More than just imagination, the application of the industrial metaverse is just around the corner.

Source: Community Marketing Research Institute

With the development reference of the Internet industry, the metaverse industry is growing rapidly and deeply. Since 2021, there have been multiple metaverse projects and platforms worldwide, attracting a lot of attention and participation from users and capital.

According to the statistics of Yuanli Society, the total amount of disclosed metaverse investment and financing in China in 2022 reached 13.6 billion yuan, an increase of 147% compared to 5.5 billion yuan in 2021. The total number of investment events was 221, an increase of 333% compared to 51 in 2021. It can be said that it is growing rapidly.

You may be interested in knowing what other tracks are emerging in the metaverse besides consumption and entertainment.

Recently, the Sutu Metaverse Research Institute released the “China Industrial Metaverse Trend Research Report (2023)”, bringing the topic of industrial metaverse into the public’s view. The report believes that the industrial metaverse will become an inevitable trend in the development of the metaverse form, and will give birth to a new generation of industrial infrastructure, promoting the development of the real economy and the upgrading of social efficiency.

In fact, in the past year, many companies have made preliminary explorations in the commercialization of the metaverse industry. Most of their attempts have focused on the field of marketing, and many marketing solutions based on technologies such as NFTs, digital humans, and 3D scenes have gained considerable attention.

Although marketing is only the first step in the commercialization of new technologies, it also represents the market and consumers’ acceptance of the metaverse, which provides a promising future for the construction of the industrial metaverse.

1. Analogous to the Industrial Internet, what problems can the industrial metaverse solve?

Before talking about the industrial metaverse, we have to mention the Industrial Internet.

The so-called “Industrial Internet” is a concept that corresponds to “Consumer Internet”. The Consumer Internet targets individual consumers and aims to satisfy individual consumer experiences and help existing products and services sell and circulate better, while the Industrial Internet mainly provides productivity services to enterprises.

In 2022, there were a total of 88 investment and financing events in the field of the Industrial Internet, with a total financing amount of 13.259 billion yuan, a decrease compared to the 149 investment and financing events and 41.256 billion yuan of investment and financing amount in 2021, showing a downward trend.

The decline of the Industrial Internet implies a shift in the market direction, and the reason why the industrial metaverse is revolutionary is because it can identify and solve “specific problems” that the Industrial Internet cannot solve.

For example, in order to achieve the visualization of operational process data, factories often need to use abstract histograms or similar two-dimensional graphical tables, but the industrial metaverse not only has rich data, but also allows workers to view, use, and analyze data in a complete 3D environment. Its biggest advantage is information density and presentation.

This advantage of fully utilizing data is fully demonstrated in the field of equipment maintenance. Due to the monopoly of many industrial technologies by foreign countries, many equipment failures often require foreign technical experts to come on-site for inspection and repair. Leaving aside the high cost of repairs, the time cost caused by downtime is incalculable.

With the help of the industrial metaverse, remote experts can obtain practical operating procedures, scenario-based spatial views, and more effective information within minutes. On a cognitive level, on-site workers and experts can easily find common ground and engage in effective communication.

It can be said that the industrial metaverse shares similar underlying technologies with the industrial internet, both of which are supported by technologies such as big data, cloud computing, blockchain, and artificial intelligence. Their goal is to connect and reconstruct traditional industries using internet technologies.

However, compared to the industrial internet, the industrial metaverse carries a larger amount of information and provides a more comprehensive display of information, making it capable of solving more specific problems.

Technology writer Meng Yonghui believes that the metaverse can even be classified under the category of the industrial internet. “On the surface, the metaverse is primarily focused on transforming the lifestyle of consumers (C-end), while the industrial internet is primarily focused on transforming the production methods of businesses (B-end). In reality, they are just different manifestations of the same development model at different stages of development,” he said.

Second, the metaverse has a higher starting point and greater advantages in industrial development!

