At Huawei’s 9th Global Broadband Forum held in London we announced the launch of a new industry-wide initiative called The GSMA Cloud AR/VR Forum that is designed to accelerate the delivery and adoption of 5G cloud-based augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology. AR enhances a user’s view by overlaying information on what is in line of sight while VR offers a deeper and more immersive experience. It will be a disruptive form of immersive multimedia and revolutionise the way we communicate and consume content across the enterprise and entertainment fields. It will also be applied to a diverse range of services and use cases and change the way new content is delivered.
Today’s AR/VR experience typically requires a user to have a PC or a gaming console to provide the required amount of storage, power consumption and processing power. This confines the user to a particular location, while making the headsets expensive and fairly niche. The arrival of 5G will mean we can push these capabilities away from the PC or console and into the ‘edge cloud’ meaning that only the headset is required. This is cloud AR/VR technology. Critical to this is a concept called a ‘thin client’ which is the idea that a device which typically includes a number of features such as applications, data or memory has them stored away from the device in the cloud or data centre but which can be easily and readily accessible.
AR/VR technology will become truly mainstream with the broad-scale adoption of 5G networks and its convergence with the cloud. This will require an incredibly fast low-latency bandwidth data connection in order to deliver the ultra-high resolution 4K or 8K viewing experience. In contrast to today, where content is typically downloaded to a device, there will be an expectation to use these services on the move, placing demand on the network to deal with high volumes of streaming video content. 5G is the technology that can deliver all of these demands via its new network capabilities, providing a more reliable experience and ultra-low latency service through edge cloud technology.
We’ll be working closely with a number of global operators and vendors including China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, KT Corp., NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Telefónica, Telenor, TIM, Turkcell and Vodafone, as well Huawei and HTC. All parties will collaborate on a common approach that focuses on avoiding market fragmentation and accelerates the delivery and deployment of 5G cloud-based VR/AR services.
To find out more about the GSMA Cloud AR/VR Forum, and to express your interest in getting involved, please visit this page.