Marc Funnell with National Composites Centre

Industrial Talk is onsite at IoT Solutions World Congress and talking to Marc Funnell, Head of Digital Engineering Technology at National Composites Centre about “Metaverse, what are the capabilities, applications and impact to industry”.  Learn about Metaverse along with Marc's unique insight into the Metaverse technology on this Industrial Talk interview!

Finally, get your exclusive free access to the Industrial Academy and a series on “Why You Need To Podcast” for Greater Success in 2023. All links designed for keeping you current in this rapidly changing Industrial Market. Learn! Grow! Enjoy!


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Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott Mackenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go. All right,


this is day two at IoT Solutions World Congress, we are on site it says 2023 Put this on a calendar just because you need to put it on your calendar, you get great people like Marc who solves problems and make you make your life better. He's right. He's in the hot seat, by the way, FYI. And we're going to have conversations about how he pronounces words that I don't pronounce, like he does like aluminum.


Aluminum. So right off the bat,


we disagree. And it is a platform, a platform that is dedicated to industrial professionals all around the world. Because you as you are bold, brave, you dare greatly you collaborate. you innovate. You're making the life of many better as including myself. Absolutely. Including myself. Marc is in the hot seat. National composite center.


National Competence Center.


Whatever. Right there. Let's get cracking. There's your fan.


One fan. Fantastic. Yeah, he's got one of them. Yes. Hi,


my fan. How are you doing?


I'm fine. Thank you. Thanks for having me. It's good.


Good conference.


Yeah, join next morning just to try and I was one of the speakers in this thing called the metaverse and what it actually means to


let me put that down on my no does I want to ask you about Metaverse.


It's one of those phrases that I guess I don't think you want to ask me but because we don't really have a definition for it. And that's what we're going to talk


like that's pretty. That's pretty Jake, I like that a lot. Background give us some background on who Marc is with the sea. Yeah, sure.


I'm originally born and bred in South Africa. So apologies for the accent. We do pronounce the words correctly, though. So apologies.


And he's trashed docket for him.


Yeah, so as you know, engineering background, mainly in aerospace industry worked a lot for Airbus Rolls Royce companies such as that in Bristol in the UK, for the last 20 years have been an industrialist last company was with GKN what are the global organizations so worked across the nations, us, Netherlands Europe etc. And in in Scandinavia, helping them to develop digital methods, tools, processes, that will essentially add value to the way they do and develop products in the future. Ready? Yeah.


Are you a sports fan?


I am. Yeah,


yeah, the sport is


many rugby. But I do play a lot of field on the hotseat.


I hate to type grass, but I am all into rugby. I don't know the game or Well, I've been watching it for a number of years. But I don't know how they do it. I don't know. I mean, it's like


it's like American football.


Yeah. But no, but it's even worse. It's like a combination of American football and soccer where you never stop running. And you never never


Yeah, well kept coming up. I'm sure you will watch it. Russia


I you know, you know when my team is


in South Africa bath All right, that's around the corner from us. How can you be bought Bristol Bay's against both and one of our stadiums and Bristol


bears. So but and this is how it sort of rolled it was like, Hey, I'm here at Bath. Hey, look at that. They've got a rugby TV. Let me go into the sports. And now I have a rugby jersey. It's bad. There it is. So every year they disappoint me.


They do it unfortunately. So Russell basically well this year as well as we can well.


There's a couple of big guys of the Bristol bears, which is African guys. Big man. I'm telling you. Some of them are monsters. All right. Let's crack. Talking about tell us about just briefly about national


national Competence Center conference center and American accents. Okay,


right there. Tell us a little bit about that. And then I want to go into that Metaverse that goes, that's true.


So the national Competence Center is actually one part of seven catapult centers, the UK Government is invested in concept of the catapult. It recognizes that there's a heap of good technology that's available out there, especially coming from UK based startups and companies. And it's sort of the valley of death, as we call it is this relationship between tech coming in, and actually industry adoption. And there's this piece in the middle, which says there's a bit of a failure there. Recognizing that we need to be able to do something in the middle of how technology has evolved from, you know, ideas all the way through to things that actually get and provide value and impact into industry. And the piece in the middle is what's called the technology readiness level scale. If you're familiar with the concept in the middle A lot of it is how do you take stuff that's been tested in your, in your lab environments and your sheds? And how do you move it into a realistic space, which looks and feels like something that's been de risked that industry can then adopt? So we almost act as that fast, fail fast kind of testbed place where industry and use our facilities, which allows scale facilities to send fantastic knowledge on their behalf and see which ones work and which ones don't and then help them on their adoption journey. That's what I've been really interested


in. Maybe, for me, so you're looking at this technology, and you're trying to at least bring it into a commercial type of environment where it makes sense. Yeah, like, Okay, this is good stuff. This is good stuff. How do you?


