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Nvidia teams up with AWS to stream VR from the cloud

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AWS and the Nvidia CloudXR platform have joined forces, allowing the platform, designed to deliver VR and AR across 5G and WiFi networks, to soon be available on Amazon EC2 P3 and G4 instances, powered by Nvidia V100 and T4 GPUs.

The new service will be able to stream ‘high-quality immersive experiences’ remotely to standalone all-in-one VR and AR devices, as well as tablets and phones.

All graphics processing is done in the cloud using Nvidia GPUs, which means the visual quality and experience in VR should be much better than when using the integrated GPU on HMDs like the Oculus Quest.

Importantly, as headsets don’t need to be tethered to a workstation or an external VR tracking system, it should make VR more accessible to a much wider audience.

Nvidia AWS Theia Interactive
With CloudXR on AWS, Gettys can digitally bring project stakeholders together on short notice for quick VR design alignment meetings

This is proving to be the case at the Gettys Group, a hospitality design, branding and development company based in Chicago, who is an early adopter of CloudXR on AWS.

Gettys frequently partners with visualisation company Theia Interactive to turn the design process for new buildings and renovations into interactive Unreal Engine VR experiences.

David Weinstein, director for professional VR at Nvidia gives some background: “Gettys found that by immersing stakeholders in VR experiences they win more projects. The projects go more smoothly, the stakeholders are happier with the project outcomes.

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“The challenge is how to get all of those stakeholders into VR when they need to do a design review with the property owner for a lobby renovation project or when they need to explore guestroom furniture options with a manufacturer. They simply can’t assume those individuals are going to have a powerful workstation at their fingertips.”

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Gettys and Theia used Nvidia CloudXR to deliver customer projects to a local all-in-one Oculus Quest HMD, streaming from the AWS EC2 P3 instance with Quadro Virtual Workstation.

“This is a game changer — by streaming collaborative experiences from AWS, we can digitally bring project stakeholders together on short notice for quick VR design alignment meetings,” said Ron Swidler, chief innovation officer at The Gettys Group. “This is going to save a ton of time and money, but more importantly it’s going to increase client engagement, understanding and satisfaction.”

Streaming VR from the cloud does bring some challenges when it comes to latency. Low latency is essential for a good VR experience, which means distance to the datacentre is important.

Weinstein told DEVELOP3D that in for most parts of the US the distance to the nearest AWS datacentre is somewhere in the range of 15 to 50 milliseconds. “Even at that 50 millisecond ping time, round tripping time, people still have a great streaming experience from from AWS,” he says.

Weinstein added that firms can also use the AWS service locally with Outposts, a private on prem installation of AWS. “We’re seeing uptake by a lot of the larger companies who were putting Outposts on prem, and they will then have access to the CloudXR platform on prem as well, which of course will have very, very low latency.”

Nvidia CloudXR on AWS will be generally available early next year, with a private beta available in the coming months.