Microsoft is now selling the metaverse, which helps make things like robots and ketchup.

Microsoft is now selling the metaverse, You might not be ready to jump into the metaverse for fun yet, but it could be coming to work sooner than you think.

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that Kawasaki is a new customer for the tech giant’s “industrial metaverse.” This is a fancy way of saying that factory workers will wear HoloLens headsets to help with production, repairs, and managing supply chains. In addition, the headsets will be used to help build robots.

When HoloLens came out in 2016, it let people experience augmented reality, when digital images are added to the real world. For Microsoft’s industrial metaverse, this means putting together many of the company’s technologies, like cloud computing, to help factory workers and managers make products faster and more efficiently.

The idea is to make a “digital twin” of a workspace, which Microsoft calls a “digital twin.” This can speed up things like making repairs and starting up new manufacturing lines. So, for example, instead of calling a repair person to come to the factory to fix a broken part, HoloLens can talk to workers there and use augmented reality to show them how to fix it. It also lets managers use the digital twin to speed up the new product if they need to, which is something Microsoft promotes as a way to fix problems in the supply chain.

As a manufacturing partner, Kawasaki joins Heinz and Boeing. For example, Heinz recently said it would use the Microsoft industrial metaverse in its ketchup factories.

Even though it sounds like a gimmick, it’s something that Microsoft’s customers have been asking for as buzz grows about the idea of the metaverse. In an interview with CNBC last week, Jessica Hawk, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of mixed reality, said that the industrial metaverse is a preview of what technology can do now before it becomes fully immersive in the future.

Hawk said, “That’s why I think there’s a lot of energy in that space.” “These are real-world problems that these companies are facing. Having a technology solution that, for example, can help solve the problem with the supply chain, is very important.”

The fact that Microsoft’s business is growing says a lot about how the metaverse is doing. People have been talking about a sci-fi future where everyone works, plays, and socializes in virtual reality. However, most of the uses of virtual reality today have more to do with business than with the average consumer’s needs.

For example, Meta’s upcoming mixed reality headset will cost more than its $299 virtual reality headset and be aimed at people who want to feel “present” while working from home. Meta’s first product in the metaverse was an app that lets you hold meetings in virtual reality.

But Microsoft has a head start, and it is already selling its mixed reality technology to companies and giving developers the tools they need to make their own metaverse experiences.

Hawk said, “We really see a difference in how we’re going about our strategy here, which takes into account that people will use a variety of devices and platforms to experience the metaverse.”

That means metaverse products also work on 2D screens like the new digital avatar features Microsoft added to its Teams chat app last year. These kinds of features could be added to headsets and other platforms in the future.

Hawk said, “We’re just really excited that now is a time when so much innovation is possible.” Some things are clear to us now. But, we also know that there are many things we don’t fully understand yet. So for us, this is a fascinating time.”

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