Nvidia was omnipresent during my childhood. When asking for a new computer the Nvidia graphic card was one of the most important hardware components because it determined decisively with which graphics settings games could be played. Therefore, it was the Nvidia graphics chip directly correlated with gaming fun and, more importantly, the envy of my friends.
Since then, Nvidia has become one of the most important and largest companies in the world. Meanwhile, Nvidia is among other things a world leader in the production of hardware and software for artificial intelligence, as well as high-performance computing. Hence, it is worth taking a look at their metaverse project, called 'Omniverse'.
At its core, the Omniverse is a real-time collaboration tool in shared virtual, three-dimensional spaces. At the time of this writing, Nvidia aims to attract mostly enterprises. The Omniverse for example allows multiple engineers to work on the same thing in 3D from different locations.
Accomplishing this is no easy feat and involves combining artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cutting-edge NVIDIA RTX technology. In my opinion, the most exciting part about this technology, however, is the Universal Scene Description (USD), which was developed by Pixar for their own movies in 2012 and open-sourced in 2016. USD tries to set a standard for 3D assets.
Richard Kerris, vice president of the Omniverse platform has been quoted saying:
"We think of USD as the HTML of 3D. The connective tissue that we experience the web through today is HTML. That’s what makes it seamless from website to website, device to device."
One can say that HTML enabled the internet. USD might just do the same for the metaverse.
As Matthew Ball points out in his bestselling book "The Metaverse And How It Will Revolutionize Everything":
"The Metaverse will require the development of new standards and creation of new infrastructure, potentially require overhauls to the long-standing Internet Protocol Suite, involve the adoption of novel devices and hardware, and might even alter the balance of power between technology giants, independent developers, and end users."
In my opinion, USD might be the first, and probably one of the most significant, of those standards desperately needed to create a functioning Metaverse.
At the moment, it is definitely the closest thing to a standard for 3D assets. Not to mention that the Omniverse integrates seamlessly with popular 3D tools like Blender or Autodesk.
Right now, the Omniverse is used by companies like BMW, Amazon, Pepsico, Ericsson, Foxconn, GM, AT&T, Lowe’s, Mattel, Siemens, and Sony. A spectacular adoption by large enterprises, a market, which so far was mostly occupied by Varjo, a finnish manufacturer of VR- and AR-Headsets. Most enterprises use the Omniverse to create digital twins, which have become massively popular for many companies. Real-world assets can be converted into a virtual space and collaboratively worked on in real time. Data from the real world, in turn, can be fed back to the digital twin, improving it programmatically.
“Companies that have figured this out will have superpowers and blow past the rest of the field.”
says Rev Lebaredian the vice president of Omniverse at Nvidia.
There is a hell lot of potential in the Omniverse. Although, at the moment, mostly used by enterprises for an annual subscription price of around 9.000 $, it becomes more and more viable for individuals as well, e.g. artists and gamers.
Wells Fargo chips analyst Aaron Rakers wrote:
"Long-term, Nvidia market opportunity looks much more significant — spanning an expanding list of applications and verticals. [...] Nvidia has the opportunity to establish a significant first mover advantage in building out the infrastructure to power the Metaverse."
As I see it, USD makes Nvidia's version of the metaverse a lot more interesting than its competitor's versions, like Meta or Microsoft.