That's a good counterpoint. Yes, catapulting technology is all about developing cases for investment. We know that the biggest blockers are ultimately about, hey, why should I invest in this tech? You know, well, actually, this text good, this text bad? Actually, we focus on the problem? Why do we want this tech, and what is the problem that is trying to solve what impact is trying to make and then we work backwards and look at the different solutions. And we use a turnaround, there's so much technology, especially the digital half technology curve. And so what we're trying to do is filter through the good stuff, you know, and the bad stuff and sort of try everything on behalf of industry, but irrelevant. And at the scale that they would recognize if you walk into a facility, it looks like a manufacturing facility. In fact, it is a manufacturing facility, we do prototypes, sponsored by government to act as they go between, we have members in our organizations, and the catapult is seven of us. We focus on composites, composites, composites, which are pretty much carbon fiber glass fiber laid up to make surfboards all the way up to rockets and aircraft. And ultimately, we focus on the areas of manufacturing and engineering development, and use digital techniques and showed businesses how we how to adapt and adopt and innovate with them. And so accelerate their journey to provide a new practice. And


one of the noisy things that exists out there, by the way, I've been looking at my calendar when you were saying, Hey, we have this center, and I don't see my calendar filled with the opportunity to broadcast from that location. I'm sure that's an oversight.


You can absolutely if you would like to come and have a chat to me.


Absolutely. But the challenge I see too, in light of all of that is how do you pick and choose? How do you? How do you catapult How do you move something forward? Because it's noisy out there? I you know, I just don't humble old dog, guys. I don't know how you choose?


It is a fantastic question. I mean, ultimately start from why, you know, we talk talk about diagnosing the problems. And we work with industry to essentially filter through what are the key case studies, what are the key things that they want to do to look at what it is that you want to try and see why you want to try and achieve and what what help is going to give you and then you work backwards. And you can have multiple solution architectures, or designs, ultimately, and we offer a platform for all suppliers to come in. And some might sell you things. Because the salespeople are out there promoting that their system can do ABCD things and solves all those problems. But in reality, what we do is we test all these things out. And then we read the Poke holes that or we actually validate and say yeah, that those these three or four or five different systems do. So we don't necessarily say, you know, these are the ones you should use. Because our mandate is to offer opportunities for supply chains, we actually promote and showcase what things could do and what they cannot do. And it provides two things, one back to the technology providers to say you're missing this gap, go and do pieces of research or development in this area, and also then provides an opportunity to broker those relationships. So we don't sell commercial products. We're not there to make commercial suits. We are nonprofit, we're actually there to help people broker those relationships. So I like


that sort of advocacy approach. Just because, one. Yeah. There's there's a lot of say, there's a lot of individuals, a lot of people out there said, yeah, we can do that. We can do that. We can do it. And and so that trust all my conversations that I have, it's always like, I get it. Who do I trust? And that's sort of that human side, right? Yeah. Because I need I know, I need to do it. Yeah. But that guy shaking him hanging that shingle over there. I'm not sure if I trust him. Yeah, that's that's just the reality of it. Yeah. And but but but if we're on this sort of this innovation journey, that that we need those trusted individuals to help us along that don't have, you know, don't have anything like you guys, that advocacy. I like that.


I mean, the two points of trust is brilliant, and for him, because one is do you trust the partner that you're ultimately going to go and broker for? And you didn't trust the technology that's associated with that partner? Because if we were to floated into this Metaverse conversation such as the people side and the company side and do you trust that company to be your partner on the journey for the future, commercial offerings and services on the other side of the fence, what they're offering is a trustworthy other internal is the simulations or the AI or the tools or the methods that they're promoting? Are they actually trustworthy in their own nature or not? You start getting into this whole, well, I can trust a person, do I trust the model? And as you move into more future state of analysis simulations, actually making decisions, potentially making decisions on behalf of humans, you know, are you starting to build trust out other side of things? Yeah. And you're starting to get into that murky waters of ethics and


AI? Absolutely. It's, it's always it's always a human equation. Yeah. It just is just a human equation.


