May 20, 2022: Your aerospace or defense business is about to enter a whole new world: the metaverse. Aviation Week talks with Accenture aerospace and defense leaders about how, and specifically when, the sector will migrate and what it means for completing the mission, serving customers and making money.
The Metaverse Continuum is a spectrum of digitally enhanced worlds, realities and business models poised to revolutionize life and enterprise in the next decade. Going forward, every organization needs to become a metaverse business. The continuum of digitally enhanced worlds, realities and business models that make up the metaverse will encompass three key aspects. It utilizes multiple technologies, from cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) to extended reality (XR), blockchain, digital twins, edge technologies and beyond. The metaverse offers “virt-real” experiences that range from purely virtual to a blend of virtual and physical. And it deploys transformed and reimagined business applications across the enterprise.
To harness this opportunity, aerospace and defence companies will need to evolve their core businesses and key customer experiences into new products and services made for the metaverse. Leaders should start reimagining their business now, including how they will maximize value in the products and services they sell, support and operate, and the approach they will take to their customers and ecosystems.
of aerospace and defense executives say that continuous advances in technology inform their organization’s long-term strategy more reliably than economic, political, or social trends
Technology and experiences reshaping the industry
To capture the metaverse’s potential, aerospace and defense companies must harness four key technology trends to reimagine every dimension of their enterprise.
WebMe: Putting the Me in Metaverse
WebMe brings together two innovations simultaneously transforming the virtual world. The metaverse will reimagine digital experiences, letting users move beyond browsing to inhabit digital content. Web3 developments improve the underlying provenance, veracity and value of data, through a more distributed data layer. Together, these efforts redefine how data shapes digital experiences and spur businesses to rethink their presence online.
Aerospace and defense companies have been investing in AR and VR solutions for various uses, including MRO, aircraft inspections, and workforce training. Their initiatives to shape future platform transformation will enable them to create new ways to connect to customers, partners, and their digital workforce.
of aerospace and defense executives believe the metaverse will have a positive impact on their organizations
see the metaverse as a breakthrough or transformational, and happening within the next 4 years
Programmable World: Our Planet, Personalized
The programmable world is the next revolution reshaping our relationship to the physical environment. Multiple technologies — 5G, ambient computing, AR, smart materials and more — are embedding into our physical world in increasingly sophisticated ways. This unlocks unprecedented abilities for control, automation, and personalization. It will make new physical experiences, and business models, possible.
The programmable world introduces a new competitive landscape for enterprises, with vast opportunities to lead. Aerospace and defense companies encounter this trend’s potential in a wide range of AR use cases, from designing new connected environments and operations, to configuring hyper-personalized and automated real-world experiences, to launching the next generation of products and services made from novel materials.
The foundations of the programmable world are interoperable data and intelligent digital services that augment the physical world. Business leaders will be pushed to reimagine some of the most basic assumptions about their industries, and their enterprises.
of aerospace and defense executives believe programming the physical environment will emerge as a competitive differentiation in their industry
3. The Unreal: Making the Synthetic, Authentic
AI algorithms are getting better at creating synthetic data, images, voice and video experiences. Enterprises are using AI more in collaborative and creative roles. So they must address questions about what’s real, what’s not, and when the difference matters. Bad actors use the same technologies to create deepfakes and disinformation that undermine people’s trust.
For aerospace and defense companies, the risk of malicious AI raises several security concerns and constitutes the biggest hurdle for enterprises looking to grow their use of AI. Handling it well could accrue to companies’ strategic advantage, while dealing with it poorly could damage their reputation.
Technologies will be essential to demonstrate authenticity: deploying AI for legitimate purposes and verifying the provenance of digital content and identity, such as through distributed ledger technologies (DLT).
of aerospace and defense executives report that their organizations are committed to authenticating the origin of their data and genuine use of AI
4. Computing: New Machines, New Possibilities
A new class of machines is emerging that pushes the limits of what is computationally possible. Quantum, biologically-inspired, and high-performance computers (HPC) enable companies to tackle large, systemic challenges in faster and more efficient ways.
Companies will need to develop strategies to navigate this change and stay at the forefront of innovation. Addressing more complex problems will require collaboration, and alliances will redraw industry lines. A growing talent shortage will further drive the need for next-generation computing partnerships and consortia, to access scarce hardware and expertise. Accordingly, organizations should plan to invest in technology or startups, and to partner with others over the next three years.
of aerospace and defense executives say quantum computing will have a breakthrough or transformational positive impact on their organizations in the future
Gaining momentum in the metaverse
Aerospace and defense executives will need to identify how metaverse capabilities can enhance products and services and create entirely new ones. Creativity and evolution of the vision are critical to unlock value and growth.
Companies should embrace a three-point approach to reap rewards in a future powered by metaverse principles and digital technologies:
Set strategy Identify how metaverse capabilities can enhance and create entirely new products and services unlocking value and growth and define the roadmap, partners, and solutions required to operate in the metaverse safely and securely
Learn and shape Shape a vision to drive metaverse strategies and operating models, and learn about relevant use cases already out there
Implement and adapt Use 3D spaces and digital twins to engage customers and organizations, and develop new ways of designing, building and supporting products and business operations