This is the second part of our webinar “Metaverse 101” where we discussed the difference between the consumer and enterprise metaverse, how digital twins – clones of real world objects and systems – can create value for companies, and the role A.I. will play in Metaverse marketplaces.
This is a transcript of the webinar “Metaverse 101: How It Works and What It Means For Businesses And Investors” held on November 9th, 2021, in which the following leaders from companies that are laying the foundation for the Metaverse participated:
Jason Southern, Head of Segment for Professional Visualization & Virtualization, NVIDIA
Kevin Smith, Chief Technology Officer, EscherCloud
Benny Willen, CEO, Cloudalize
You can also watch the recording of the webinar.
Panelist: There’s a lot of talk about digital twins. Can you explain what digital twins are? And what’s unique about Omniverse with relation to digital twins and collaboration and what becomes possible here with the Omniverse?
Jason: Yeah. So I a digital twin is exactly what it says: it is a twin of something physical and something in the real world in the digital form. If we consider it almost in reverse, when we design and create a product, whether a car, a house, or a city, today we create it in a digital environment. We create the digital car first, we do all the design work, all of the components are assembled in this virtual environment, and then we can put it into production. So you have that, you have a digital twin. And what we can do with that and what organizations are beginning to do is continue to use that as their reference point for ongoing development.
So instead of starting from scratch each time they have something virtual to work on and then bringing this into the Omniverse type environment into a virtual world means for example if we take the context of a car, it’s not just there for designing the next version of the car or changing the color and changing the suit interiors and providing options in the sales in the showroom. You’ve also got a virtual version of that that you can train your engineers on. You can teach the mechanic how to take the air conditioning, how to rebuild the engine, and go all the way down because every single component is replicated in a virtual environment. So that’s one example of a digital twin in a manufacturing environment. But then you can also take this into the building’s environment. BIM (Building information management) is incredibly powerful in managing real estate and managing facilities. So if you’ve got a virtual environment, the virtual replica of your facilities that you’re managing.
You can work on any changes that you’re going to make whether you’re building an extension, or you’re closing a particular section off and remodeling it, changing an office space, layouts you can work on that you can simulate the experience of the impact of those changes before you close the office.
Another thing that we’ve just done, and there’s something that a piece of work that we’re doing with Siemens, which we showcased early on today, is with the heat recovery steam generators whereby these are complicated machinery systems, very complicated plants. And there’s a lot of not just physics going on, but chemistry going on in there as well. And how do they know the risk of a particular pipe corroding? Or when do we need to shut down to change the heated exchanges, replace the valves? What’s the expected failure rate?
The previous models haven’t been very accurate, so they’ve been doing a lot of repair and maintenance work. Before it needs to be done and replacing components that don’t need to be replaced, that’s wasteful, inefficient, and costly.
So they’ve taken their steam generators, replicated them, and created the digital twin in the Omniverse. They’ve also taken some other A.I. technologies for the simulation side of things. And now they’re simulating this entire environment. And they estimate they can make $1.7 billion worth of savings in a year from not having inefficiencies around maintenance. And this is huge for being able to go and simulate something in the virtual world.
In the Q&A section is WPP, a media company based in Europe, which was part of the video that I showed. They create digital twins of sound stages, movie stages, and they also create digital twins of forests, so they worked in conjunction with Volvo to create an advert inside Omniverse, and it looks like the car is driving through the forest when actually it was completely replicated, and the data was gathered from drones. They were able to build it and create a virtual studio and provide virtual backdrops for the vehicle and to be able to do all of this without taking the car and crew on site. So huge opportunities there. And it’s not just physical buildings or buildings and cars that you can simulate or create a digital twin.
Ericsson is another example that was in the video they have created an entire virtual city, replicated the city inside Omniverse so they can work out what’s where’s the best placement for their cell towers for 5G, not just for the best coverage, but also the best energy efficiency.
And what happens when you put more vehicles and people in there, simulating the changes throughout the year and the day. How does it impact their cell coverage? And then, in the future, they’ll be able to use A.I. to optimize the placement of those cell towers as well. That’s something they’re working on. So digital twin can really be something that scales from something as small as a single device to city scale, and everything within that is replicated.
But it comes down back to a point that many was making as it all comes back to how much power they have and how much performance do you have? And so this is this is what it boils down to from Benny’s perspective is you’ve got to have the platform, you’ve got the right size for it. Otherwise, you end up disappointed.
Panelist: How do you think about digital twins and their application or where it fits in this new world?
Kevin: Well, yeah, I’m glad Jason touched on the two most important ones, I think, which is right now, the creative industry and the AEC. So the engineering construction architect industries are by far right now the ones looking at this and seeing that the most important question for them is monetization. How do you monetize this? So what we’ve learned is in a number of aspects of the world is that the UK has a pretty competitive agreement between aerospace industries to develop at pace without having a conflict of interest on individual ownership and IP.
