Microsoft makes the metaverse real for B2B

The company has teamed up with French firm Cosmo Tech, an expert in digital twins, to pilot the first uses of the metaverse with its common customers, particularly in facilities.

Since Meta ads – the new name of Facebook, the term metavers has appeared on everyone’s lips. However, the web giant warned that it was only at the beginning of the adventure: Nothing would see the light of day before 2022. For its part, Microsoft is going a step further by adapting its Microsoft Azure Digital Twins platform for metaverse applications in order to make the concept now real. for manufacturers. In addition to the announcements on Teams (read our article, Microsoft Teams publishes metaverse to take on Facebook), Microsoft is collaborating with French Cosmo Tech, an expert on digital twins, to develop first uses “that combine the physical and digital world in a simultaneous and synchronous way”.

The goal of the BtoB metaverse: “Help business leaders improve their operations by giving them the means to visualize their processes and systems because their main problem is to gain insight into the impact of their choices in the short, medium and long term.” , explains Hugues de Pantel, CEO and co-founder of Cosmo Tech. The metaverse is “an assembly of a certain number of technological bricks,” explains Xavier Perret, director of Azure at Microsoft France, who sees the metaverse as a continuity of the group’s products. “The bottom of the pyramid consists first of the Internet of Things, which collects data. Above comes the simulations of digital twins. Then we add bricks, such as mapping, artificial intelligence, etc., before visualizing everything with a layer of mixed reality. All of these technologies are available and we have Already have customers to try uses in the metaverse.”

To illustrate their vision of metaverse, the two partners take the example of running a wind farm for their demonstrations, which they conducted at the Seydoux Lyon trade fair on September 22 and 23 (and again at Seydoux Paris on November 9 and November 10). Equipped with a Hololens helmet, Arnaud Fontaine, Sales Director of IoT Solutions Europe, shows on screen what is before his eyes: a representation of a wind farm, where one of the fixtures flashes red. By selecting it, its IoT data appears in the center of the screen in real time and dashboard analysis warns of a poor performance issue. With the tap of a finger, Arnaud Fontaine displays future weather data and energy price forecasts in one corner of the screen. A curve on one side of the screen attests to his maintenance plan. Depending on these elements, the park manager will be able to adapt the production of these wind turbines. Microsoft and Cosmo Tech collaborate with several utilities for this use in North America.

“The ROI is immediate when applied to systems where there is interconnection”

This example is valid, according to the actors, for any complex system. In retail, for example, the metaverse makes it possible to represent everything that happens in a distribution store to determine which shelves are poorly filled or how often to open them to improve performance. “It takes no more than three to four months to derive value from it and the ROI is immediate when applied to systems where there is interconnection,” says Hugues de Bantel.

In France, Microsoft and Cosmo Tech have already started working with the Paris-Sclay municipal community, first on the digital twins: “The latter signed the climate charter in 2019 and their problem today is deciding how to improve their development policies and what should be” locating and scaling energy sources Various sources (geothermal energy, gas, biomass, etc.) while reducing the carbon footprint and increasing the quality of service for citizens. This can only be assessed by synchronizing all the data, then we will add uses in the metaverse,” says Hugues de Bantel, satisfied with the first results. The choices made in Longjumeau municipality reduced the carbon footprint by 75%.

The priority at the end of 2021 for the two partners is twofold: to ensure that all metaverse bricks are well integrated into the Microsoft platform and to develop uses on media other than Hololens headphones and tablets. Xavier Perret concludes, “The concept of the metaverse is still complex, and we have to demonstrate all possibilities through other uses.”

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