Industry urged to embrace metaverse
Metaverse technology can be applied to the manufacturing sector to improve the efficiency of supply chain management, particularly in the automotive and electronics industries, says Kasikorn Research Center (K-Research).
The metaverse, which is the immersive virtual environment that supports various online interactions, has become a popular technology trend being pursued by various tech giants, including Facebook, which changed its name to Meta in October last year to reflect its move towards the concept.
While the metaverse is touted as a new business opportunity in the consumer market, K-Research pointed out that the technology could also be applied to the industrial sector.
Metaverse technology can help level up the effectiveness of supply chain management, ranging from product designs to procurement, and manufacturing to inventory.
Products, machinery and factory landscapes can feature in virtual form, called a digital twin, or a virtual representation of an object or a system.
In the US, chipmakers use digital twin technology for chip designs and tests, K-Research indicated in its report.
Designers can adjust shapes and experiment with new materials and components through collaboration with various experts in real time, including engineers and material experts.
The move could help shorten the design process, K-Research said.
In procurement, manufacturers can share 3D prototypes of parts in order to find the best parts makers.
Regarding the production process, manufacturers can build virtual factories in the metaverse to better organise the layout for production lines and machinery at the facilities and simulate how humans and machinery can work in sync during the production process.
Manufacturers can use the virtual production line to teach new staff before they start working and engage in remote maintenance and machinery control through the metaverse.
The metaverse can also be used for inventory management, the research unit pointed out.
The virtual warehouse could accommodate stock layout before it can be applied to the physical practice.
With the integration of data in physical warehouses into the virtual realm, employees can search for information about the products, the locations where they are kept and the quantities of the items, as well as real-time orders.
Virtual warehouse handling has been seen in a major electronics firm in South Korea and a big automaker in Japan.
According to K-Research, the use of metaverse technology in industry supply chains requires proper protection of data by the stakeholders involved.
Manufacturers also need to assess costs and returns from the business in the face of metaverse investment.
In Thailand, manufacturers of vehicles, electrical appliances and electronic items can leverage metaverse technology since there are many big players in these fields with knowledge of the use of new technology and engagement in complex supply chain networks, said K-Research.