As virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences become more immersive and deliver a high-fidelity of visuals, this means that the amount of data needing to be sent is also increasing in size. With more mobile and standalone headsets coming to market, companies like Ericsson are looking to take advantage of could computing along with 5G networks to help create a better low-latency future for VR, AR and mixed reality (MR) headsets.
VRFocus’ Nina Salomons recently got a chance to speak with Eric Qian, Head of Strategic Focus & Business Innovation, Ericsson, about the work he and his team are doing to make the 5G future of immersive media a reality and the companies plans for the future. Though Qian’s primary role is focusing on the internet of things (IOT) and data analytics, his team focus on three strategic areas. This includes both IOT and data analytics but also edge computing, which they are looking for applications that take advantage of 5G. Edge computing, for those unaware, is a method of optimizing cloud computing systems by performing data processing at the edge of the network, near the source of the data.
“So when it comes to immersive technology, we’re mainly talking about applications within the virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality areas. In those areas, we will see some challenges mainly related to lack of mobility, bulky headsets and the user experience which is related to motion sickness. So we see 5G and those under the umbrella of 5G, will be a main kind of technology to tackle those issues.” Qian explains.
By using edge computing and 5G networks Ericsson hope to overcome these challenges in a number of ways. Qian mentions in the interview how “5G provides a network to you that can deliver the content faster, by offloading the complication from the glasses to the mobile edge. We’re able to significantly contribute to reduce the size of the VR devices and also we can improve the user experience.”
All of this possible thanks to the power and flexibility that 5G allows developers and content creators to tap into. Qian further explains that: “5G provides very high bandwidth and low latency so this can deliver the high resolution content to the VR glasses and also at the same time we don’t see 5G only as a means to provide a faster network instead it can provide another important tool – it can help to offload the computing from the glasses into the cloud side and here we are mainly talking about offloading to the mobile edge on the network side.”
The applications for VR, AR and MR to take advantage of 5G and edge computing and near limitless with Ericsson already proving it can work. The company teamed up with Verizon back in May, 2017 to test 5G capabilities by having streamed VR footage to a headset to help a driver steer a car. You can watch the full interview with Eric Qian, Head of Strategic Focus & Business Innovation, Ericsson below which explores the applications, advantages and the companies plans for 5G in further detail.
For more on immersive media and future updates on 5G and the latest cloud innovations for VR and AR application, keep reading VRFocus.