The border between real and virtual worlds becomes thinner and thinner day after day. And while we are still far from a movie-like futuristic dream of existing in a full-fledged digital dimension, the metaverse currently offers us a set of new opportunities not only for entertainment purposes but for soaring business growth and virtual economy expansion.
When starting a conversation about metaverse usage for business, we need to also pay attention to the phenomena of digital twins, the technology that also has been gaining momentum during the last few years. But how are the metaverse and digital twin connected? Find out the answer and comprehend the value of such a connection through the experience of a top metaverse development company.
Digital Twin and Metaverse: How to Understand These Two Concepts?
Let’s start with understanding the basics. Metaverse, at its core, is a system of interconnected virtual worlds that users can interact with through the avatars they turn into while using VR gadgets in the real world. However, the current state of the metaverse is far from this description.
Nowadays, there are a number of separate platforms that allow you to dive into virtual reality, but we are still lacking the interconnectivity that would turn the internet into a full-scale virtual world that the metaverse concept actually implies.
However, while still far from its utopian view, the metaverse can drive real value for businesses. Metaverse use cases are diverse, starting from an immersive experience for employees and customers or revealing new revenue streams.
If you follow the tech industry for the last few years, you can see the metaverse turning into a hot topic. It intrigues executives from different industries, and with tech giants like Meta investing in the metaverse, we can expect it to grow exponentially and be adopted by more and more businesses worldwide.
In turn, the digital twin has been adopted by businesses much earlier than the metaverse, as the technology was first introduced in the early 2000s. But to gain tangible value and a competitive edge from it, companies should have tech capacities to power up and support a digital twin, and this implies ensuring enhanced connectivity, availability of large data storage, sufficient bandwidth, etc.
A digital twin is a digital replica of a real-life asset, process, or product that receives real-time data updates about the original, the conditions it exists, and other factors impacting the real-life object. The application of digital twins pursues different goals, from virtual training with 24/7 availability to predictive maintenance of equipment in factories and plants.
The tech conditions required by digital twins to operate efficiently might have not been affordable for companies before, but the rise of cutting-edge technologies, including metaverse, is making the implementation of digital twins more realistic and cost-efficient than ever.
Digital Twin vs. Metaverse: How Do They Relate?
The implementation of metaverse digital twins reveals huge potential for metaverse development companies, and here is why. While the metaverse might be a stand-alone virtual dimension totally independent of our physical reality, there is also a possibility and even a need to have a precise digital simulation of our world. That is where digital twins become more relevant than ever, as they allow for building an exact digital copy of real objects or processes.
Basically, a digital twin becomes a building block of the metaverse, supplying realism to virtual reality. Such convergence is especially valuable for businesses because it lifts the restrictions and risks present in the real world, opening a lot of new opportunities.
For example, a reliable digital twin development company can help you simulate your industrial environment to test changes made in manufacturing processes and gather metadata to assess how these changes are going to impact the performance, safety, as well as interactions between equipment and workers, making your mind whether it’s really worth implementing them in reality.
As you can see, metaverse and digital twins allow us to precisely modulate the situation virtually as it would happen in reality, but without disrupting the production process and generating downtime, risking wasting resources on a theory that won’t prove itself to jeopardizing crew safety.
Digital Twin in Metaverse: How Does It Work?
Digital twins in the metaverse deliver value when they are connected with the real world through a constant flow of data, which allows companies to see their products and processes in dynamics and under changing conditions. It is especially convenient for products that are built with a lot of advanced components, and the change in one aspect will affect the performance of every other, transforming the product as a whole. In turn, the metaverse will expand the employees’ capacities to interact, monitor, test, and study digital entities.
The concept of digital threads provides the necessary level of interconnectivity between digital and physical, creating a universe flow of data. It works the following way: every physical entity starts with digital definitions, like models, prototypes, etc., which are used to build a physical object.
Whether it is a product you sell or equipment you install, it starts to interact with other objects, people, and processes. Through technologies like AR or IoT, you can gather data on these interactions and later leverage it for decision-making or process support. At this stage, this loop, which is basically the aforementioned digital thread, closes.
When the digital thread is visualized through 2D or 3D modeling and follows the real-time data, it creates a digital twin. For enterprises, three main types of digital twins are:
- a product digital twin (represents a product and is used to see how a physical product will perform under different conditions or how the changes in materials, hardware, software, etc. will affect it as a whole);
- a production digital twin (represents the processes, being used to test and validate them digitally before implementing in real life);
- a performance digital twin (gathers the data of an asset in use to later be analyzed to assess the performance and leveraged for further decision-making).
