Microsoft announced Tuesday that Metaverse products are being used in business-related applications as there’s no breakthrough consumer product yet.
Kawasaki has signed on as a new customer for Microsoft’s “industrial metaverse” – a fancy way of stating manufacturing workers would wear a HoloLens headset to assist with production, repairs, and supply chain management. The headsets will be used to assist in the construction of robots.
HoloLens, which was originally released in 2016, allows users to experience augmented reality, which overlays digital visuals on top of real-world objects.
For Microsoft’s industrial metaverse, this means combining several of the company’s technologies, such as cloud computing, to enable manufacturing employees and management develop goods more quickly and efficiently.
The goal is to build a “digital twin” of a workspace that can speed up procedures like repairs and the commencement of new manufacturing lines, according to Microsoft. Instead of calling a repair specialist to the plant to fix a broken item, a HoloLens may be used to speak with on-site workers and take them through the repair process using augmented reality visual clues.
It also allows managers to employ the digital twin to ramp up new manufacturing if necessary, which Microsoft touts as a solution to address supply chain issues.
Kawasaki joins Heinz and Boeing as manufacturing partners, with Heinz recently announcing that it would leverage the Microsoft industrial metaverse in ketchup facilities.
Microsoft’s booming business reveals a lot about where the metaverse stands. While we’ve heard promises of a sci-fi future when everyone works, plays, and socialises in virtual reality, today’s applications are more focused on corporate applications than consumer requirements.
Microsoft has a head start because it is already selling mixed reality technology to businesses and providing developers with the tools they need to create their own metaverse experiences.
That includes metaverse products that function on 2D screens as well, such as the new digital avatar features Microsoft added to its Teams messaging software last year. In the future, these features could be ported to headsets and other platforms.