Zeus Kerravala
Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his...
Read Full Bio >>

Zeus Kerravala | October 11, 2017 |


Nvidia Delivers Collaboration, 'Star Trek' Style

Nvidia Delivers Collaboration, 'Star Trek' Style Opens early access program for virtual reality platform for collaborative work

Opens early access program for virtual reality platform for collaborative work

Nvidia, the leader in graphical processing units (GPUs), has opened an early access program for its Holodeck collaboration platform introduced earlier this year.

Developers, engineers, or anyone else who would like to use the advanced platform merely need to apply for early access and then, when approved, download it and provide feedback, announced Nvidia at its GPU Technology Conference (GTC) for European developers taking place this week in Munich.

The Nvidia Holodeck is a virtual reality (VR) platform designed to allow designers, developers, engineers, and the like to collaborate in a fully immersive, highly realistic, physically simulated virtual setting. The product obviously shares its name with the environment made popular on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," but the similarities extend beyond the name.

Within the Star Trek Holodeck environment, real-life rules applied -- so if a crew member fell down a cliff, he'd get hurt. The Star Trek Holodeck included built-in safeguards (which were always stupidly turned off) to ensure against injury. With its Holodeck, Nvidia, too, aims to mimic the real world. It has incorporated the laws of physics so when somebody within the environment drops something, it falls. If a light shines, a shadow is cast. Things like that.

One of the early Holodeck use cases is Nvidia's robot simulator. One of the challenges of training robots is to take a variety of scenarios into consideration. For example, training a robot to walk means having to set up simulations for walking not only on a flat surface but also up stairs, down stairs, at an angle, and so on.

These tests can often take days or even weeks to set up. But in the Holodeck robot simulator, designers can set up and run tests virtually, uploading the data into the robot. When the physical robot "wakes up," it will have full knowledge of how to walk without further training. The ability to run the tests in the virtual environment saves countless hours as well as a significant amount of money.

In addition to using real-world physics, Nvidia has outfitted Holodeck with photorealistic graphics so things appear as they would in real life. This includes objects casting shadows, reflecting images, and other factors that could be important when designing a product. The ultra-high-resolution graphics means designers can focus on designing the product to look exactly like they want it to instead of having to simplify the model to render the product correctly in a virtual environment not equipped to provide a life-like look. For example, car designers might want to see what the light pattern on a new type of headlight might look like. Instead of having to change the physical component out several times, the designers can try them in the Holodeck and then pick a winner based on the tests.

Holodeck also contains a number of artificial intelligence-enabled simulator tools so designers can train different types of intelligent machines, like autonomous vehicles and drones, through simulations and then transfer the intelligence to the physical object. This is similar to the process I described above, but extends to almost any type of object imaginable.

Geographically dispersed -- even global -- teams can improve how they work collaboratively, simulating the effect of being in the same lab. As shown in graphic below, the three people around the car could be physically located in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, although they appear to be in the same room to the other participants.

Nvidia Holodeck: The Design Lab of the Future

Nvidia's latest and greatest GPUs, which have revolutionized these types of environments, power Holodeck. Unlike CPUs, which process single threads really fast, GPUs process multiple threads simultaneously -- necessary for handling high-resolution graphics in a manner that makes video games realistic. GPUs aren't just for graphics any more. The advanced performance capabilities are key to making AI, machine learning, and VR scale.

Opening Holodeck beyond Nvidia's own use is an important step in understanding how industries such as automotive, health care, and science might use such a platform. When Nvidia introduced Holodeck earlier this year at the U.S. GTC, CEO Jensen Huang told me he wasn't sure how the company would monetize the platform because it couldn't think up all the use cases. Opening up Holodeck to outside companies can fuel innovation and create ideas on how to leverage the product. Some of the smartest AI talent work at Nvidia, but that can't possibly match the innovative power of an entire community.

I imagine a time will come when we do many of our day-to-day tasks in virtual simulators. This would include changing the way we educate kids, design homes, or customize a car. However, as the saying goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day." Hopefully Nvidia's early access program will fuel innovation in AI and VR, and accelerate the path to "what's possible."

Follow Zeus Kerravala on Twitter and Google+!
Zeus Kerravala on Google+


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.