This wide-ranging discussion covered 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: Great. Can you just quickly just talk about the Omniverse as it relates to the Metaverse?
Jason: Sure. So. Metaverse has been a term that relates to virtual worlds, it’s gained popularity in recent months and weeks, but there have been many virtual worlds around for several years. And in fact, any of us with teenage children will be well aware of a number of virtual worlds that are in place with Fortnite Roadblocks, World of Warcraft, etc.
But what we’re doing with the Omniverse is trying to bring that into the professional world, and it is intended for collaboration and the creation of virtual worlds for the enterprise. That doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t be able to integrate with those for the consumer ones—quite the opposite. Our intention is the Omniverse allows for easy integration, relatively easy integration, and collaboration with multiple virtual worlds. But it’s a platform and a set of tools for developing and creating virtual worlds.
We don’t believe that there’s going to be one virtual world. We think there’s going to be many. There are many already today, and there’ll be many in the future. And different organizations will want their own virtual environment because they want to do particular things in that virtual world. So they want to control and manage that and develop for them. But you also want the option of integrating with existing infrastructure and existing solutions as well. So the Omniverse is not supposed to be is not intended to be a single platform to replace. It’s there to allow for integration and collaboration with many, many of the technologies as well.
Panelist: Is a proper analogy, almost like if you look at all the streaming services, right, if you look at Netflix and Apple and Amazon and all these different streaming services, you’re Omniverse is what would connect the mall and allow them to distribute whatever content they need to distribute out.
Jason: It’s more than that. It’s about developing that content as well and creating the content, bringing those tools together so that a designer it creates that can use the tools that they want to use, but collaborate with other people that are using a different set of tools, different sets of technologies and have them brought together in that virtual environment. And then, to see in real-time what they’re creating, it doesn’t matter. You don’t even need to be in the same physical place. You can be on different sides of the planet and still collaborate in the same environment in real-time. And then to be able to simulate the environment that it’s in. So you know, what’s the weather like? What’s the Sun like? Is it a day? Is it night? Is it raining? What’s gravity like? Do I want to simulate an environment for a trip to Mars? A trip to the Moon? A trip to Jupiter with a higher gravity? And all of these things, because we can control the physics inside this embarrassment. And it is true physics. We’ve got the ability to manipulate that and control that we can simulate any environment and even change the laws of physics if we want to because it’s the simulation.
Panelist: It’s amazing. Kevin, what is this your cloud doing with the Metaverse and ultimately the Omniverse?
Kevin: Well, yeah, it’s an interesting question. So for a lot of people, the Metaverse is, you know, like we’ve anecdotally thought about what Facebook has renamed itself to recently as the matter. That’s the consumer side. What we’re talking about is the professional and enterprise-class side. And we see the Metaverse is like, Jason said. It’s multiple worlds within worlds upon loads of people interacting. And the way that we see it all coming together is that at some point, you know, it’s happening now just in the real world with people professionally and socially. Those barriers of professional social identity, both business and consumer, won’t exist. Marketplaces will be created. The business will be done at a different scale. Connections will be made between people. Expertise just in time.
So let’s talk about physical simulation. If you want to prototype a product in manufacturing, you have to build some test equipment and prototype material testing, basic engineering structures. NVIDIA’s given us the ability to create ground truth in a digital construct and then allow us to deliver in the physical world using the digital as a proven state. So that means if you think about autonomous cars and things which is a great example again. And the idea that you could simulate autonomous cars driving in the real world in a game engine, why would you want to do that? All the things that Jason said, you can simulate physics, you can simulate weather, but knowing that you can time travel because the only way to get the IP, the intelligence you need may not be a prototype and autonomous cars. Whatever it is, is test, test, test all the way through.
In the digital world, you can travel time and space so you can speed these things up. So Metaverse as a term is just bringing together all of those things. That’s what the Metaverse really means is that it’s the blending of all of these digital things worlds, assets. We see everything that we do in the physical world, not just happening in the digital world, but expanding in, if you could imagine, in an infinite space. I describe it sometimes as a hypermarket with an infinite amount of real estate space.
The predictions are that digital assets will outpace physical assets thousands to one, without doubt, and that’s just the next couple of years, let alone in the future. So we see this as a massive business opportunity because the key to all of it in my mind is and where Cloudalize has been successful is you’ve got to build these underpinning infrastructures. This is a new way of doing things. It’s infrastructure. If you don’t bring together the infrastructure and you don’t align it and build it for the future state, it’s age. We’ll see that in the real world of design infrastructure that was poorly designed and poorly executed. It doesn’t live for very many years, and some want to build a nice new, shiny one somewhere else in the world where they’ve not had to live by the legacy. And this comes from pioneering these things. But we’re in a state now where we see the opportunity that if we work together, build the infrastructure, enable the market, that’s where the business opportunity is.
