From beer breweries on opposite ends of the globe to aircraft technicians in isolated airports, telecoms infrastructure firm Nokia has been looking for ways to use the metaverse to aid workers in remote locations.
Nokia, who many remember as a manufacturer of consumer mobile devices, has since pivoted into developing technology and equipment that “delivers the internet.”
Robert Joyce, chief technology officer of Nokia Oceania, told Cointelegraph that part of those plans also includes delivering the metaverse.
“Nokia set up two labs last year to really look at the Metaverse and the technologies that underpin the Metaverse.”
Last year, Nokia began collaborating with an Australian university to deliver a 5G-connected microbrewery using metaverse technology, noted Joyce.
Using augmented reality (AR), researchers from a brewery tech lab at the University of Technology Sydney have been working alongside researchers from a twin facility at Dortmund University in Germany.
“They actually do joint experiments where they brew beer, they change the process, the temperature, the timings, the volumes, the recipes [...] and they feed back all of that brewing process into the digital twin,” he explained.
“Then they can actually simulate brewing in the digital twin so they can perfect the beer in the digital space."
Meanwhile, in South Australia, Joyce said Nokia that has been using the metaverse to potentially assist Cessna aircraft technicians at remote airports.
“We worked with a company that had a virtual Cessna aircraft [...] You’ve got a Cessna in front of you, and then you have an audio instruction in your ear to tell you how to change the wheel, or change a part on the engine," said Joyce.
“We had a 5G connected Microsoft HoloLens and we were able to instruct people on how to service a Cessna using augmented reality in this case.”
Earlier this month, Nokia global chief strategy and technology officer Nishant Batra told the World Economic Forum (WEF) that the metaverse will have the biggest immediate impact on industries, rather than the consumer market.
“Ports have begun using digital twins to track every container on their docks, no matter how deeply they are buried in stacks. Aerospace companies are building engines and fuselages in the digital world to simulate exactly how an aircraft will fly – long before they tool its first mechanical part,” wrote Batra in a Jan. 13 WEF op-ed.
The industrial #metaverse promises to fundamentally change the way we work, whilst driving productivity, boosting safety, and enabling new levels of flexibility.— Nokia (@nokia) January 13, 2023
Find out more ahead of Davos in this blog from Nokia’s Nishant Batra. ▶️ https://t.co/BiDWssGfm0 @wef #WEF23 pic.twitter.com/d6Jfg5mk2G
Joyce agreed with the statement, adding he doesn’t expect the “consumer metaverse” to take off until 2030.
He said by next year there will be five times the revenue spent on the “industrial metaverse” compared to the consumer or enterprise metaverse.
“The technology is not there yet, the technology is clunky,” said Joyce, referring to currently available consumer metaverse devices.
“It’s not the best experience to have a Quest 2 on your head for a couple of hours, and it’s not until people get to the augmented reality wearables that are comfortable [and] mass-produced.”
“We see this three or five-year lag before we actually see massive uptake in consumer virtual reality or augmented reality services.”
Related: An overview of the metaverse in 2022
Asked how blockchain will play a part in the future of the metaverse, Joyce was optimistic that the technology will be key when payments or a transfer of assets is involved.
“Clearly if you wanted integrity within a metaverse, then blockchain will play a part,” said Joyce.
“If I was going to buy a house next to Snoop Dogg’s and want to ensure that it couldn’t be lifted and shifted and copied, that's where blockchain is quite useful in terms of maintaining uniqueness in a digital space.”
Joyce, however, said that he doesn’t believe blockchain is a necessity in all applications.
“It’s not an essential underpinning technology for the metaverse but I’m glad we’ve got it [...] and it will be used in the metaverse,” he concluded.