Skip to main content Skip to footer


How is the metaverse transforming utilities

5-minute read

September 9, 2022

In July, we published our annual Utilities Technology Vision, and I encourage anyone with an interest in the future of the utilities industry to read it. In recent years, Technology Vision took a near-term view of how the utility industry will change. This year we look further ahead, at how the metaverse ushers in a wave of digital change, providing forward-looking utilities with opportunity to succeed in a different future.

Our industry has already undergone significant disruption but, in terms of maturity, the energy transition is only just reaching adolescence. We are entering a far more rapid and disruptive phase, which requires a complete re-imagination of utility strategies. It’s an exciting time to work with so many clients on their transformation journeys. As the speed of change accelerates, it is perfect timing to describe how the industry may look in just a few years’ time. 

Introducing the Metaverse Continuum

The way energy is produced, consumed and sold will be revolutionized by a continuum of technology and experience, which we call the “Metaverse Continuum,” a spectrum of rapidly emerging capabilities, use cases, technologies and experiences.

It applies across all aspects of a utility business, touching consumers, the workforce and assets; from reality to virtual; from 2D to 3D; and from cloud and artificial intelligence to extended reality, blockchain, digital twins, edge technologies and beyond. That is a long list, but it must be. The energy world will change dramatically, and utilities must completely reimagine their approach to entirely new business models.

Radical technologies that support radical change

When you define the energy industry’s future, you realize the scale of the changes required. Soon, EVs, heat pumps, renewables, and storage will be ubiquitous. All new buildings will be net zero in construction and operation, and connect seamlessly with local energy markets.

What fascinates me most is what comes next, because the energy transition will not stop there. Green hydrogen starts to scale, and other innovations emerge. Induction charging for EVs. New coatings turn anything into a solar panel. Transporting hydrogen fuel cells negates the need for wire-based transmission. Space-based solar beams energy back to Earth.

No utility can run these new business models on their existing technology foundation. Every single one must transform to survive in this new world. The winners will be those who best equip themselves now in preparation for this very different future. How will they do this? In Technology Vision, we identify four key trends:

WebMe - putting the me in metaverse

This year’s Technology Vision demystifies the metaverse and its relevance for utilities. The metaverse provides a holistic view of evolving customer relationships, throughout the energy transition. Remember, the metaverse is not abstract. We’re already doing things in the metaverse, we just don’t call it that right now.


Scott Tinkler

Senior Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Utilities Global and North America Lead


of utilities executives agree that leading organizations will push the boundaries of the virtual world to make it more real, increasing the need for persistence and seamless navigation between the digital and physical worlds.

It’s the evolution of the combination of humans and machines. It starts with today’s use of digital twins and conversational AI, and ends with completely new business models. The metaverse envisions a persistent 3D environment, with its own sense of place, where moving from work to a social platform is as simple as walking across the street. For utilities, it enables a much wider and diverse experience, whether you’re managing EV charging, local energy markets, energy efficiency, data collection, collaboration with third parties, or employee safety.

The Unreal

The utility industry will increasingly be filled with machines that are passably human. Many areas across the utility value chain will benefit from The Unreal. Personalized chatbots will help the least tech-savvy customers make the right choices and feel safe. Completely new business models will be built around billions of sensors and automation software. Local-level network balancing will be fully automated by algorithms in real-time.

96% of utilities executives agree that their organizations are committed to authenticating the origin of their data and genuine use of AI.

However, the benefits of The Unreal can only be realized if the industry pays sufficient attention to its inherent challenges. Embedding intelligence into critical national infrastructure exposes the industry to malicious actors. We’re already helping utilities embed security into their DNA, so they can safely leapfrog into the energy transition. The future energy system is unique and there are few industries that utilities can learn from. Our clients are becoming advanced security pioneers, and will be the world leaders that other industries will look to in the future.

The programmable world

Of course, nothing is possible without data. A lot of data. A data revolution will support the evolution of the energy industry. All new technologies connected to the grid will be connected, in generation, transmission, distribution, at the meter and in customer premises.

92% of utilities executives agree that “AI is becoming pervasive across my organization’s business processes.”

Improved sensing creates accurate data, which feeds advanced analytics, which creates deeper and more meaningful insights. That’s where I believe the real revolution occurs. New data ecosystems will evolve that support new business models, which require new approaches to data architecture to ensure interoperability. Software-defined power networks will emerge where intelligence is functionally separate from asset hardware. With these networks in place, grid operators could send pricing signals to potentially billions of devices.

Computing the impossible

Like the metaverse and energy transition, the world of high-performance computing is evolving on a continuum, rapidly but incrementally changing. It will soon reset the boundaries of utility operations. That’s because the extent to which processes can be automated is limited by what is computationally possible.

73% of utilities executives are planning to partner with others in the next three years to address previously unsolvable problems using next generation computing.

A new generation of machines will help utilities tackle fundamental challenges. The impossible becomes solvable, forcing a reinvention of entire processes and a redefinition of the art of the possible. Once utilities can make sense of billions of data points in real-time, a whole new world of business models is made possible.

We are entering a new phase of the energy transition, from early to mass adoption. Utilities must prepare themselves for rapidly changing customer requirements. The Metaverse Continuum will provide the foundation for the new products, services, and revenue models that will emerge over the coming decades. Accenture is already helping many utility clients prepare for the challenges ahead. Get in touch to find out how the Metaverse Continuum can help you on your energy transition journey.