Industrial Metaverse Glossary

Get to know the terminologies around the Industrial Metaverse – and learn what the Industrial Metaverse is all about.

What is the Industrial Metaverse?

The Industrial Metaverse is the concept of a virtual world to mirror and simulate real machines and factories, buildings and cities, grids and transportation systems. It will be a world which is always on (persistent), allow for the interaction of an infinite number of people and assets (concurrent), and offer the full immersion into a physics-based, photo-realistic and real-time simulation. In this digital environment people can break the barriers of distance and work together across countries and continents, enabling a whole new level of collaboration. Problems can be found, analyzed, and fixed quickly – or even discovered before they arise. And businesses and economies will be able to become more sustainable, driving the decarbonization and dematerialization of product design, their processes and production.

The Industrial Metaverse will be a place where we innovate at the speed of software. It will offer enormous potential to transform our economies and industries.
Roland Busch

A - B

Definition:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) describes intelligent actions performed by machines (as opposed to natural intelligence, which relates to humans and other animals). A machine with AI can perceive its environment and take action to achieve goals, beyond the mere repetition of programmed actions. While AI has been applied to many different technologies historically, today the field is dominated by Machine Learning (ML) using (Deep) Neural Networks.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

The Industrial Metaverse is a training and validation space that allows the creation of synthetic data that can be used as input for AI-based systems, for example autonomous driving. Furthermore, AI is used to create intelligent and autonomous agents in the Metaverse, e.g., human avatars or robots that can communicate and share interactions. Finally, AI is a key technology in creating the real-time realistic VR and AR rendering and simulation that makes the Metaverse a reality.

Definition:

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that allows digital information to be overlayed on real world environments and objects, typically using immersive 3D Virtual Reality. AR allows an enhanced version of the physical world by adding digital visual, sound and other sensory elements.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

AR functionality is a standard feature of smartphones, tablets and devices like AR glasses, and it is an essential feature of the Metaverse. The basis of the technology is an internal localisation and tracking mechanism. It allows objects and environments to be not merely mirrored but enhanced. AR can assist training, inspection and collaboration. It enables industry stakeholders to design, develop and test products in a virtual environment, for example by visualizing workflows and data, mapped on the physical assets or supporting the remote or augmented control and services of machines and tools. With AR applications, experts can, for example, operate machinery or road-test new functions and products in a Metaverse setting.

Definition:

An avatar is a graphical representation of a person and can be used for interacting physically with other users and objects in a 3D virtual world. For a fully immersive avatar experience, users wear sensors that track movement and allow tactile interaction in the virtual world.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

Avatars are essential in the Metaverse. They are the interface between the physical world and the Metaverse, and without them, hands-on virtual interaction would not be possible. In a virtual factory or other industrial environment, an avatar helps the user recognize and interact with other avatars and digital assets. The avatar can be an accurate 3D representation of the user, equipped with a personal set of tools to enhance their productivity. Avatars are the Metaverse’s version of single sign-on (SSO) credentials, providing users with single-point-of-entry access to everything the Metaverse has to offer.

Definition:

Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology (DLT) that enables safe and reliable interactions on the internet. It is best known for its crucial role in cryptocurrency systems. Blockchain offers an immutable, shared ledger of data where all transactions are recorded in securely linked, chronological blocks and where code execution and policy enforcement can be performed via smart contracts.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

Blockchain provides the basis for introducing decentralization to the Metaverse and is expected to become a key component of the Metaverse economy. As the Metaverse grows and its user numbers increase, it becomes vital to track all assets and their owners, along with the various entities that have contributed to the Metaverse’s evolution. Blockchain can support these requirements. A Metaverse with a basis in digital twins can use blockchain to track the evolution and trade of digital tokens. Smart contracts can also be used to introduce code-based governance and define the rules of participation in the Metaverse.

C

Definition:

Cloud Computing is the on-demand availability of data, storage and general computing resources, with functions distributed over multiple cloud server locations, each a data centre. Workloads and computations can be run on the cloud servers. A combination of cloud and Edge Computing provides users with an optimal balance between privacy, efficient computation and faster results.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

Huge amounts of storage and processing are required to support the Metaverse, creating a demand for space, resources, performance, storage and cost-effectiveness that only Cloud Computing can satisfy. In the Metaverse, data sources and interacting devices will not only be machines of high computing capacity but also small-footprint devices that can enable data flow and provide computing capabilities to provide faster results and better load times for application operations. Keeping in mind the diverse footprint and capabilities of devices, a scalable Metaverse architecture will have to optimise edge and Cloud Computing together to enable a uniform and continuous user experience.

Definition:

Collaboration is the group effort that makes the sum greater than the parts. It presents an opportunity for meeting, describing, discussing, reviewing and making changes. In the digital world, collaboration can be difficult when users work across different devices, platforms, domains and organizations. Interoperability is the key to enabling successful digital collaboration, like in today’s internet, which works on standardized protocols.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

The Metaverse is the revolution that finally enables virtual collaboration. Users can interact and visit facilities as Avatars and can demonstrate their products, concepts and algorithms in realistic environments using high-quality 3D presentations. Data and models can be easily exchanged with full interoperability, and users can seamlessly collaborate on common tasks on the same digital asset across devices, platforms, domains, spaces and organizations.

