Facebook is changing its name to Metaverse to highlight the vision of a future that will be lived in the cyberspace (along with life in the physical space). Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, along with sensors, displays, artificial intelligence and Digital Twins, are the enabling technologies.
The road towards a Metaverse we could immerse in is still a long one (and possibly a road that many people would not want to travel) but there are already little trails fitting very specific cyber-realities, like the ones used in games where players feel like being immerse in the cyber-world created by the game.
Industry, and several other sectors, is moving towards shifting part of its operation to the cyberspace (Digital Transformation) because of lower transaction cost and higher efficiency (moving bits, duplicating them and disposing them has basically no cost). The ever growing use of Digital Twins in design, manufacturing, operation and customer support is a sort of Metaverse in itself.
NVIDIA in their November 2021 keynote spoke about their OMNIVERSE (if you have time watch the recording of the keynote, it is long but it is worth the time… The Keynote starts at 13.32 so you can jump there directly to listen on progress in accelerated computing, AI and quantum. If you are looking for the OMNIVERSE jump to 26:40).
Omniverse is a metaverse populated by Industrial Digital Twins, autonomous (virtual) robots allowing a company to create in the virtual space with all the constraints and details of the physical space.
To understand what I mean take a look at the (much shorter) second clip where Ericsson shows how they use the OMNIVERSE for the design and deployment of 5G networks.
In the Facebook vision the Metaverse is a space for all of us, NVIDIA is proposing the OMNIVERSE as a space for industry operation. This latter is already available and it works. But that is not the end of its evolution. I have the feeling that such and Omniverse could be used by students, professionals to enter the manufacturing space and live its operation, thus learning in a much more effective way. It will also, I feel, be used by a whole ecosystem to design and simulate new services that could piggy back on the products designed in that Omniverse. Eventually, also end customers, liek you an me, will walk in the Omniverse to choose products, familiarise with them and even operate them.