Siemens and Sony Partner on Metaverse Vision

Jan. 16, 2024
Combining Siemens Xcelerator software with a new VR headset from Sony will enable engineers to explore design concepts in an immersive workspace.

The industrial metaverse is an idea for which the basic building blocks are now being  implemented across industry as part of a general digital transformation. A key technology  component of the industrial metaverse is, of course, the cloud, which is already being used  to access systems and data from any device at any time and enable interaction with co- workers in real time regardless of location. Coupling the cloud with artificial intelligence  (AI) gives the industrial metaverse the ability to access historical data, test concepts and  forecast new outcomes.

But much of the vision around any concept using the term metaverse tends to focus on the  use of virtual reality (VR) headsets to immerse the user into a simulation of a real world  setting they can interact with via the VR tech. And that’s where the industrial metaverse  vision and reality tend to diverge—at least for now.

Though immersive VR has been used for industrial training for years now, many of the  metaverse concepts proposed by automation technology suppliers are not always  connected to an immersive VR concept. Instead, most focus on the metaverse as an always- on world connecting factories, machines, data and people. The immersive aspects are  always a potential, but not a requirement of most industrial metaverse technologies, as  regular use of the headsets still revolves around user comfortability with the headsets for  extended periods of time.

Siemens and Sony, however, appear to be betting on immersive VR. The two companies  recently announced a partnership to introduce new technology for immersive engineering  that combines a Sony head-mounted display with Siemens’ Xcelerator design software.

The end product will be called the Siemens’ NX Immersive Designer, which combines the  Siemens Xcelerator portfolio of software with Sony’s new spatial content creation system,  featuring the XR head-mounted display with 4K OLED microdisplays and controllers for  interaction with 3D objects. The headset features the Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 Platform, the  latest XR processor by Qualcomm Technologies.  

Though Sony plans to collaborate with developers of a variety of 3D production software, at  launch, Sony is exclusively partnering with Siemens on this Xcelerator-related project.

The Siemens’ NX Immersive Designer is expected to be available in late 2024. 

“We envision the industrial metaverse as a virtual world that is nearly indistinguishable  from reality, enabling people—along with AI—to collaborate in real time to address real- world challenges,” said Siemens CEO Roland Busch during the announcement of this  partnership at CES 2024. “This will empower customers to accelerate innovation, enhance  sustainability and adopt new technologies faster and at scale, leading to a profound  transformation of entire industries and our everyday lives.”

About the Author

David Greenfield, editor in chief | Director of Content

David Greenfield joined Automation World in June 2011. Bringing a wealth of industry knowledge and media experience to his position, David’s contributions can be found in AW’s print and online editions and custom projects. He is also the chief program architect of the annual Automation World Conference & Expo. Earlier in his career, David was Editorial Director of Design News at UBM Electronics, and prior to joining UBM, he was Editorial Director of Control Engineering at Reed Business Information, where he also worked on Manufacturing Business Technology as Publisher. 

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