CAD Tech News (#154)

16 Dec, 2021 By: Cadalyst Staff

The Metaverse: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff, from a CAD Perspective: Much of the early conceptual pitches might feel like marketing fluff, but the metaverse will hold some real value, particularly in CAD-centric computing.

December 16, 2021

Issue #154


The Metaverse: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff, from a CAD Perspective


Much of the early conceptual pitches might feel like marketing fluff, but the metaverse will hold some real value, particularly in CAD-centric computing.

It's feeling like we’re in another hype and bust cycle. Marketing megaphones are on, and the message is blaring: The metaverse is coming, and it will be transformative. Get on board or get left behind. Facebook turned the volume up considerably with the change of its name to “meta,” accompanied with an advertising push aimed not just at tech-oriented audiences but blanketing mainstream channels as well. The company’s “Tiger and Buffalo” ad seems to be everywhere, promising how “This is going to be fun” (though it doesn’t quite make clear how).

Justifying its rebranding, Meta (formerly Facebook) clearly judges the metaverse as the next big thing. Image source: Meta 


It sure seems like we’re approaching that tipping point we’ve witnessed more than a few times in the past, with an industry fostering an overly enthusiastic vision in efforts to build awareness and ultimately grow its markets. Sometimes there’s enough substance to eventually deliver on the hype, but often the exuberance spirals so far out of whack, some degree of disappointment is inevitable.

The hype has not only arrived but is arguably being set up to fail, at least if failing is defined as falling short of clearing the lofty bar that’s being set. Count me as one who’s more than skeptical that the metaverse will achieve on expectations — at least in the broad sense, and including both those explicitly define as well as those being conjured in the minds of consumers and businesses alike. No doubt, there is proven value of a shared immersive 3D world in gaming, and clearly meta envisions a social media world evolving directly into its metaverse. Still, the possibility remains that it’s ultimately perceived down the road as a flash in the pan, an afterthought or even a punchline, simply because proponents over promised and under delivered.

And if so, that’ll be a shame, because — also like other hype cycles before it — the failure to clear an unrealistic bar will have overshadowed some real value in the underlying concepts and technologies. At least in the context of CAD-centric industries like AEC, design, and manufacturing, compelling uses extend beyond gimmick to offer real utility, value that dovetails with other emerging trends to offer some interesting technology synergies for businesses relying on 3D visual computing.


Plumbing the Metaverse for AEC, Design, and Manufacturing Worth

This column has touched on the idea of the metaverse before, in the context of NVIDIA’s Omniverse, now off the drawing board and out in use, though with an ecosystem still being fleshed out. Check out the previous dive into Omniverse here, and click over to NVIDIA’s site for more on the latest updates on partners and tools supporting Omniverse. The focus here is not Omniverse specifically — though it currently represents the most mature example — but rather on what the model of a metaverse tailored specifically to 3D visual computing can offer the CAD community.

Thanks to growing mainstream marketing onslaught, the metaverse might conjure up a vision of avatars taking our place, roaming through some unknown and unnatural world. What do you do in that world that you wouldn't do in the real world? In gaming, the answer is both obvious and proven: the metaverse creates a fantasy world that can be shared virtually. Social media seems like a fit, though it’s debatable how much of that community will end up adopting it as a must-have norm instead of a curious gimmick.

In industries like AEC, design, and manufacturing, though, the metaverse presents an opportunity to sensibly improve on the operations and workflows supporting not only the projects to create — that have always represented the crux of CAD computing — but in the support and maintenance of those projects long after creation. Yes, metaverse computing environments will assuredly offer virtual interactivity between users via avatars, with or without accessories like VR headsets and haptic feedback gloves. But for many, those functions will be judged the chaff, not the wheat.

So what will the metaverse bring to CAD?  Find out how Ericsson and other firms are beginning to use the metaverse to bring their projects to fruition.   Read more >>


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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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