Microsoft has partnered with Kawasaki for industrial metaverse – Reuters

You may not be ready to jump into the metaverse for the fun of it, but it may come sooner than you think.

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that Kawasaki is a new customer for the so-called “industrial metaverse” of the technology giant-a nice way to say that factory workers will wear HoloLens helmets to assist in production, repair and supply chain management. He will use helmets to help make robots.

HoloLens, first launched in 2016, allows the wearer to experience augmented reality, putting the digital image in a real environment. For Microsoft’s industrial metaverse, that means integrating many of the company’s technologies, such as cloud computing, to help factory workers and managers create products faster and more efficiently.

The idea is to create what Microsoft calls a “digital twin” in a workspace, which will speed up processes like repairs and starting new production lines. For example, instead of calling a repair person to go to the factory to fix a broken part, a HoloLens can be used to chat with on-site workers and guide them through healing process with amplified visual cues. It also allows managers to use digital twin to boost new production when needed — which Microsoft says is a way to prevent supply chain issues.

Kawasaki has joined Heinz, which recently announced that it will use Microsoft’s industrial metaverse in ketchup factories, and Boeing as manufacturing partners.

Even if it seems like a gimmick, it’s something Microsoft customers are demanding as the buzz builds around the metaverse concept. Jessica Hawk, vice president of mixed reality at Microsoft, told CNBC in an interview last week that the industrial metaverse is a taste of what technology can do today before it becomes fully immersive in the future.

“That’s why I think you see a lot of energy in this space,” Hawk said. “These are real-world issues that these companies face … so having a technology solution that can help unlock the supply chain challenge, for example, has a tremendous impact.”

Microsoft’s booming business speaks volumes about the state of the metaverse. While we’ve heard promises of a sci-fi future where everyone works, plays, and interacts with virtual reality, today’s gadgets are more about business-related apps than the app needs of average consumers.

For example, Meta’s upcoming mixed reality headset is more expensive than its $ 299 virtual reality headset and will be sold to people who want to feel “present” while working remotely. In fact, one of the first metaverse Meta products was an app that allowed you to create virtual reality meetings.

But the difference is that Microsoft is leading the way, and it’s actually selling its mixed reality technology to businesses today while giving developers the tools they need to create their own metaverse experiences.

“We really see diversity in how we run our strategy here recognizing that people can experience the metaverse across different devices and platforms,” Hawk said.

That means metaverse products also work on 2D screens, like the new features Microsoft added to its Teams chat app last year where people can appear as digital avatars. These types of features may be translated into headsets and other platforms in the future.

“We’re so excited that this is a moment in time that opens up a lot of innovation,” Hawk said. A few things we can understand now. And we know many, many more things that we don’t yet fully know. So it was a very exciting time for us. ”

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