive action (anyone remember Command and Conquer”). Businesses are reaping the benefits of these types of arrangements, today!

It gets better. We are scratching the surface of the digitally connected world. A report by Jefferies, titled – Metaverse – the Digitisation of Everything?, suggests that we are still early in most aspects discussed here. Roughly 40% of the world’s devices are “Metaverse Ready” (i.e., can be “plugged in”), and the number of devices that will become IoT connected will double in less than three years – this number is predicated on the basis that the things which will not connect to the internet remain stagnant, effectively becoming diluted in the global ocean of hyper-connectedness.

This matters! Given that Gen Z’s will be the main proponents of this new world. The expectation of everything being digitised, actionable and insight-rich will be commonplace. You know, that feeling of not being able to Google something quickly at the dinner party? That will be the expected de-facto user experience.

 

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How IoT.nxt can help your business stay ahead of the Metaverse and Digital Twin curve

Through our unparalleled technology that talks to any sensor, appropriate device, asset, and actor, we bring digitisation to operators and decision-makers quickly. Our proprietary Edge and Virtual Raptor™ products allow for physical and virtual connections for “things” and systems to consolidate. Our Commander™ layer orchestrates the data we get through a proprietary data containerisation method focused on speed and efficiency; this powers our Digital Twins module by linking the relevant data insight abstractions, dashboarding capabilities and digital overlays.

Where this becomes real for our clients is we enable your workforce to interact with data through a dynamic and responsive front-end we called Radar™. Our user interface has been designed to deliver the fastest time to value while allowing digital builders and makers in your business to continue expanding on our platform through the use of widgets in a sandbox-style environment. This forms the only edge platform your business will ever need. We are building for the future and our sophisticated asset – Foundry™ – is a machine learning capability we have built using our deep experience in edge computing, focused on delivering advanced analytical insight for live and historic events.

One example of our success with Digital Twins is where we are working alongside a major Telco provider to achieve 25% savings on energy costs, 10% savings on maintenance costs and up to 40% longer asset life, with an average payback period of 8 months through our Cell Site Management offerings. This has enabled teams to get up to the second views on every essential part that could affect the quality of a network. The result is happier customers and more precise task assignments. Another example is in the mining space, where we have helped a client achieve over 20% improvement in the productivity of technical staff and supplier callouts through predictive maintenance, and 10-30% in asset life extension. This means significant productivity gains by helping teams become laser-focused on servicing heavy vehicles and machinery. The downstream impacts of greater yield and lower costs are significant as the solutions continue to scale. We have many more examples of delivering Smart City solutions, Utilities, Smart Buildings, Agriculture and more.

We have proven experience and continue to deliver significant savings, and a greater handle on managing risks, for our multi-national clients in Heavy Industries, Telecommunications, Utilities, Smart Spaces, Retail, Public Sector, and more. Our technology has received numerous awards for innovation, security and completeness of industrial offering.

The Metaverse is an endless road – a paradigm we going to experience together. We have what you need to get started and keep moving.

Speak to a solution expert today: [email protected] 


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Lazaros Karapanagiotidis

Is an IoT industry leader

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