It's it's difficult one trust is actually the key to all this Trust


is everything. Yeah. And you know, everybody listening to this conversation says, yeah, yeah, I went down the road, I got, you know, I, I nailed this as a solution, and it ever delivered. And


Yuck, yeah, exactly. And I got some really good examples of what we asked, we asked it to be configured this way, it didn't actually give us it and actually worse off now than we, if we start a game, and all that money goes into the pot. This is the way it goes, you know, if you're going to start a journey diagnostics, you know, understanding the problem, I think it was I instantly said, some stupid, like, you spend money for our facility at times identifying what the actual problem is want to solve 5% solving it, because actually, technologies exists, you know, looking around this conference data and technologies out there and people offering overlapping things and it gets big. Yes. Don't worry about it too much. You know, what is the problem you're trying to solve? Come to like an innovation center, talk to people and break it down into chunks, tangible bits. And then each technology can provide a facet to it. And what we've tried to do is operators, that integrator, that ability to break things down into tangible digestive problems, and then look at the technology solutions that fit within that remit. That's fundamentally what the job of the catapult is. And we tend to think of ourselves more as architects and integrators have these kinds of solutions. Well, we don't own technology solutions. Again, we were that intermediary in the middle is trying to trying to bridge that gap really


well. You know, industrial talk is the industrial media platform. That is a catapult in gaining greater attention.


I'm going to use catapult going forward. That's a tradeMarc name right, a


catapult. Alright, let's Let's venture into metaverse. Let's define it. First off. Why?


Why I think branding. I'll use the word banding. I think there's digital twin, there's IoT. There's names that have to be put to certain things to denote a change, essentially. So I can tell you what the metaverse is where the thing is still forming to us. It's a concept that's evolving and forming. And really, maybe I'm saying Don't worry about the universities and don't really worry about what to name the digital 20 is worry about what it is you want to achieve and the impact that you want to make in your organization. And then, and then the set of tools, techniques and technologies will form the fundamental thing called the metaverse that you're plugging into ultimately,


does the digital twin the in the principles of digital twin augmented reality? All of that fit into this whole metaverse? It's sort of like meta versus the macro macro sort of the digital representation of Yeah, yeah, the physical world,


I think that's a really good way. So you could have many verses, yeah, anyway, if you've got something that you want to get data from that you want to be able to get intelligence from something that you want to get an immersive relationship, when that's the digital twin console, I have a physical assets, I have a virtual version of it, a digital version of it. And from interacting with that I get more intelligence, about their product. And about that process or about that thing than I would have if it was just looking at something physical, like a microphone, I know exactly what's happening on an iPhone, it's giving me the data in a realistic format, that allows you to make more conscious decisions and more informed decisions about what it is. And he's given to me the media that I really understand or send to my kids the other day, you know, we never had YouTube, this is going out. And I'm not sure what platform it goes out on. But YouTube knows but do you know if it goes out and the platform you're going actually people interact with media there interact with visual stimuli in order to really interact with paper? So you talking about how do you get that data in dashboards, visual media, immersive media, but they're all part of the technology strands. And then you talk about, well, this is a microphone. What about this facet? As you start expanding the interconnectivity in relationships and taking away the silos and that these sorts of a wall that's the metaverse types that was the sort of thing like the digital universe message.


I have no I get it. And in fact, I enjoy the opportunity. The the ability to be able to learn visually, right, yeah, don't don't dump a piece of paper on me and said, Here's the policy. This is the maintenance procedure associated with that asset right. Yeah. I'm gonna do it wrong. But if you give me that that interactive visual component that's like, yeah.


