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NVIDIA announces Omniverse Open Beta — global real-time collaboration

Nvidia Omniverse opens up to everyone in Open Beta program after a yearlong Early Access success with partners like Foster + Partners.

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The Nvidia Omniverse™ platform will soon enable millions of designers, architects, and other creators to collaborate in real-time, whether working on-premises or remotely. The technology GPU giant announced the open beta would be available this fall during GTC this month.

Nvidia Omniverse

Omniverse is the world’s first Nvidia RTX-based 3D simulation and collaboration platform that fuses the physical and virtual worlds to simulate reality in real-time and with photorealistic detail.

The open beta comes on the heels of a successful early access program with leading name-brand corporate and creative giants like Ericsson, Foster + Partners, Lucasfilm, and 40 other companies. The open beta follows a yearlong process where architects, engineers, animators, and other similar professionals collaborated in real-time much like jointly editing a document online.

Nvidia Omniverse

(Image: Omniverse Marbles, Nvidia / All rights reserved.)

“Physical and virtual worlds will increasingly be fused,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA, who revealed the open beta in his digital keynote address at the GPU Technology Conference. “Omniverse gives teams of creators spread around the world or just working from home the ability to collaborate on a single design as easily as editing a document. This is the beginning of the Star Trek Holodeck, realized at last.”

Based on Pixar’s widely adopted Universal Scene Description (USD) format for universal interchange between 3D applications, Omniverse has proved essential for early access companies working in robotics, automotive, architecture, engineering and construction, manufacturing, and media and entertainment industries.

“We’ve had a longstanding collaboration with NVIDIA around our production workflows using their GPUs,” said Steve May, CTO at Pixar. “And with their adoption of Pixar’s Universal Scene Description for Omniverse, it continues even more so; together we are committed to advancing the state of the art in computer graphics.”

“Omniverse represents the platform of the future for all aspects of virtual production,” said Bill Warner, Avid Technology founder and chairman of Lightcraft Technology. “We’ve been actively evaluating this platform from NVIDIA and have made the decision to base our entire product line on this amazing new technology.”

Leading Architecture and Engineering Companies

Key early access partners were famed UK architecture firm, Fosters + Partners, Wood Bagot, and Ericsson, a leading telecommunications company. The latter company used Omniverse to simulate and visualize the signal propagation of its 5G network deployment using real-world city models. The former used Omniverse to help address and solve data exchange workflows and collaborative design processes.

Software Partners

Nvidia’s Omniverse platform has support from major software leaders as partners:

  • Adobe
  • Autodesk
  • Bentley Systems
  • Blender
  • Esri
  • Graphisoft
  • Pixar
  • Robert McNeel & Associates
  • SideFX
  • Trimble
  • Unity
  • Unreal Engine

Autodesk is optimistic about how millions of users worldwide will respond to Omniverse.

“The importance of our two-year collaboration with NVIDIA cannot be overstated,” said Amy Bunszel, senior vice president for Design and Creation Products at Autodesk. “Projects and teams are becoming increasingly complex and we are confident Autodesk users across all industries will share our enthusiasm for Omniverse’s ability to create a more collaborative and immersive experience. This is what the future of work looks like.”

To Learn More

To learn more visit Omniverse here.

Architosh Analysis and Commentary

Nvidia’s Omniverse was briefly discussed in my discussion with Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost when we spoke about the future of Revit. I brought up this technology as yet another example of the power of APIs connecting up diverse applications across vendors and addressing remotely configured teams. He acknowledged and agreed with me enthusiastically about the Omniverse technology. 

MORE: What’s Beyond Revit—Anagnost on Autodesk AEC Futures

What’s key about Omniverse in reference to the interoperability difficulties in AECO is that the platform is truly universal and open. It starts by leveraging Pixar technology (and Pixar has a long history of investing in technology and sharing it openly with the rest of the computer graphics community). Pixar’s USD (Universal Scene Description) format is open-source and it is richer than just a file format; it is a scene description representation with an API that enables complex property inheritance, instancing, layering, lazy loading, and many other features. The Omniverse Nucleus DB service is at the center of the coordination with the API technologies. 

MORE: Synergy and Alignment—The API’s Democratizing Role

In essence, the Nucleus technology operates similarly to today’s modern BIM and MCAD tools, working under a “publish/subscribe” model with access controls. The difference is, this control system is featured inside an open tool that coordinates the work between unrelated applications across vendors. This kind of workflow has been and will be a necessity in the complex 3D pipelines for Hollywood studios likely forever. It is a departure from the AEC industry where de facto file formats have forced collaboration partners into specific workflows that support the de facto file format, whether that be the agreement around Autodesk Revit or agreement around the Open BIM standard IFC. 

We see Omniverse offering a newer pathway to the challenges of interoperability in AEC. It is also richer because it feeds into other functionalities beyond just 3D model and data exchange, specifically simulation and advanced real-time visualization. It is a perfect example of the main thesis in our recent feature article “Synergy and Alignment—The APIs Democratizing Role” because it does just that—liberates workflows and tool choices. 

In my discussion with Anagnost, he says that the technology shown in the AEC Delta Mobility project is the kind of stuff they are working on. We see that technology as a tighter formation of technology and focus than Omniverse which is quite broad. Either way, to understand why this kind of API-driven technologies will continue to bloom and succeed, we would suggest you read our recent feature on the underlying reasons, (see, Architosh: “Synergy and Alignment—The APIs Democratizing Role,” 3 Oct 2020)

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