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September 21, 2022

Metaverse-as-a-Service? Nvidia dips into SaaS and IaaS with Omniverse Cloud

The GPU maker has big plans for virtual worlds, and has launched a suite of new SaaS and IaaS tools for businesses.

By Matthew Gooding

Chipmaker Nvidia has announced its first software-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service products, Omniverse Cloud, as it targets revenues from artists, developers and enterprise teams working in the nascent metaverse.

Nvidia Omniverse Cloud is the company’s first foray into SaaS (Photo courtesy of Nvidia press office)

The company’s new offering, launched yesterday, will help teams collaborate on metaverse projects and build digital twins of systems they are developing.

“With Omniverse in the cloud, we can connect teams worldwide to design, build, and operate virtual worlds and digital twins,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang.

The metaverse – the idea that social and work interactions will take place in virtual worlds – is growing in popularity among businesses. Nvidia hopes its GPU technology will underpin many metaverse operations, and last year launched the Omniverse platform, an open-source tool to help developers build virtual worlds. Omniverse Cloud brings an additional software layer to its metaverse portfolio.

What is Nvidia Omniverse Cloud?

Nvidia says the new service will allow developer and enterprise teams to design, publish and operate metaverse operations and collaborate on 3D workflows. The company uses the example of robotics engineers, who it says will be able to “train, simulate, test and deploy AI-enabled intelligent machines with increased scalability and accessibility” through its Isaac Sim app, which is part of Omniverse Cloud.

The system also includes DRIVE sim, designed for those working on autonomous vehicles. It can enable the generation of physically based sensor data, and simulate traffic scenarios to test a variety of road and weather conditions for safe self-driving deployment, Nvidia said.

Also included in the system are other tools Omniverse Replicator, for generating and deploying synthetic data sets, and Omniverse Farm, which can harness multiple cloud compute instances for larger tasks.

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Omniverse Farm, Replicator and Isaac Sim containers are available today on Nvidia’s GPU cloud for self-service deployment on AWS, using Amazon EC2 G5 instances which feature the company’s GPUs. Omniverse Cloud will also be offered as a managed service by Nvidia, and applications for this are now open.

Nvidia and the metaverse

Companies already “supporting” Omniverse Cloud include Siemens, autonomous vehicle developer RIMAC, and marketing company WPP. Nvidia’s PR does not make clear whether these are paying customers.

Siemens is using the system to deliver solutions on its Siemens Xcelerator business platform. “An open ecosystem is a central design principle for the Siemens Xcelerator digital business platform,” said Tony Hemmelgarn, president and CEO of Siemens Digital Industries Software. “We are excited to expand our partnership with Nvidia, develop integrations between Siemens Xcelerator and Omniverse Cloud, and enable an industrial metaverse where companies can remotely connect their organisations and operate in real-time across the complete product and production lifecycle.”

Huang has been an enthusiastic supporter of the metaverse, which he often refers to as the omniverse, for some time. He told reporters last year: “The economy of the virtual world will be much, much bigger than the economy of the physical world. You’re going to have more cars built and designed in virtual worlds, you’ll have more buildings, more roads, more houses — more hats, more bags, more jackets.”

Read more: Metaverse M&A – why investors are flocking to virtual worlds

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