The metaverse at work
New study with partnership with EY around industrial and enterprise metaverses
About this study
What is the metaverse, and is it just hype?
The metaverse at work is based on an online survey conducted by EY, in partnership with Nokia, of 860 business leaders in the US, Brazil, the UK, Germany, Japan, and South Korea across four key industries: automotive, industrial goods and manufacturing, transportation, supply chain and logistics, and power and utilities. To support our findings, we additionally conducted 22 in-depth interviews with topic area experts and industry leaders in metaverse across the four industries listed, plus interviews with leaders in public safety and defense. The research was conducted in March 2023. Respondents from automotive companies have been considered in the industrial goods & manufacturing industry if they sit within operations and production functions due to similarities in manufacturing between the two industries, while respondents from all other functions within automotive are considered within the automotive industry.
The survey is designed to capture companies’ current maturity and mid-term goals in adopting enterprise and industrial metaverse use cases. Our findings assess the key drivers, benefits, challenges and risks associated with deploying use cases in the metaverse, as well as the enablers and partnerships required to drive value.
Our research targets leaders (Director, VP or C-level) with moderate to extremely high levels of topic area knowledge reporting plans to develop capabilities in the metaverse, regardless of time to launch. Individuals failing to meet this criteria were excluded from the research.
What is the metaverse, is it just a hype?
Interest in the metaverse has skyrocketed in recent years, with amplified hype in the gaming, social and consumer spaces. Now the hype has begun to fade, and perhaps with that, deflating expectations about the value the metaverse will bring to society. But don’t feel disillusioned - metaverse and metaverse technologies are here to stay. The market is readjusting and re-focusing on concrete use cases to pressuretest the contributions and real value the metaverse can bring.
This re-focusing has solidified that the industrial and enterprise metaverses are here and offer real, lasting value beyond the hype - by enabling companies to build upon their existing digitalization efforts and drive greater efficiencies, sustainability and safety improvements.
Sample of key findings:
The industrial metaverse is creating substantial business value – 80% of experienced respondents believe it will have a significant or transformative impact on their business
Respondents viewed XR onboarding and soft skills training and virtual R&D, testing and prototyping as having the highest potential impact among enterprise and industrial use cases, respectively.
The industrial and enterprise metaverses are exceeding expectations - experienced companies report more benefits than companies still in the planning phase expect.
The enterprise and industrial metaverses require an extensive set of technical enablers, with cloud computing, AI, and network infrastructure and connectivity being ranked most important.
Industrial and enterprise metaverses today
The industrial and enterprise metaverses are not simply a future-state vision garnering optimism from business leaders – they’re here.
To many, the industrial and enterprise metaverses are not a bet, but rather a viable opportunity to drive value such as process efficiency and improved collaboration. Among companies interested in or considering using the metaverse, 58% are already piloting or deploying use cases. The US (65%), UK (64%), and Brazil (63%) are currently leading the way, where companies who have plans to enter the metaverse have deployed use cases at a higher rate than others across Europe (Germany 53%), and APAC (Japan 49%, South Korea 49%) [Figure 2.1].
Our survey polled business leaders with interest in using the metaverse. Within this population 58% overall are experienced - having already deployed or piloted a metaverse use case today.
Figure 2.1: Hands-on metaverse experience today, across key geographies
Industrial and enterprise metaverse use cases
We asked respondents to report anticipated business impact and actual deployment activity across a range of key enterprise and industrial metaverse use cases in the market today.
What defines a use case in the industrial and enterprise metaverses?
Among today’s most prevalent applications of the industrial and enterprise metaverse, some are novel solutions made possible by metaverse-enabling technologies like digital twins and extended reality (XR) headsets, while others are enhanced versions of technologies that have been around for decades. However, all the use cases share a few common characteristics:
- Use cases are either purely virtual or combine virtual and physical elements.
- Use cases add enhanced visualization and contextualization to traditional software and solutions.
- Use cases are defined as a scenario or application of a metaverse technology, not the technology itself (e.g., digital twin).
Although the full potential of the metaverse may still be unknown, industrial and enterprise use cases [Figure 4.1] are being deployed across the value chain to improve existing business processes by offering visualization, data interoperability, and interwoven digital-physical worlds.
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