Sunday, May 28, 2023
HomeTechnologyHow Nvidia's Omniverse Unlocks Architectural Innovation with IFC

How Nvidia's Omniverse Unlocks Architectural Innovation with IFC

Hangzhou, China – October 20, 2021 – A photo taken on October 20, 2021 shows Nvidia’s booth at the 2021 Hangzhou Yunqi Conference in Hangzhou, eastern Zhejiang province. Nvidia scrapped plans to buy Arm from SoftBank Group Corp amid regulatory backlash, ending one of the biggest deals in the chip industry. (Photo credit should read Costfoto/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Photo credit: Getty Images

Can’t you attend Transform 2022? Check out all the summit sessions in our on-demand library now! look here.

Industry foundation courses started in the construction industry many years ago (IFC) — A data model for describing architecture, engineering, construction, and operations (AECO) data. This specification makes it easier to export data between tools. A significant bottleneck, however, is that IFC only tells construction software vendors what types of data to include, not how to represent it in a specific file format, which can lead to ambiguity and a lot of manual work to share data across tools.

However, Nvidia now implements IFC on top of the Universal Scene Description (USD) file format that supports Nvidia Omniverse. This complements Nvidia’s extensive efforts to develop connectors to various 3D authoring tools for the AEC industry, including Autodesk Alias, Autodesk Civil, Siemens JT, SimScale and Open Geospatial Consortium formats.

IFC’s USD implementation is still in its early stages, but once efforts begin, it promises to simplify construction workflows involving multiple tools from different suppliers. This will make it easier for engineers to leverage Nvidia’s rich AI tools to analyze 3D data, simulate the impact of different design decisions and automatically generate 3D inventory to improve maintenance and operations.

“Ensuring cross-platform consistency is a daunting task for every software company,” George Matos, senior product manager for Nvidia Omniverse AECO, told VentureBeat. “Previously developed standardized and open file formats allow for a bridge between various AECO authoring applications. As technology and its capabilities in AECO advance, we are looking for more extensible formats to enable comprehensive cross- Platform collaboration, and extended capabilities for open file formats. This means that there can be an open dialogue between design applications and dollars. While technology is evolving, we aim to enable between authoring applications and formats and Nvidia Omniverse Full fidelity and consistency, and allows for proprietary functions and calculations within the authoring source or Omniverse.”

Matos sees these efforts as a way to leverage building data in more processes The seeds were sown. For example, an automaker might build physically accurate digital twins of its factories and cars, and then use those same ground truth assets in its sales, marketing, and customer configurators. This requires all AECO data from a company’s factories, CAD data from assembly lines, design data from manufacturing models, and even the autonomous robots operating these facilities to fully contribute to a virtual model. These workflows require standardized data formats and frameworks to keep all 3D assets and data synchronized at high resolution and fidelity.


In the late 1990s, there was no easy way to move data between various engineering and design tools. So AECO companies and software vendors have come together to simplify the process. However, each software has its own geometric kernel, which includes its own representation and data model. Today, IFC is encoded in several file formats, including STEP, XML, RDF, and others in development.

This makes sharing data easier, but with limitations.

“In most cases, IFC is used as a one-way transport mechanism,” said Greg Schleusner, HOK Design Technical Director and Co-Director of Technology in the buildingSMART conference room, responsible for Develop IFC standards.

This one-way process helps teams export data for analysis, detection of scheduling issues, or simulations. However, when changes need to be made, organizations often return to the original tool.

A potential challenge is that various CAD tools can use different ways to represent 3D data. For example, some people use a grid approach, while others see the world as a solid.

“All of these tools have different views of the world and how geometry is represented, and that’s where interoperability is the hardest,” Schleusner said.

So instead of performing a design transfer, the tools will ultimately link to the data as a reference, which will allow teams to put data into new tools and make improvements.

“It’s certainly possible and technically capable, it’s just not used very often,” he explained.

