Investor Insight #30: The Microsoft Metaverse

Thursday 03 June 2021

Investor insights, Digitisation

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Opening Microsoft’s 2021 Build conference, CEO Satya Nadella said

[In the future] There will be no such thing as the tech sector. The world will be transformed through tech intensity at scale. Every organisation will not only need to adopt the latest technology but more importantly build their own unique digital technology or be left behind.

The change is already clear: 

  • Software developers are being recruited at non-tech companies at a faster rate than at tech companies  
  • Carmakers now hire 35% more software engineers as mechanical engineers. 

Technology spend as a percentage of global GDP is expected to double by 2030, reaching 10%. That means $10 trillion more per year. It is an enormous figure and a significant opportunity for Microsoft, which is positioned to become the digital platform businesses use to scale their own technology. 

The digitisation of everything 

Microsoft’s Metaverse is at the forefront of the digitisation of everything which we believe will be the core driver of the tech industry’s growth over the next decade. As we have written here it will be shaped by 5 advances: 

  • Internet of Things 
  • 5G 
  • Cloud computing 
  • AI 
  • Automation (robotics). 

Microsoft’s Metaverse 

At its recent Build conference, Microsoft demonstrated the Microsoft Metaverse, which may be the best example yet of the digitisation of everything. 

Microsoft describes the Metaverse as the technology that allows you to take a physical object or environment – such as a building or production line – and digitise it in a “digital twin”. Within the twin, sensors constantly track metrics and stream data back to the cloud.  

Operations running a digital twin have the ability to:

  • Monitor the environment to know what is happening in real time.
  • Analyse past events to discover ways to operate the environment more efficiently.
  • Predict incidents such as when equipment may need servicing.
  • Simulate events by testing the twin under different scenarios.
  • Automate the physical environment using AI learned from the twin.
  • Interact with the twin remotely without the need to be physically present.

The Metaverse combines the core technologies critical to the digitisation of everything. IoT and 5G collect the data, Cloud computing to support the twin infrastructure, and AI and Automation to predict, simulate and automate the environments. A sixth technology, mixed reality, enables the virtual interaction.

Microsoft is the only company in the world with the full technological capability to build digital twins, and enterprises are already using it.

Small business opportunities

Microsoft plans to package solutions to enable the estimated 200 million small businesses around the world to build their own digital twins. This mirrors the industry specific cloud strategy it launched earlier this year and complements its Power platform that allows companies to build their own apps with little or no coding experience.

Microsoft really is building its technology for every business.

About the Author
Alex Clunies-Ross, CFA

Alex Clunies-Ross, CFA

Head of Research

Alex commenced his career with Swell in August 2015 and developed many of the technical models and quantitative screens used to manage Portfolio investments and research. Alex directs investment team research projects in addition to his responsibilities for allocated investments in the Swell Global Portfolio.

Alex earned the right to use the CFA designation granted by the CFA Institute in 2021. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) from Griffith University and was an inaugural member of the Griffith University Student Investment Fund.