Facebook may have popularized the idea of the "metaverse," but it's far from the only business building its own virtual world. At Nvidia's spring Graphics Technology Conference (GTC) this week, the chipmaker introduced new tools that will make it easier than ever for people and businesses to create life-like simulations in the digital sphere.
The Nvidia Omniverse platform gives 3D designers a shared virtual world from which they can collaborate across different software applications and from different geographic locations. Now, Omniverse is becoming more accessible. First, Nvidia announced Omniverse Cloud, which gives artists, designers and developers instant access to Omniverse, even if they don't have an Nvidia RTX-based system.
"This is an answer to a huge demand we've had from a number of customers who wanted access to this platform but were limited because of the platform they're on," Richard Kerris, Nvidia's Omniverse VP, said to reporters this week.
Omniverse Cloud is in early access now, and Nvidia is taking applications for it.
Next, Nvidia announced Omniverse OVX, a computing system designed specifically to meet the needs of massive simulations -- or industrial digital twins.
"Whether you're developing a car, or a factory, or a city block or the globe, you have different demands from a hardware perspective," Kerris explained.
The OVX server consists of eight Nvidia A40 GPUs, three Nvidia ConnectX-6 Dx 200Gbps NICs, 1TB system memory and 16TB NVMe Storage.
It's designed to provide extremely fast throughput and real-time rendering and capabilities. For customers that need more performance, the OVX computing system scales from a single pod of eight OVX servers to an OVX SuperPOD consisting of 32 OVX servers connected with Nvidia Spectrum-3 switch fabric or multiple OVX SuperPODs to accelerate massive digital twin simulation.
Nvidia first rolled out Omniverse in open beta in late 2020 (nearly a year before Facebook committed to the concept of a "metaverse" by renaming itself, Meta). Bob Pette, VP of Nvidia's Professional Visualization business unit, said to reporters this week it went into GA last fall and has been gaining traction in the design and collaboration space.
While the business unit is expanding AR and XR use cases at the edge and in the cloud, "We believe our biggest growth driver this year will be Omniverse," Pette said.
Already, more than 150,000 individuals have downloaded Omniverse. Meanwhile, a number of major companies are using Omniverse Enterprise, including Amazon, DB Netze, DNEG, Kroger, Lowe's and PepsiCo. All of these companies are using the platform to build physically accurate digital twins or develop realistic, immersive experiences for customers.
Amazon Robotics, for instance, is using Omniverse Enterprise to build AI-enabled digital twins of its warehouses, so it can better optimize warehouse design and flow and train more intelligent robotic solutions. Meanwhile, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy is working with Nvidia to create physics-informed digital twins of wind farms.
Nvidia also announced that it's vastly expanding the Omniverse ecosystem with new Omniverse Connectors and libraries.