What does the enterprise metaverse mean for IT/OT convergence?
Jie Li, Founder and CEO of DataMesh, illustrates the relationship between IT and OT, the main challenges of convergence, how the Digital Twin/Enterprise Metaverse can be a solution to this, and what a platform should look like. form of digital twin in today’s world. cloud age.
About a decade ago, I was working as a program manager for Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365. At that time, we were exploring opportunities to empower more users through mobile + data + cloud, rather than focusing solely on traditional Microsoft Office suites for information workers. were aiming.
One of the potential areas I investigated was frontline workers with AR glasses – yes, I was probably the first and only Microsoft employee to wear Google Glass every day on the Redmond campus without removing it.
Then something came to me. Although the Google Glass project was widely seen as a failed attempt (remember Glasshole?), the AR + data experience concept gave me a glimpse into the future of digitization – IT infrastructure will be the fundamental support of front-line workers. Mining data will seek out those who need it (instead of waiting to be discovered), maximizing their ability to get the best results in no time. And IT will be the newcomer to supporting production operations; the platform will enable the future of the modern workplace revolution.
Prior to cloud transformation, which became a new mandate amid the pandemic, IT and OT were two isolated workloads – IT workloads were about day-to-day IT support, capacity planning, high availability, cybersecurity, compliance, e-discovery, etc. ensuring that information workers can have convenient productivity tools to create content, but most content doesn’t make sense to IT professionals – that’s the breaking point of IT and OT. Even today, although more and more CIOs have started to take on IT-OT responsibilities, it is still difficult to implement a data-driven culture and move towards a data-driven organization.
Learn more: Why OT environments are under attack and what organizations can do about it
Think of a scenario where a maintenance worker needs BIM and IoT sensor data from a specific machine room. How can IT provide this immediately? This information resides inside enterprise data silos that have traditionally not been accessible to IT professionals or frontline workers. Sure, you can create custom solutions using BIM engines and IoT hubs, but the cost of maintaining such a system gets silly over time. These solutions are more like a snapshot than a living document – they don’t grow with your operations. We need a digital twin platform focused on dynamic processes to solve this problem.
It might not be very simple to understand, but now there is a fancy name: Enterprise Metaverse. The name itself doesn’t matter – what matters is why we need Digital Twin or Enterprise Metaverse to converge IT/OT.
What are the TEMS motivations?
Here is the principle of motivation. The key motivations for organizations to adopt digital twin-based frontline solutions can be summarized in the following four categories – TEMS motivations:
- Training and Orientation: Based on the digital twin and 3D instructions of equipment, IoT data and environment, we can improve the ability of frontline workers to operate and maintain facilities and increase productivity. Compared to traditional operational training, we have seen a reduction in training costs > 60% and an increase in productivity > 30% for many industrial customers.
- Live: By fully visualizing the digital twin of facilities and equipment, the new experience enables potential buyers and learners to quickly improve their knowledge of unfamiliar environments at a lower cost without interfering with the production environment.
- Monitor and control: A well-connected digital twin environment can enable better operations based on real-time data, with capabilities for remote maintenance, inspection and control. The idea of monitoring and controlling sounds simple enough, but it’s the toughest job in the real world – the lack of meaningful data collection and control mechanisms in place is a common problem today.
- Simulation: Simulation based on the digital twin of installations and equipment. With a playful approach to building and managing the facility’s digital twin environment, it can now be used as a simulation game, like SimCity. Such simulation emphasizes the relationship and operation mechanism between equipment. Digital twin objects can be set with behavior trees and AI, making them act like NPCs in games. Production data can be fed into such a simulation runtime environment – to make it a living environment for large-scale remote planning, training, prediction and management.
Frontline workers need to be empowered by TEMS motivations
Once the motivational goals are defined, we need to understand the barriers to adoption. There are two important barriers when we talk about digital transformation: the technology barrier and the data governance barrier. The same goes for the digital twin and the enterprise metaverse. Where is the data? Is the data only accessible to the right person with the right permissions? Does the data type meet the consumption requirements of the application? Should the data be convergent and integrated? Do we understand our commercial nature? How do we solve business challenges with data?
Understanding the Right Enterprise Assets for Convergence
For CIOs to converge IT/OT, we not only need to understand the development environment, 3D tools, ERP and MES, but also think about product and platform standardization. It can be very easy to fall into the trap of customization development and go from failure to failure. Therefore, we need to treat business assets with the right platform and the right digital twin tools. The platform should be able to provide a standard digital transformation capability for the various business assets.
- Data Assets: For a well-established digital twin platform, efficient use of the organization’s data assets should be one of the standard capabilities of the platform. Accessing different types of data at low cost and having that data standardized and organized is one of the long-term challenges of enterprise data governance. One of the theoretical advantages of the metaverse/digital twin is the structured presentation of 3D data, which is more conducive to viewing and working with data assets with non-professionals. Therefore, the standard transformation of existing 3D data, such as CAD/BIM, should be a high priority. This way, business application developers can have a standard way to access 3D assets and can focus on connecting IoT, business, and process.
- Process and workflow assets: The business process is always the essential asset of the operation. These processes are the epitome of a real business. Traditional business process management often focuses on approval, reimbursement, document flow, and other operational issues, which have been well addressed in existing collaboration platforms. However, in the manufacturing, construction, facility operation and maintenance industries, operating process systems are typically isolated, making it difficult to describe and reuse these processes across all industries. systems. Integrating process assets into the twin digital platform will break down information silos and directly empower frontline staff.
- Collaborative assets: Human and organizational relationships are essential to quickly exploit the capacities and resources of experts. These collaborative relationships and histories are also essential in the digital twin platform, and the platform must be able to access and integrate with enterprise LDAP and people systems.
- Knowledge assets: The knowledge assets referred to here are the knowledge accumulated in the collaborative process, usually in knowledge management systems, work order systems and massive document archives. The future digital/enterprise twin metaverse platform must have automated knowledge mining and natural language processing capabilities to process this data and generate knowledge graphs that can automatically assist frontline staff.
Learn more: The commercial metaverse and the future of work
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Convergence for business success
A “metaverse” that can only be rendered on large screens and high-quality GPUs will only sit in showrooms and will not help frontline workers benefit from digital transformation. For organizations to achieve IT/OT convergence, the platform must ensure ease of use. It should simplify design processes, reuse digital assets, and provide a robust SDK that requires little or no code capabilities. After all, it’s impossible to train end users to use game development engines like Unity3D and Unreal to design business processes, a barrier to mass adoption. The democratization digital twins should be an adoption goal.
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