We will learn about Metaverse and its role in supply chain management. Let us understand about Metaverse first. The term “Metaverse” was coined by Neal Stephenson in his science fiction novel “Snow Crash” in 1992. It is described as a virtual environment that exists independently of the actual world and is an “integrated network of 3D virtual worlds.”
The Greek prefix meta (“beyond”) and the English term universe are combined to form the phrase “metaverse.” In other words, this term refers to the next internet generation, which is based on providing consumers with immersive, multisensory experiences by utilizing a variety of technologies. Multiverse, a word referring to the presence of numerous universes, and the term “metaverse” are sometimes confused.
The Metaverse is “a blend of virtual reality and mixed reality environments accessed through a browser or headset, which allows users to have real-time interactions and experiences across distance,” according to Forbes.
At the moment, humans join the Metaverse through virtual reality technology. Through the VR headset, you enter this sensory-driven, lifelike world. Through the use of their avatars, other people and your avatar can communicate online. There are variations of this, such as augmented reality, which fuses digital and actual settings.
Initially, 3D glasses were used in movie theatres and then on home TVs to fully immerse consumers in the virtual world. The main goal was to immerse you in that setting, but it was unsuccessful. However, perhaps this served as inspiration for disgruntled techies to develop a truly immersive virtual world.
Thus, the metaverse constitutes a new generation in internet connectivity, characterized by:
Interactivity: the user can communicate with other users, physical objects, or any virtual scenario that appears.
Simulation: the environment is subject to the laws of physics as if it were a real scenario. This ensures that the user has first-person access and a multisensory experience (VR).
Decentralized environment: ownership of the simulated realities is distributed and can be sold by users.
Persistent reality: disconnecting temporarily from the metaverse does not mean that virtual activity stops.
Recent metaverse examples in the industry
For businesses trying to differentiate themselves from the competition and enhance their customer experience by promoting their products through virtual reality, the metaverse is now a reality. This is evident, for instance, in Zepeto, a metaverse where users may communicate with one another and customize their avatars with apparel from various brands. This platform, which is worth over $1 billion, already hosts Ralph Lauren, Gucci, and Zara.
Siemens, a German telecom corporation, initiated a metaverse initiative in the meantime to promote a virtual metropolis. It used cutting-edge metaverse-related technology, like digital twins, to simulate the decarbonization of a Berlin neighborhood.
There are programs that design workflows, generate digital twins, find inefficiencies, and increase productivity in the sectors of production and logistics. The new Nvidia Omniverse software used by BMW is one example. However, not just production centers can benefit from the metaverse’s advantages. Digital twins and warehouse simulation can both improve the effectiveness of supply chain management and logistics procedures. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang stated that businesses can use the metaverse to lower their operating expenses in an interview with CNBC.
Virtual Supply Chain
A virtual supply chain (VSC) can replicate every element of your real supply chain through a digital version of it. A VSC system, like a virtual reality gadget, can show you what is happening, forecast the future, and identify potential problems that may arise in the event of demand shifts, shortages, or other supply chain interruptions.
The best in-store experiences and customer care may be combined with the convenience of online shopping thanks to the metaverse in eCommerce. Consumer purchasing patterns will be significantly changed by the multidimensional capacity to mix products, describe their features, and reply to any inquiries in real time before purchasing while staying at home.
Digital connections can be transformed by the metaverse, and this will have a big impact on e-consumer behavior as well as organizational structures, procedures, and processes. Given that the human mind exhibits the same emotional experiences and reactions in VR/AR as it does in reality, it is not unusual to see renowned corporations launch online shops for certain product lines. For instance, there is a lot of interest in retail clothes, which already attracts millions of daily visitors to the many metaverse sites.
The metaverse and Supply Chain
New Supply Chain experiences in a digital world, ones we have never had before, could be made possible via the metaverse.
To provide a fully immersive, multi-sensory user experience, the metaverse makes use of cutting-edge technologies like 5G, the Industrial IoT, and VR. For companies in all industries and fields of endeavor, this technology gives up a wide range of opportunities, from new consumer connection channels, exhibitions, product samples, and virtual trade shows to new business models made possible by blockchain and NFT technology.
All Supply Chain layers could benefit from increased internal and external communication, thanks to the metaverse. A direct collaborative approach with suppliers is made possible by increased connectivity possibilities, which lowers production costs and speeds up value chain synchronization. The end-to-end chain will become transparent and responsive thanks to this connectivity, which will also facilitate seamless and effective cost discussions between suppliers and customers.
At the moment, stakeholders, employees, investors, and clients want to know more about the sources of raw materials, as well as who makes the components and where they are finished. They want transparency about the environmental impact and other side effects on the supply chains they are working with. The metaverse will increase supply chain transparency by providing 3D representations of how businesses create, deliver, and advertise their goods. Interested parties gain increased visibility into:
(i) lead times
(ii) real-time shipping costs
(iii) transit times
The Supply Chain will become more confident, trustworthy, and efficient as a result of this transparency and visibility.
Before the physical form is developed, warehouse planning can be enhanced, experienced, and tested in the metaverse, saving time and money from concept to reality. Improved and more effective warehouse designs and better working conditions will result from this.
One of the business sectors that stands to gain the most from the metaverse’s development is logistics. This new technology would make it easier to integrate the various supply chain linkages, eliminate cost overruns, and optimize procedures. The metaverse’s obvious powers provide a wealth of advantages and uses. Executive Supply Chain leadership decisions will be heavily influenced by technologies like the metaverse because they allow for innovative planning strategies, expedited virtual experimentation, and accelerated time to market for new products.