A new mobile industry initiative aims to accelerate the deployment of 5G cloud-based augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) services.
As global mobile industry group GSMA explained, AR/VR headsets require a large amount of storage, power consumption and processing power that is currently provided by a PC or gaming device. This makes the headsets expensive and limits their portability, which in turn inhibits their potential as a mass market product. If these capabilities are moved to an edge cloud platform instead, consumers will only need to purchase the headset – making them cheaper and more widely available over time.
Cloud AR/VR technology requires a very fast, low latency bandwidth data connection in order to deliver an ultra-high resolution 4K or 8K viewing experience. 5G will be able to deliver this via its new network capabilities as well as a more reliable experience through edge cloud, which opens up ultra-low latency services, the industry body said.
The GSMA Cloud AR/VR Forum will encourage knowledge sharing between members, as well as discussion about new business models including the development of a service reference architecture to avoid cost fragmentation. It will also focus on the development of technical aspects such as ultra-low latency codec compression, graphics processing unit (GPU) rendering in the cloud, virtualisation technologies, and the creation of simplified interfaces so that developers can easily deploy services.
It is backed by mobile operators including China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, KT Corp, NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Telefónica, Telenor, TIM, Turkcell and Vodafone, and other industry partners including Huawei and HTC.
Arash Ashouriha, SVP, group technology innovation at Deutsche Telekom AG and chairman of the GSMA Future Networks Programme, said: “The convergence of 5G networks and clouds will enable mass market adoption of immersive experiences like AR and VR. Utilising scalable computing power at the network edge allows for unprecedented immersive and pervasive customer experience while leveraging cloud economics. Hence, we need to work towards open ecosystems providing common interfaces across the end-to-end value chain in order to scale cloud AR/VR services fast across different markets. With this approach we will unleash the full potential of 5G.”
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