As the world looks back at all the transformative technologies of 2022—artificial intelligence (AI) milestones, adjustments to hybrid work, and the digital transformation of business—Nvidia appears to be continuing its momentum into 2023. Its gaming revenue numbers are down, but these are not related to what the company has done wrong, but a confluence of events- fewer AAA games to drive new hardware, crypto crash, Covid recovery, and inventory balancing. Gamers are spending at least as much time gaming as they did pre-pandemic.
At CES 2023, Nvidia made many new announcements in robotics, its Omniverse, its mobile graphics portfolio and automotive products. I want to talk about some of the announcements that stuck out the most to me and how Nvidia is shaping the world around us.
Nvidia Issac Sim and Drive Sim
Isaac Sim is Nvidia 's digital-twin robotics simulation application that enables researchers and developers to train and optimize AI in simulated industrial environments. Nvidia has introduced new sensor and lidar support to model real-world performance, a new conveyor-building tool and a utility that adds people to the simulated environment.
One of the challenges of training an AI model for robotic applications is that real-world work scenarios, like a work accident, are not always replicable in the real world. Training the AI of these robots in the real world would be a challenge but a digital twin of the real world enables developers to train AI through unpredictable and volatile scenarios. Isaac Sim allows developers to simulate these scenarios so that an industrial robot can react accordingly and do its job correctly. An example would be a robot that organizes and manages inventory and must travel through heavily trafficked and changing areas.
While the new people utility has a limited number of commands, it still has a lot of potential. I imagine Nvidia adding support for environment-simulated behaviors where developers take a sample dataset of movement from people in each environment and integrate that dataset into Isaac Sim. This would give the AI more accurate data to learn on compared to random or one-path movement.
Industrial robots have been around for 40 years. In fact, I worked beside them in the early 80s when I was in high school. The challenge was expense, time to set up and ability to deal with changing environments. If Nvidia and its partners can nail this, I believe it will change the face of the front-line workplace forever.
Nvidia is also using Omniverse to build state-of-the-art factories for vehicles and validated with Nvidia Drive Sim. Mercedes-Benz announced at CES that it is using Nvidia Omniverse platform to design and plan manufacturing and assembly facilities. The Nvidia Drive Sim should allow Mercedes-Benz to build software-defined vehicles and then produce the vehicle, also built on a digital-first process. This plan enables Mercedes-Benz and other automotive manufacturers not to disrupt current operations while strategically laying out the production process.
New mobile graphics processors
Nvidia is also stepping up its mobile graphics processors, bringing its more efficient Ada Lovelace architecture to slim form factors. While other competitors have been slow to answer Apple's M1 and M2 CPUs, Nvidia has consistently stood its ground in mobile graphics. Nvidia's introduction of GeForce RTX 40 Series Laptop GPUs makes for what Nvidia says is its largest generational leap for mobile graphics.
Nvidia says that the new GeForce RTX 40 series GPUs provide massive speed-ups for 3-D, video and broadcast workflows, plus additional AI tools that take advantage of ray tracing, AI and video encoding hardware. These designs include support for DLSS 3, AV1 encoding and new Max-Q technologies that can fit into thinner, less power-hungry laptops.
These generational improvements leave an incredible amount of upgrade potential, even in comparison with last year's devices. Gaming and content-creation demands remain high and, with hybrid work on the rise, workflows that rely heavily on mobile graphics should continue to rise. This increase makes performance per watt (PPW) and battery efficiency top priorities for content creators.
While gaming historically has lower performance expectations when it comes to mobile, it likewise is benefiting from the generational leap. Less hungry hardware with lower thermal limitations opens up gaming and creation laptops to be slimmer and less specialized. In other words, slim-form-factor laptops can now offer options that include serious gaming in the mix. We have already seen an increase in gaming because of the pandemic; the availability of desktop-quality gaming experiences in a thin-and-light mobile form factor should only encourage that trend.
As mentioned above, another part of that desktop-level gaming experience coming to laptops is support for Nvidia's DLSS 3 AI-powered graphics, including more than 50 titles supporting DLSS 3. This adoption of DLSS 3 is a huge win for mobile gamers, especially since DLSS 3 is coming to GeForce NOW Ultimate Members with RTX 4080 upgrades.
Nvidia also released its GeForce RTX 4070 Ti graphics card to follow the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, with up to 15% faster performance in straight 3-D rendering and a massive leap in the experience using DLSS. The GeForce RTX 4070 Ti features dual AV1 encoders and the new fourth-generation Tensor Cores for AI tools. The GeForce RTX 4070 Ti should be great for Nvidia’s updates to Omniverse and Studio with its new fourth-generation Tensor Cores.
Updates to NVIDIA Omniverse and Studio
Alongside these GPU upgrades, Nvidia is improving Omniverse, RTX Remix, Canvas and Broadcast. Omniverse, based on Universal Scene Description (USD), enables content creators to collaborate on various tools from makers such as Adobe and Autodesk.
Nvidia has made the Blender alpha branch release available in the Omniverse launcher. It has also announced performance updates to Audio2Face, Audio2Gesture and Audio2Emotion, which are powerful generative AI tools in Omniverse that enable instant and realistic animation.
Adding these tools enables creators to automate certain tasks and be more creative quickly. I believe there are legitimate concerns from creators on how generative AI could change the artistic landscape, like how it could create lazy creators. I mean lazy creators that do not put any creativity or personal investment in what's being created. However, generative AI tools like Audio2Face, Audio2Gesture, and Audio2Emotion enable creators to save time using instant and realistic animation to focus on more challenging artistic endeavors.
Nvidia also talked at CES about RTX Remix, which allows modders to create RTX remasters with ray tracing, and DLSS and which is approaching its early-access release. I believe this could be great for breathing new life into older games. Nvidia is also improving Canvas inside Omniverse, which lets creators paint by material rather than color and includes a 360-degree image feature. Nvidia says creators can drop in panoramic scenes and export them to 3-D apps.
I believe these improvements to the Nvidia Omniverse and Nvidia Studio enable better collaboration in hybrid or remote environments. These Omniverse updates are complementary improvements to Nvidia's newly released GPUs.
Nvidia is continuing to make strides with its cutting-edge technologies in a variety of fields, from robotics to mobile graphics processors to the Nvidia Omniverse. With new sensors and lidar support, conveyor-building tools and simulated people, Isaac Sim also enables developers to simulate real-world scenarios that would otherwise be impossible to replicate.
The introduction of Nvidia's GeForce RTX 40 Series Laptop GPUs provides a huge leap forward in mobile graphics, allowing for more efficient performance per watt, greater battery efficiency and slimmer form factors. Complementary to Nvidia's new mobile graphics chips, Nvidia has made numerous improvements to its Omniverse, RTX Remix, Canvas and Broadcast products, enabling better collaboration in hybrid and remote environments. Nvidia's new offerings carry on the company's great momentum from 2022; it will be exciting to see what they go next. Now all they need are developers to release more AAA gaming titles.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this article.