A deep dive into the industrial metaverse
A data deluge is underway in heavy industrial sectors, thanks to the proliferation of IIoT sensors and the adoption of Industry 4.0.
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Welcome to the Industrial Metaverse.
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As the industrial world moves toward the “autonomous factory” and Industry 4.0, modernization of existing facilities requires the ability to process and contextualize massive amounts of data that continue to grow exponentially. Many companies are already struggling with data overload as more devices are connected, system generated data accelerates, and Industrial (IIOT) sensors are increasingly deployed. And yet, we are still in the early stages with significant digital transformation to come over the next decade and beyond.
The promise of Industry 4.0 provides unprecedented levels of automation and control, but this will not happen overnight – rather, it will be a step-by-step journey with immense benefits to be realized along the way. Throughout this journey, humans will remain the most critical and yet the most unpredictable link in the control systems of these facilities, potentially leading to undesirable results if each step is not carefully planned and executed.
With mountains of data as the necessary fuel to make the autonomous factory run, it’s essential this data be organized and presented in an intuitive way so that humans can quickly understand, plan, and simulate each step of the journey before it’s put into production. Furthermore, the data visualizations that are intuitive for the business analyst, using increasingly sophisticated cloud and analytics technologies, are vastly different from what will allow the operations worker to make practical use of the data to take action on the shop floor, within the refinery, construction site and other operational settings.
The IT personas have a different focus and need from the OT (Operations Technology) personas—the so-called IT-OT gap. Without this understanding of the need for humans to interact and engage meaningfully with the data in a manner more suited to their role, guiding them to take data-driven action, the investment in digital transformation will not provide the expected benefits of extracting huge value in operational efficiencies and improving safety.