There's reasons why you have those control work instructions and dragon because there's a certification process that comes along and looking at how the metaverse can really accelerate new products, we need to products out there tomorrow for Net Zero agendas. They're going to be radically different. And they're gonna be using technologies, like hydrogen like electrification, where they're coming to come in through not, how do we start to certify those things? And how does the metaverse and the digital twinning aspects and all the technologies help us to certify those products quicker? That really is the major intent at a macro scale. avadh. Does and how do these digital technologies help engineers design better design faster, and essentially bring the regulator's bring the collaboration from the supply chain into the agenda through that whole interactive data set in the right way. And in the most efficient collaboration, co creation?


plugin, man, you're just, you're just going to get a good collaboration, and they're gonna get co create the buzzwords out there, make sure they're out there. Yet, by the way, we collaborate in collaborating right now. We're chirping back and forth, we're making things happen. Is there a moral challenge? A human moral challenge? I know that the I know, the metaverse and people are some issues there.


Yeah, I think they'll always be this hesitated with the industry.


Trust me. I think it's it's necessary.


You know, there'll always be a conflict between it's getting committed transplant, do you do you look at a simulation on AI making decisions? Would you allow some thing else to make a decision for you? And with that decision actually be right, I think we were talking about autonomous vehicles the other day, and they were saying emergency stops in a car, for example, a ball crosses the road, and a kid chases off to the ball, right? So the car with the car stop for the ball, or the kid wouldn't be able to recognize. And you started to go well, if the metaverse is all about trying to get that they didn't write me know. So as a human, you would go for the ball because you taking it. Whoa. And then you start to get into would you actually start to get into the ethical debates of and all that debates around what decisions and AI could actually make on your behalf, etc, etc. And that's a really interesting minefield to go into. We're not quite there yet, but it's getting that direction.


What I do see is a no opportunity for attorneys to get involved. It's like, All right, another possible revenue stream. I'm just saying possible.


Yeah. And colleague later on, we talk a lot about this, but the ethics and then the legality, and who takes the insurance? You know, all of that will come in?


Who's Who's that body that defines the who's who's creating the standards? Who's creating that common lexicon? That that ensures accuracy and conversations like


some Yeah, so most regulating stuff will be a combination of the government. And the industrial bodies coming together to make sure that there's things and then you've got a lot of technology, a lot of technology work going on and academic thinking going on to how you build trust and ethics into the digital twins in the eyes of the future tough thing. You know, I don't think there is a single body that's trying to do it, but there are certainly active spaces coming through. You're awesome. I mean, we're here to help. As I say,


see your advocacy. There needs to be that in a big, big way. How do people say hey, I like Marc with a C. He goes to the same barber as Scott Mackenzie, how do I get a hold of him?


You basically jump onto the website and go WWE? W NCC


Well, quite quite the spokesman. Thank you website.




You are awesome, man. And thank you for being patient when I was running in from lunch here. We're so cool about the whole band. He made me feel better about myself. You make me feel bad about myself. That's right. Look at that. It's like you're younger me. This is what you get to look forward to. You'll look like this. Alright, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side. We're gonna have all the contact information for Marc with a C out on industrial talks, will fear not reach out to this gen advocacy? It's happening. Final Sherpas. He'd be one of them. All right. We'll be right back.


You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.


All right. Once again, thank you very much for joining us industrial talk and your continued support that was Marc with a see incredible professional, a must connect type of guy make that happen. Everything will be out there on industrial talk. You know that as well as I do. You're going to have his stat card out there. You're going to look at his deck card and you're gonna say, Man, that's a heck of a stack card. And it is. He knows his stuff. humble guy. And his name is spelled F u n n e l l. We emphasize the fun in his name. So that's, that's Marc. Excellent, excellent conversation. Also put this on your bucket list, you got to put this on your bucket list because IoT Solutions World Congress 24. Now that's going to be mid year next year, plan for that. Because you get people like Marc and others who are really dedicated to trying to solve problems. They have a passion to collaborate, and those in the team of Farah, Barcelona do an excellent job at bringing everybody together. It's in short, it's an excellent, excellent experience. So put that on your calendar. All right, be bold, be brave, daring greatly. I say it all the time. You go to IoT, you're going to hang out with people like Marc and you're going to change the world. We're going to have more coming from this particular conference shortly. So stay tuned.

Industrial Talk is onsite at IoT Solutions World Congress and talking to Marc Funnell, Head of Digital Engineering Technology at National Composites Centre about "Metaverse, what are the capabilities, applications and impact to industry".  Learn about Metaverse along with Marc's unique insight into the Metaverse technology on this Industrial Talk interview!
Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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