Again, think of the Metaverse like that, say we take the steam-generating system that Jason was talking about. We have all of those data points that allow us to predict maintenance and predict the effects of steam hot water on materials – that is, IP. You can sell that back to chemical engineering companies. You can trade that with supply companies. You can put that back into the supply chain, into the manufacturing industry to optimize everything that’s part of that industry. So monetization people need to think about businesses as not locked cupboards. That’s where all the money is, right? Say unlocking all of that data and sharing that data in the marketplace allow you this ubiquitous interconnectivity. That’s the monetization now.
One of the questions in the chat is clearly we’re going to make money building this. How does everyone else make money? But that’s it’s exactly the same with the Netflix example. It’s exactly the same with Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, all these things. These are platforms. The opportunity is this huge democratization of wealth that will come from these platforms, from people thinking about it. I know small SMB businesses right now. I was thinking about how they take that tiny little application they deliver between two or three people and then put it onto a global stage. The Metaverse is what will do that integration connecting into things like Omniverse being compatible.
One of the other things someone has said is, do you need to be on the same platform to make this work? Not necessarily, no. He just has to be interoperable. The key here is to make sure that there is some common base platform, some common medium that everyone can work from, and there will always be changes. So for us, that’s where we see this as a company, why it’s worth us investing time and effort into exploring this and building this platform, because ultimately if we can position ourselves as a metaverse or parts of a metaverse or a virtual world. An industry-specific one, maybe something more specific to what we do as a group of companies, then at least we’re controlling our destiny. But that’s point number one. If you’re not going to control it, so it’s better to get in and understand it. And they see a lot of creative companies doing that already. You see a lot of work from the connected companies with people like Nvidia and people hosting that software applications on Cloudalize like Autodesk etc. You see that they’re the ones making the step forward now, and we’re making sure that we’re there with it so that we can be part of this monetization.
Panelist: Benny, how are your clients leveraging digital twins?
Benny: Yeah. So as most of our customers are in heavy sectors such as architecture, engineering, construction, but also manufacturing, what we see happening here as a first and most obvious step is to use the Omniverse as the CDE, the common data environment, and because it’s compatible with already nearly all CAD applications, just applications and you can be working in real-time. You on your own application, me on my own application with my existing licenses and the single source of truth that very soon shift to Omniverse. So today, that is already in sync between what is called a BIM model and older tools. But we see this happening that pretty soon we will have this utopian vision in the reality where the single source of truth will be an Omniverse and that digital twin will live for the duration as the physical goods live in the real world, maybe even longer, and it will enable all kinds of new uses on top of it.
So to go a step further, this is a very sensitive point already in these
industries, everybody, every designer, every engineer doesn’t want to switch software. People are used to working with their preferred software package, already being able just with different organizations to work together on a project. Even if it’s the same software, you might be on different versions. Just be able to keep people on their version that they are today, it’s a big win, and that is so much time and effort wasted.
And this CAD heavy industry today and making data formats compatible that in itself pain falls away. It’s a huge source of value creation. So it also means that if you’re working together in Omniverse, a change that we make is immediately seen and all the software as well.
So Omniverse is using this Pixar’s universal scene description technology, which enables this, and this means that you are augmenting the productivity of teamwork, as you are working in parallel versus having to work sequentially. And time is money, of course, so you achieve so many savings. Your time to market can be decreased considerably. And, think about the errors that happen in the design processes today.
If you decrease those numbers of errors and then the engineering change orders the ECOS as they say that to remediate them, it also means that these echoes become shorter. You have fewer echoes, you have safer products, safer products. In the end, they save life and society lives and society.
So these models, as Jason was saying, they’re becoming bigger and bigger. The materials are becoming so big that today no single computer can hold them anymore. And so what they do is they split up the models and then afterward, you need to reconnect all these models together. And it’s quite a pain, and you have so many issues, so being able just to have a single larger model is in itself a major innovative step. So and then on top of that comes things like 5G. We’re having, for example, an exciting partnership with a 5G provider to stream directly to 5G ready VR headsets or AR headsets. And Omniverse is already compatible with that because of NVIDIA XR Cloud technology. So that means that the hurdle to accessing these environments is being seriously reduced where you will have 5G coverage.
And on top of that, we’ve developed other things such as a one-click app streaming service. So that means that any application you create an Omniverse, and that’s the beauty of Omniverse, you can create your own applications you can share with other people for a quick sneak preview of what you’re doing and Omniverse safely and securely by only sharing that URL, that links back to the Cloudalize platform. So basically, from your smartphone, from an old computer, from any connected device, you just click on the link, and you have this amazing real-time ray tracing support that supercomputer cloud streaming experience that looks like the real thing.