You mentioned Netflix earlier. Netflix is a great example of where the creatives, the creative industry has been given an enablement to create infinite amounts of content. Which absolutely revolutionized their business, and it’s meant that people can look again. You think about the Metaverse and the idea of Omniverse collaboratively, creatively, people pick up contracts, drop contracts, move rent, but also now in the future. What happens if we start looking at things like A.I.? A.I creating content because, in this next version of Netflix, the Metaverse version of Netflix, there aren’t enough people in the world to create the content for that. So that’s what these kinds of things come together. So for us, we see this as getting ahead of the game, putting the pieces together and being part of this, this new way of working. That’s great. Does that make sense?
Panelist: Yeah, it’s fascinating. So, Benny, you know, Kevin talks about the fact that someone needs to have the infrastructure to build this infinite real estate. So can you talk about what Cloudalize does and how it enables content producers to have the real estate on which they can build on?
Benny: Yeah, sure, Stephen. So I have known Kevin already for a few years, and they were customers on the Cloudalize cloud, and then we started talking about the NVIDIA Omniverse, and we realized that the Metaverse will need new infrastructure. It will need metaverse infrastructure. And we started out putting our heads together, and we realized, OK, there’s so much possible with Omniverse. Let’s look at how we can take the existing infrastructure that’s already hardware that’s out today out there and make a fantastic platform out of it because the public cloud is just too plain vanilla at this point. So, for example, Omniverse is RTX enabled, so that means they can use ray tracing better where you simulate individual photons and have a level of realism where you cannot tell the difference between the real world and the virtual world.
Panelist: I can’t let you go by without explaining that further. So you said that the Omniverse is RTX enabled. Can you explain what that means?
Benny: So that means that you can use this algorithm called “ray tracing” to render the image in real-time? And it’s an algorithm that goes back to the fact that you mimic the behavior of a single photon. And that way, you have very realistic shadows. It looks realistic. It’s just a complicated way of saying that the visuals look like reality, and you cannot tell the difference anymore. And I think it was a turning point in human history. This keynote of Jensen, where everybody was fooled, I was looking at it, and I thought, This is the real Jensen in his kitchen. But it was not him. It was a recording from the metaverse of his kitchen, and everybody was fooled who looked at it. That’s the level it’s at, and that was even, for me, a wake-up call like, my god, this is already at this level.
And so to enable this, you need special hardware. For example, in this cloud with EscherCloud, we’re using the latest Nvidia RTX Ampere 6000 cards that enable that kind of realism. And then we’re making the combination between a virtual desktop that has these amazing capabilities where you then install some applications of Omniverse because Omniverse exists out of a backend database that we’re done putting on the same hardware. But really, it’s a scalable cluster. So that means you’re automatically matching it to the resources it needs, as are many people that come in, many people that go out again.
You need those flexible needs to match, and we match it with the top of racks, NVIDIA Mellanox based 100 gigabits per second. We’re putting that on superfast storage, and we’re connecting it, and that’s amazing with DGX resources, so that are optimized to do A.I. workloads because A.I. is very quickly growing in Omniverse, and Nvidia has made all of their platforms and tools compatible with it and Omniverse. And there is this massive opportunity to do training, A.I., training, in Omniverse. And so having this solution where you only need to pay them for the A.I. power that you need when you’re doing the training all connected in one platform, it’s just a massive accomplishment, and it’s totally new infrastructure. Let’s call it metaverse infrastructure, and it becomes especially noticeable on very large datasets and where you have amazing speeds, and datasets will become larger and larger. And so, so that’s a word or two about this metaverse infrastructure that we’re building. It’s quite unique.
Panelist: What you’re saying is that the cloud, as it stands today, is not customized enough for companies businesses to take advantage of all that the Omniverse has to offer.
Benny: Yeah, so basically the public clouds, did they build first and then afterward it’s a take it or leave it deal? But what we’re doing here is first look for what you specifically want to do with, for example, already specifically Omniverse, and let’s find the right set of specs and on a technical level that you need. Right? And as I said, we have benchmarks showing a 10x gain and performance cost versus the most compatible thing out there.
Panelist: So we’ll have a couple of examples. Can you give two examples of what you’ve done for customers where they really benefited from their customization?
Benny: Yeah, absolutely. So this is a beautiful example here. Hosting and video Omniverse on top of RTX cards that are not available in any public cloud today. So it’s actually the first cloud with an RTX card, I think. But please correct me if I’m wrong, Jason, and also the super-fast storage that is needed to enable these large data sets the connection speed between the backend components of Omniverse and the front-end components. Those are, to me, the three most exciting things and all of this and a managed cloud where the I.T. is responsible for the environment and obviously with great ease and use automate everything he needs to do for his users.