Currently, the practice of China’s industrial internet mainly focuses on “digitizing transactions.” By digitizing procurement, settlement, warehousing, and distribution, among other aspects, the industrial internet shortens the circulation process, reduces information matching costs and transaction costs, and provides the best entry point for fully digitizing the industrial chain.

The purpose of both the industrial metaverse and the industrial internet is to promote the integration of the digital world and the physical world. However, compared to the internet, which relies on developing infrastructure and grows slowly, the metaverse has started from a higher vantage point since its inception.

The “2022 Metaverse Report” published by Tsinghua University’s Metaverse Lab states that the metaverse, as an emerging industry technology, integrates multiple high-tech industry chains.

For example, its typical underlying technologies such as “spatiotemporal intelligence,” “spatial computing,” and “spatial intelligence” can not only assist industrial enterprises in research and development, production, sales, supply chain, circulation, and services to form a new industrial system, but also help traditional industries transform, achieving cost reduction, efficiency enhancement, energy conservation, and emission reduction.

It can be said that due to the high starting point of the metaverse, this industry can directly enter the vertical industry field without going through “mass consumer-level applications.” The Speedy Metaverse Research Institute also believes that “in the metaverse era, technological innovation is no longer a breakthrough in a single point, but seeks systematic development.”

Currently, the industrial metaverse has been widely deployed in the industrial chain. Publicly available information shows that the metaverse has been widely used in multiple fields, which can be specifically divided into the following five points:

First is the industrial metaverse

Focuses on the integration of ubiquitous perception of manufacturing production systems and information physical systems, builds a cloud-based business application platform, creates digital twin factories, comprehensively simulates the entire production chain including research and development design, production manufacturing, and operation management, helps with product lifecycle management and process optimization, and forms industry solutions to reduce production costs and increase efficiency.

The second is the educational metaverse.

Cultivate differentiated terminals, introduce virtual digital teacher, develop various digital twin campuses (in Shanghai), explore multi-point collaborative teaching, remote interactive teaching, and other integrated applications and solutions around teaching practice, digital classrooms, online classrooms, and quality education.

The third is the medical metaverse.

Encourage elemental diagnosis and treatment, support clinical research of XR technology in visual diagnosis and treatment, myopia prevention and treatment, etc.; encourage breakthroughs in new drug development, pathological research, and other fields by combining micro three-dimensional imaging and molecular simulation technology. For example, build a medical three-dimensional assisted diagnosis and treatment platform, optimize preoperative planning and intraoperative navigation solutions; develop virtual medical guides, promote the development of medical applications, and other guarantee measures.

The fourth is the cultural and tourism metaverse.

Promote the combination of offline and online immersive digital twin experiences in scenic spots, museums, cultural centers, theme parks, etc., encourage the development of unique metaverse IPs based on historical culture, mountains and rivers, city landmarks, stimulate new formats and models such as cloud tourism and cloud broadcasting, cultivate new ecosystems, expand the scale of digital collections, and create virtual reality solutions.

The fifth is the business metaverse.

Enterprises create digital cloud exhibition halls to promote multi-person screen interaction, online communities, real-time voice and motion interaction. Encourage the development of virtual full-scene navigation applications such as indoor navigation, commercial shopping guides, parking and car finding. Build China’s metaverse content creation highland, create landmark characteristic scene demonstrations, and form scenario-based application solutions.

On December 17, 2021, at the NetEase Future Conference, Tao Dacheng, Dean of JD Exploration Research Institute and a member of the Australian Academy of Science, delivered a keynote speech on “Building a New World of Integration of Digital and Physical” and proposed the concept of “Industrial Metaverse” for the first time, and explained its development layout and basic practices.

Today, in just two years, the industrial metaverse has achieved remarkable results. It can be imagined that in this new industrial intelligence revolution, the industrial metaverse will further extend the depth and breadth of the application of general artificial intelligence technology in industry, accelerate the deep integration of technology and industry, and stimulate the vitality and creativity of the real economy.

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