Digital and Physical Worlds Collide at CES 2024 

BrandStudio Author

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) needs no introduction. Held each year in Las Vegas, Nevada, this show sets the tone each year in January for how technology will evolve over the coming year. 

For CES 2024, Supplyframe’s BrandStudio team explored the show floor and captured several interviews with industry leaders and startups alike. Join us as we explore the major trends from CES 2024 and what the future holds for global electronics!  

The Industrial Metaverse Takes Center Stage 

This year’s keynote at CES 2024 was presented by Supplyframe’s parent company, Siemens. The President and CEO of Siemens AG, Roland Busch, took the stage to set the tone for what would drive this year’s conference. The main topic of discussion was the industrial metaverse and all the associated technologies that power this next wave of innovation and collaboration. 

Roland Busch’s keynote began with setting the stage. The world faces numerous challenges, from climate change to labor shortages, to rising food production requirements and biodiversity. The simple fact of the matter is that no one company or group can tackle these things alone. It requires collaboration.  

According to Busch, 2024 will be a turning point. Technology can now be designed, tested, and built faster by combining the real and digital worlds. In an industry where mistakes cost billions, design cycles take years, and demand is ever-rising, the industrial metaverse is the key to a path forward. 

In the industrial metaverse, the physical and digital worlds are in sync, allowing people to collaborate with the help of AI in real time. Today, engineers can simulate anything they want in the digital world down to the most granular detail. 

“The industrial metaverse will redefine reality and transform the everyday, for everyone.”

Roland Busch, President and CEO of Siemens AG

Not only can they envision it, but they can understand how it will perform, predict potential issues, and iterate in the digital space before a single part is ordered or a single block of concrete is laid. Iterations that generally would take years now happen in seconds within the digital realm.

Innovation Across Industries on the Show Floor 

The Supplyframe BrandStudio team learned more about these innovations at the Siemens booth on the show floor, where we spoke with Lynette Jackson, Chief Communications Officer at Siemens AG. 

Lynette reiterated the focus on the industrial metaverse from the keynote presentation as the beginning of the conference, expanding on some examples of the technology in action, particularly surrounding Red Bull Racing. 

We also visited the Caterpillar (CAT) booth to learn about innovations surrounding electric underground mining equipment. This is a significant innovation, given the concerns that come with vehicles that produce exhaust in an underground space. These new designs have zero exhaust, making them ideal for mining operations. 

We also caught up with Meta to learn how their Quest 3 headset is used to design and develop all technologies, illustrating how VR is a key part of the industrial metaverse. 

At the John Deere booth, our team witnessed a live feed of a fully autonomous farm vehicle over 1,300 miles away, automating planting and harvesting on a real-world farm. By using a variety of imaging and GPS technology, John Deere showed that fully automated farming equipment is here. 

Finally, our team visited Eureka Park to speak with some incredible startups rethinking critical technologies like 3D mapping and leveraging 3D printing to transform medicine production. How do these pieces fit together to form the vision for the industrial metaverse?

To answer that question, we return to Siemens to discover how this global industry leader is paving the way forward. 

The Fundamental Technologies That Define the Industrial Metaverse

As part of the Siemens Xcelerator open digital business platform, three categories of technology are combining to make the industrial metaverse a reality: 

  • Digital Twin 
  • Software-Defined Automation
  • Data and AI 

Digital twin technology is one of the most exciting elements of the industrial metaverse. During the keynote presentation, Roland Busch offered several examples of how this technology is being used today. 

The first was the story of a factory that was designed, laid out, and tested as a Digital Twin long before construction began. Every aspect of the manufacturing process was simulated and tested, from layout to process flow, manual work, and the building itself. Using this digital twin, the team optimized everything before a single brick was laid. 

Today, this factory in the real world has realized a 200% increase in manufacturing capacity, a 20% increase in productivity, and a 20% reduction in energy consumption. It doesn’t stop with factories, though. 

In aerospace, digital twins simulate complex designs like turbines with incredible accuracy. This allows engineers to adjust for safety, fuel consumption, and more without ever needing to build a prototype to test in the real world. 

Digital twins today are not only high-quality renders. They’re physics-based and fully simulated, allowing engineers to understand what happens when you change configurations, put the design under stress, or how it will perform across an extensive period. 

Next is software-defined automation. This technology allows us to use digital twin technology to monitor things in the real world. With one in three factories using Siemens controllers, Roland Busch announced a next-generation industrial controller in virtual programmable logic controllers (PLCs). 

These new controllers exist virtually in a local cloud instead of taking up valuable space on the factory floor. He revealed that Audi is already implementing this for their production, and thanks to the virtual nature of these PLCs, they can scale up production seamlessly by adding more controllers instantly via the cloud. 

This is just one example of how software-defined automation bridges the gap between the real and the physical. 

Finally, the last piece of the industrial metaverse puzzle is data and AI, which connects everything with new forms of insight. According to Siemens, automated factories generate 2,000 terabytes of data each month. This is the equivalent of 500,000 digital movies. 

The industrial metaverse turns this into usable insights via edge devices and AI. New forms of generative AI also allow us to access this knowledge by harnessing large language models. These technologies combine to form some exciting innovations shown on the stage during the second half of the keynote. 

In particular, a partnership between Siemens and Sony revealed an immersive engineering headset that engineers can use to interact directly with digital twins thanks to AR and VR technology. This integration of Siemens software and Sony hardware will allow engineers to create innovative designs in the digital world with far fewer resources. 

As part of their partnership with Red Bull Racing, Siemens showed off this technology in action. This immersive technology allows Red Bull’s team to interact with their steering wheel and cockpit in real-time. Thanks to virtual reality, they can race a digital twin of their F1 racecar on a digital track and receive data back in real time while also checking sightlines and other factors. 

The keynote concluded with other exciting examples of the industrial metaverse in medical technology, food production, and more fields.

A New Year, Filled with Possibilities  

As we return to Supplyframe HQ in sunny Pasadena, California, our BrandStudio team is excited to explore what’s next for global electronics. With the industrial metaverse coming into its own, this and other key trends will define the coming year. 

To learn more about how Supplyframe empowers teams with intelligence for what’s next, visit Supplyframe.com

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