Definition:

Computing involves using computer hardware and executing software programs such as simulations, calculations or control, including input, output and storage of data.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

Computing and its respective platforms are required to execute and host the Metaverse, which in essence is a complex software program. Execution can be centralised in a cloud server consisting of many computing resources in one place, or distributed across a federated web of local computers. In the Metaverse, virtualised computing is performed to execute software programs based in the Metaverse – e.g. a control algorithm running on a Metaverse PCL controlling a Metaverse robot. Edge computing in direct proximity to the physical processes will be a key enabler for the integration of virtual Metaverse components with the physical world.

Definition:

In technical terms, connectivity is the ability of a computer, program, device, or system to connect with others and exchange information.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

Connectivity is required a) to interlink the virtual components within a Metaverse represented by software programs, b) to link the Metaverse to the physical world to obtain information from the physical world and feedback insights from the Metaverse, and c) to link humans to the Metaverse. Uninterrupted connectivity and robust standards of information exchange are key prerequisites to extending and scaling the Metaverse into new domains.

D - H

Definition:

A digital twin is a virtual representation of a physical object or process. It can include the full product life cycle, such as design, manufacturing, operation and service phases. The digital twin looks and behaves like its physical-world counterpart, mirroring the real world and adapting in real-time to what happens there. It can also be used as a virtual playground to explore what would happen if changes were made in the real world. Digital twins have been made possible by advancements in algorithms and their implementation, including machine learning. They are a means of providing accurate predictions, obeying the physics of the mirrored physical environment.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

Digital twin technology will be central to the industrial Metaverse. Today, a comprehensive digital twin already integrates all the data relating to a physical asset generated along its lifecycle. Siemens and Nvidia are developing together, physics-based, photo-realistic and real-time digital twins that will enable a synchronous, concurrent and immersive Industrial Metaverse. By connecting the digital twin to their real-world equivalents and leveraging their data, operations can be improved over the entire life cycle. For example, a digital twin can simulate events such as temperature changes or the outcome of individual parts failing or new components being installed.

Definition:

Edge Computing is a distributed solution that brings computation and data storage closer to data sources, improving response times and saving bandwidth. It is a means of bringing computing elements together – an architecture rather than a specific technology. The Internet of things (IoT) is a prime example of Edge Computing in action.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

Edge Computing involves running the computation near the data on edge devices. This enables maximum speed and minimum latency – two vital issues in Metaverse interactions. If Cloud Computing is all about storage, Edge Computing is all about speed. Without that speed, scalability and usability of Metaverse will be a challenge; hence, Edge Computing is a key component to enable the Metaverse. It is an IT deployment that puts applications and data as close as possible to users, which is exactly what’s required for a seamless experience, giving users the local computing power necessary while minimising network-based latency and network-congestion risk. Keeping in mind the diverse footprint and capabilities of devices, a scalable Metaverse architecture will have to optimise edge and Cloud Computing together to enable a uniform and continuous user experience.

Definition:

Creating engaging experiences is a key goal in eXtended Reality (XR). Enabling a user’s initial interaction with a virtual world is the easy part – the challenge lies in turning that digital experience into long-term engagement and interest. This goal is achieved by making the user feel connected (relatability), fully immersed (suspending their disbelief and interacting with commitment and imagination), dedicated (loving their work and upping their performance) and absorbed (feeling involved and focused).

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

Creating engaging Metaverse experiences involves drawing in users and maintaining their initial love of the experience. An engaged user or customer is one who brings high levels of enthusiasm, creativity and productivity to the Metaverse and looks forward to their next interaction.

Definition:

XR (eXtended Reality) is an umbrella term encompassing VR, AR and MR. All of these can be relevant for accessing Digital Twins in an Industrial Metaverse, depending on the use case.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

XR is central to the various technologies, industries and solutions that converged in the Metaverse and is an essential building block for any Metaverse application. In the Industrial Metaverse, XR provides enhanced options for interacting with Digital Twins and presenting complex DT information in an easier-to-understand way. The XR immersive functionality also enables a significantly richer experience that typically leads to better results and enhances the efficiency of collaboration across domains of expertise – e.g. in training or guidance scenarios. At the same time, XR enables the combination of real and virtual worlds such that component simulations can be linked to a physical asset in order to visualise the behaviour of a future or hypothetical system configuration.

I - L

Definition:

Sensory immersion involves interacting in a virtual environment as if it were the real world. This level of fidelity requires the virtual world to abide by the physics of the real world, including its visual detail (e.g. lighting, roughness/smoothness and reflections), its sounds (e.g. differences related to the proximity or movement of an object), and its tactile quality (e.g. texture, touch and feel, and the vibrations of machinery).

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

Reality is not just a visual experience – it involves all the senses. For full sensory immersion, a simulation must recreate the full fidelity of a real-life experience. For example, a factory environment involves ambient sounds, human voices and the noise, vibration and heat of machinery, and the virtual version must recreate these details. Incorporating sensory factors in a virtual model enhances the user’s engagement and understanding in terms of asset visualisation, situational awareness and spatio-temporal immersion in the Metaverse.