However, it is only the tip of the iceberg, inasmuch as the variation of digital twins and their implementation is huge, so every business has an opportunity to tailor this technology as they need, especially when gaining the support of digital twin and metaverse developers with relevant expertise and experience.
How Can We Use Digital Twins in the Metaverse?
A digital twin in the metaverse is a high concept, but how do enterprises in different industries actually apply it?
The industrial metaverse presents a new layer to the metaverse idea, assuming that it can contribute much more to society and economics than advanced entertainment and retail experiences. Metaverse and the capacities it generates correlate with the concept of Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which implies the adoption of advanced technologies and breaking boundaries between physical, digital, as well as biological spheres.
Digital twins are not a new technology for enterprises in the manufacturing industry, however, the addition of metaverse creates a new, virtual ecosystem, which has been given the name “metafactory”. Metafactory is always on and available remotely. It makes it possible for experts from different areas to collaborate on different projects in the shortest possible time.
For example, even with digital twins, specialists need to travel to the location to perform maintenance, meaning that the downtime of equipment increases, and an expert only understands the real problem when arriving at the site. With metaverse, they could contemplate the issue and initiate maintenance action immediately.
The immersive capacities offered by metaverse also allow teams to detect production issues or reveal optimization opportunities much faster without blocking the processes and causing downtime.
The automotive industry gains a lot from the digital twins metaverse. Instead of going old school with the car designing and building process, companies can create a digital twin of their new car model. Prototypes, scale models, and traditional testing get replaced by high-tech tools that allow design teams to create a digital twin they can interact virtually through a cloud.
By immersing themselves in the metaverse, automotive specialists can test the car’s digital twin as in reality, but much faster, cheaper, and more convenient than ever. Test drivers can also take cars for a ride within metaverse simulations without putting themselves at additional risk.
As for retailers, digital twins and metaverse can offer multiple use cases.
First, it is an immersive shopping experience: the customers, no matter where they are, will be able to attend your virtual stores and interact with your brand and products the way they would in real life. This gives you the opportunity to tremendously grow your clientele base and access demographics you haven’t reached before.
Second, retail companies can use metaverse digital twins to simulate their supply chain and inventory management system to predict demand and plan inventory restocking in time, as well as optimize processes to save costs and increase efficiency.
Third, digital twins generate opportunities for product customization and targeted offers for customers. When the information collected on customer behavior and preferences isn’t stuck in data silos, it can create a digital twin of customers’ profiles, allowing retailers to predict what products would be interesting for a certain client and market it later to them.
Healthcare is going through a drastic change thanks to the metaverse. Collaborative medicine, precise prediction of treatment efficiency, virtual training, AR-powered surgeries — all of this becomes a reality for healthcare professionals thanks to the metaverse digital twins.
The creation of digital twins for certain organs or even whole patients allows doctors to test and prescribe treatment more efficiently than in the past. Medical AR with digital twins helps surgeons to actually see where scalpels and instruments go into the patient’s body during the surgeries. Digital twins available through the cloud allow involving specialists remotely for the surgeries as well.
And of course, the metaverse reinvents medical training: students can learn everything they need about surgeries, symptoms, and clinician cases on virtual patients instead of real people or cadavers.
The construction and real estate sector are also transforming, thanks to the metaverse. Construction firms use digital twins to build copies of buildings to monitor and adjust them during their lifecycle to optimize maintenance and prolong their existence.
At the same time, the metaverse opens a totally new field for city management, namely digital twins for cities. For example, South Korea has been working on a project to create a digital twin for the city of Incheon to turn it into a truly smart city. The same technology might be used to provide virtual trips to other cities like Paris.
6. Metaverse Digital Twins and Immersive Learning
Immersive learning is another use case worth mentioning. A digital twin of an equipment piece or a machine is a perfect tool for employee training, as it generates a lot of benefits in comparison with traditional training options.
First, if we are talking about heavy machinery, a digital twin in the metaverse eliminates safety risks ensuring that no accidents are possible.
Secondly, this technology allows for studying assets in close detail since virtually your employees can disassemble the equipment into small parts to explain to trainees how everything works, while in reality, it might be impossible.
Thirdly, digital twin training can be available 24/7, if you create a library of 3D models and grant access to your employees, so they can approach it any moment they need.
How Program-Ace Can Develop the Digital Twin Metaverse
Metaverse is a promising concept, but still needs time to blossom into its full potential. However, it makes nowadays an ideal moment to tap into metaverse and digital twin development and gain a competitive advantage, while other companies in your field might not comprehend the importance of these high-tech solutions.
Program-Ace, a top custom software development company, will guide you through every step of digital twin metaverse development and leverage it in order for you to achieve your business goals. Contact us to learn the details and start your journey into the exciting world of the metaverse.