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Emerging technologies ushering lifesciences industry into Metaverse, says Accenture report

Ninety one per cent of medical technology and 85 per cent of biopharma executives expect new technologies to have a positive impact on the industry

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A report from Accenture’s Life Sciences Technology Vision 2022 explores the technology trends that will transform the ways biopharma and medical technology companies solve manufacturing and device problems, improve equity in clinical trial participation and build more resilient supply chains to provide patients and healthcare professionals with more personalised experiences.

The metaverse is an evolving and expanding continuum on multiple dimensions — digital and physical — that comprises technologies including extended reality, blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), digital twins, non-fungible tokens and smart devices. According to the report, lifesciences leaders (91 per cent of medical technology executives and 85 per cent biopharma executives) expect the metaverse to have a positive impact on their organisations and nearly half of the biopharma executives surveyed believe the metaverse will have a breakthrough or transformational impact on their organisations.

To help the lifesciences companies design, execute and accelerate their metaverse journeys, Accenture recently launched the Accenture Metaverse Continuum business group, which combines metaverse-skilled professionals and market-leading capabilities in customer experience, digital commerce, extended reality, blockchain, digital twins, AI and computer vision.

In the report, four technology trends that underpin the metaverse continuum are as follows:

WebMe: It illustrates how the internet is being reimagined with the metaverse as a platform for digital experiences that provide boundless places where people can meet and interact, and Web3 is reinventing how data can be owned by individuals and moved with the person, and not the platform.

The Programmable World: It tracks how technology is being threaded through our physical environments in three layers: connected, experiential and material. Nearly nine-in-10 of the MedTech and biopharma executives surveyed believe that programming the physical environment will emerge as a competitive differentiation in their industry. Augmented Reality (AR), 5G, ambient computing, 3-D printing and smart materials are converging in sophisticated ways, turning the physical world into an environment that is as smart, customisable and as programmable as the digital one.

The Unreal: It explores the “unreal” qualities that are becoming fundamental to AI, and even data, making the synthetic seem authentic. Synthetic data is being used to train AI models in ways that real-world data practically cannot or should not. Synthetic data can represent patient datasets for use in research, training, or other applications. This realistic (yet unreal) data can be shared, maintaining the same statistical properties while protecting confidentiality and privacy. It can be developed to accommodate increased diversity to counter bias, thus overcoming the pitfalls of real-world data. More than nine-tenths of biopharma (92 per cent) and MedTech (91 per cent) executives report that their organisation is dependent on AI technologies to function effectively.

Computing the Impossible: It is the emergence of a new class of machines — quantum computing — stretching the boundaries of what computers can do. Problems once thought impossible to solve because they require computing large, complex datasets are now in the realm of the possible. Nearly all the surveyed biopharma (94 per cent) and MedTech (96 per cent) executives agree that their organisation is pivoting in response to the unprecedented computational power that is becoming available.


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