USD Modular Data

Nvidia’s implementation promises to make it easier to represent IFC and other data about the built world in a more consistent format. Additionally, it makes it easier to extract information for specific use cases. Schleusner believes this will make it easier to share some information with contractors. This could also make it easier to implement a suggestion system that recommends specific kinds of door components for a specific project, much like GitHub’s Copilot tool provides coding suggestions.

Nvidia is betting the U.S. dollar will become the dominant format that allows for cross-industry collaboration, computing, AI workflows and design. Omniverse is built entirely on the US dollar. Matos said they are working with AECO leaders including Autodesk, Bentley Systems and Graphisoft to build connectors for the Omniverse platform.

Nvidia is actively developing capabilities internally and with ecosystem partners to connect more complete systems and data types, including IoT, BOM data, piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&ID ) and so on, to almighty.

“Simulating the real world and virtual data together will allow facilities to operate optimally,” Matos said. “This is one of the main drivers behind the open data format approach of using the dollar in conjunction with the Omniverse.”

In the future, Matos expects this to allow the AECO industry to build several Static independent models to build real-time comprehensive digital twins. This will provide real-time, single-source virtual representations of buildings, environments and cities. This can help train AI agents in thousands of scenarios before implementing them in real-time in the real world.

“I’m excited to see companies like Nvidia, Unity, Unreal and more finally stepping into the built environment arena. Better late than never,” Steve Ho, head of HolzerTime Erzer said he is an architecture and planning consultancy and a member of the Digital Twin Consortium’s infrastructure working group. “As the novelty of these tools wears off, it will demonstrate to a broad audience the incredible value of participating in their physical spaces.”

He sees one of the greatest opportunities It is easier to parse the data for a specific use case based on the context. He thinks IFC is a very heavy data structure. Only a few groups have found ways to leverage it across domains, such as COBie for operations, SPARKie for electrical, HVACie for HVAC, and WSie for water. USD can more easily develop new AI models to parse structures, much like NLP tools parse medical entities from health records.

“As the industry understands how to use data beyond novelty, AI/ML will multiply the value of data in every way,” Holzer said.

Digital twin technologist Barry Bassnet has been using photogrammetry to capture 3D models of the built environment for 43 years. He’s excited about the dollar’s potential to transform the construction industry.

“The dollar provides us with a language to somewhat simulate how our brains work and apply it to new processes, especially artificial intelligence,” He says.

He thinks the missing link is a tool to automatically meta-tag build environments. Today, one must manually make links between spatial entities and other types of documents such as PDFs and their contents. The combination of dollars and auto-tagging makes it easier to assign locks to windows, then link to a 3D repair manual or get a replacement key.

Bassnet watched with excitement as VRML emerged, then faded due to bandwidth overhead.

“The dollar is the best chance to find a way to work for the concept of the metaverse and digital twin,” he said.

Schleusner believes the AEC industry can learn from the dollar’s success in entertainment. The entertainment industry is increasingly improving dollars rather than proprietary file formats. As a result, entertainment workflows can exchange data directly between tools, rather than through APIs for more complex transformations. Schleusner believes a similar approach is needed for the AEC industry to realize the innovations in the built environment that digital twins promise.

“One of the most instructive takeaways from USD for the architecture world is that it is much easier to talk to one dataset than many application APIs, “Schleusner said. “The IFC’s new implementation of the U.S. dollar will move the needle toward a more swappable rather than an interoperability approach. That’s the only way we’ll get any closer to success.”

Nvidia has not committed to actually represent IFC by following an existing standardized process. This is important to facilitate cooperation between AECO and technology suppliers. “We’re waiting to see what they want to do,” Schlesner said. “My enthusiasm is based on the fact that they follow our process requirements openly.”

VentureBeat’s mission

is a digital city plaza for technology decision makers to acquire knowledge technology and trade. Read about our newsletter.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Featured NEWS