Definition:

Interaction is one of the primary benefits of the Metaverse. eXtended Reality (XR) offers an intuitive, instant and immersive platform that allows users to work together, digitally. The technology assists users in completing tasks by consistently providing the relevant information, accurate detail and insights that fuel successful interaction. To create a positive user experience, the interaction needs be engaging and fruitful.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

State-of-the-art interactions with industrial digital twins are today often less intuitive and user-friendly than those provided by games. Improving UX is therefore a vital requirement for successful interaction and a productive user journey in the Industrial Metaverse.

Definition:

Interoperability describes the ability of multiple environments, software, products and machines to connect and communicate. It enables the seamless exchange and use of information, data or digital assets. Key enablers for the realisation of interoperability are the standardisation of data formats and the adoption of semantic connections, which link and transfer different types of data in a common space.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

Without interoperability, there would be no industrial Metaverse. It describes the process of meeting and interacting virtually and sharing ideas, data and virtual experiences. In the industrial Metaverse, this is best symbolised by avatars touring a factory floor.

M - P

Definition:

MUVEs are virtual spaces in which users, represented by avatars, interact with each other and the objects in the environment. Multiple users coexist simultaneously in that virtual space and in the physical world. The MUVE is a consistent, continuous environment, just like the real world. The users can enter and leave the virtual environment as their needs require and can access it whenever and from wherever they wish. 

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

MUVE is all about Metaverse interaction, mirroring the endeavours of teams and projects in the real world. On a factory floor, for example, an expert based in China can log in to a factory based in Germany and solve the problem in cooperation with the German-based maintenance team. MUVE provides an opportunity for a person in the physical environment (a factory, for example) to interact with a virtual user in the virtual version of that environment.

Definition:

Non-Fungible Tokens are digital representations of unique physical or digital assets. They are verified and stored using blockchain technology and can be transferred to other users. Each NFT is digitally unique and represents a distinct entity, even though those entities may have similar characteristics. NFTs on a NFTin have an associated audit trail to track their lifecycle from inception to transfer and burning (i.e. end of lifecycle).

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

Digital twins (DTs) are an essential component of the Metaverse, and NFTs provide new business models such as digital twin trading, combining physical assets with NFTs, enabling value creation during different lifecycle stages of DTs, and allowing extension, evolution and combination of existing DTs into a new object. NFTs are a revenue model for the Metaverse, virtual assets that have fuelled much of the Metaverse’s growth and which give unprecedented power to content creators. They represent a way of proving the existence and authenticity of content in the Metaverse.

Q - Z

Definition:

When a user has a consistently positive experience of a product, a long-lasting emotional attachment is formed. Designers strive to create these ‘wow’ user experiences for physical and digital products alike. When people interact with machines, the user experience is called the “user journey”. Communication occurs between the user and the system, and each touch point leaves a series of impressions that constitute the overall experience. The key is to design user journeys that deliver what customers need and make the experience enjoyable.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

In the Metaverse, user experience is immersive, a shift ‘from pages to stages’. Users need to experience the 3D digital environment in sufficient detail to spot anything that requires investigation or intervention. A successful user experience in the Metaverse means processing information quickly and making appropriate decisions based on visual evidence. Digital twins must mirror reality as closely as possible, creating a 3D immersion that brings the ‘wow’ of photorealism. With heightened user expectations, ever-greater UX designer skills are required to maintain a consistently positive user experience. In the Industrial Metaverse the applications will be user-centric contrary to task-oriented today.

Definition:

Virtual Reality (VR) presents a digitally rendered environment that can replicate an actual space, create an alternative reality or combine the two. The user is able to explore the virtual space from the confines of home, office or factory floor.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

VR offers game-changing opportunities to link people and spaces across physical and virtual spaces. The user’s immersion into the VR world allows interactions with objects and other users in that digital space. Typical devices used for the 3D immersion are VR goggles, and interaction with the VR space is typically enabled via VR controllers. In the Industrial Metaverse, the use of VR in conjunction with Digital Twins and Avatars allows users to collaborate for multiple purposes, including training, design reviews, simulations and inspections. The technology heralds an era of potential ‘low- or no-touch’ or ‘smart’ manufacturing and equipment maintenance in highly optimised and super-efficient factories and workshops.

Definition:

Web 3.0 represents the further evolution of the world wide web and the internet in general. The assets and governance in Web 3.0 are expected to be more decentralized, which is intended to provide end users with more control.

 

Contribution to the (Industrial) Metaverse:

The concepts of Web 3.0 and the (Industrial) Metaverse are interwoven. Web 3.0 will provide the basis for an open, interoperable and collaborative Metaverse, enabling users to own the assets within it and transfer and exchange them with other users. Web 3.0 will also bring decentralized governance to certain aspects of the Metaverse to improve user experience and usability. This general concept sets it apart from Web 2.0, in which data and content were more centralized. Another defining feature of Web 3.0 will be the use of blockchain technologies and token-based/cryptocurrency economics. It should also provide increased data security and scalability for users.