Earlier this year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Microsoft doesn't think there ever will be a single, centralized metaverse. Instead, he said Microsoft believes there will be many metaverse platforms. And although its Teams for Mesh platform makes for fun demos of what many probably think of when they hear "metaverse," Microsoft also is evolving its more real-world "industrial metaverse" platform.
Microsoft officials have been working for more than a year to position the company's full tech stack so that it looks relevant to those buzzing about the metaverse. Last year at Build, Microsoft officials began talking up the company's enterprise metaverse tech stack. Execs said that everything from Azure IoT, Azure Digital Twins and Azure Maps, through Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure AI, Power Platform and HoloLens were the foundation for the coming "metaverse apps."
A recent posting on LinkedIn by Microsoft GM/Partner for Azure IoT, Tony Shakib, added more color on Microsoft's enterprise metaverse talking points. And IoT and digital twin technology are still at the center of the company's worldview. From Shakib's May 7 post:
"Our Industrial Metaverse is a collection of capabilities in the intelligent cloud and on the intelligent edge working together. At their foundation is Azure IoT, which allows you to connect physical assets and run cloud intelligence - and Azure Digital Twins, which provide the ability to model anything physical or logical, from simple devices or products to complex environments."
While holoportation simulations and customizable avatars interacting in fancy virtual worlds are definitely on Microsoft's metaverse roadmap, it's the nearer-term deliverables in the edge/IoT, machine learning and digital twins spaces that will be where Microsoft and partners will likely make money first and foremost. Here's hoping and expecting we will get more updates on this industrial metaverse vision at Build on May 24.