digital development

University of Houston moves in on industrial metaverse with new partnership

UH — along with some industry partners — has announced plans to work on applications for the industrial metaverse. Image via Getty Images

The University of Houston is helping advance the industrial metaverse.

UH has teamed up with the AI Innovation Consortium, software company Nvidia, and oil and gas engineering and services company TechnipFMC to create applications for the industrial metaverse. The project is affiliated with the Artificial Intelligence Industry Incubator and Digital Oilfield Lab at UH’s campus in Sugar Land. The incubator and lab opened in 2020.

As VentureBeat defines it, the industrial metaverse can transform the way every physical asset — such as a building, plane, robot, or car — is created, assembled, and operated. The industrial metaverse marries the “real world” with technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, cloud computing, edge computing, the internet of things (IoT), 5G, and extended reality (virtual, augmented, and mixed reality).

Global revenue for the industrial metaverse is projected to reach $540 billion by 2025. A key fixture of the industrial metaverse are “digital twins,” which are virtual replicas of physical entities or systems (such as factories).

Adam Berg, manager of learning solutions at TechnipFMC, has been working with the UH College of Technology and the AI Innovation Consortium to test an augmented reality program for management of upstream resources. TechnipFMC is a pioneer in extended reality.

One of the UH professors participating in this effort is David Crawley, professor of practice at the university’s College of Technology and a trustee of the AI Innovation Consortium. Last year, the consortium hosted an AI conference at the UH campus in Sugar Land. The consortium is a think tank whose members include UH, Pennsylvania State University, Louisiana State University, and the University of Louisville (Kentucky).

Crawley says the consortium’s “academic ecosystem” is critical to developing the workforce of the future.

Konrad Konarski, chairman of the consortium, says the group is building the world’s largest portfolio of industrial metaverse apps for the oilfield services industry and various manufacturing sectors.

“This means a maintenance manager, an operations technology expert, or whoever is responsible for a metaverse technology project will be able to pick up an augmented reality platform or a wearable computer, or simply a smartphone, and seamlessly interconnect their real-world operating environment to and from the metaverse,” Konarski, an AI and IoT expert, says in a news release.

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Building Houston

 
 

With Clutch, connecting brands with creators has never been easier and more inclusive. Photo courtesy of Clutch

An app that originally launched on Houston college campuses has announced it's now live nationwide.

Clutch founders Madison Long and Simone May set out to make it easier for the younger generation to earn money with their skill sets. After launching a beta at local universities last fall, Clutch's digital marketplace is now live for others to join in.

The platform connects brands to its network of creators for reliable and authentic work — everything from social media management, video creation, video editing, content creation, graphic design projects, and more. With weekly payments to creators and an inclusive platform for users on both sides of the equation, Clutch aims to make digital collaboration easier and more reliable for everyone.

“We’re thrilled to bring our product to market to make sustainable, authentic lifestyles available to everyone through the creator economy," says May, CTO and co-founder of Clutch. "We’re honored to be part of the thriving innovation community here in Houston and get to bring more on-your-own-terms work opportunities to all creators and businesses through our platform.”

In its beta, Clutch facilitated collaborations for over 200 student creators and 50 brands — such as DIGITS and nama. The company is founded with a mission of "democratizing access to information and technology and elevating the next generation for all people," according to a news release from Clutch. In the beta, 75 percent of the creators were people of color and around half of the businesses were owned by women and people of color.

“As a Clutch Creator, I set my own pricing, schedule and services when collaborating on projects for brands,” says Cathy Syfert, a creator through Clutch. “Clutch Creators embrace the benefits of being a brand ambassador as we create content about the products we love, but do it on behalf of the brands to help the brands grow authentically."

The newly launched product has the following features:

  • Creator profile, where users can share their services, pricing, and skills and review inquiries from brands.
  • Curated matching from the Clutch admin team.
  • Collab initiation, where users can accept or reject incoming collab requests with brands.
  • Collab management — communication, timing, review cycles — all within the platform.
  • In-app payments with a weekly amount selected by the creators themselves.
  • Seamless cancellation for both brands and creators.
Clutch raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Precursor Ventures, Capital Factory, HearstLab, and more. Clutch was originally founded as Campus Concierge in 2021 and has gone through the DivInc Houston program at the Ion.

Madison Long, left, and Simone May co-founded Clutch. Photo courtesy of Clutch

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