The GSMA launched a new initiative The GSMA Cloud AR/VR Forum, recently. The focus of the forum will be on cloud augmented reality or AR and virtual reality or VR. The announcement took place in the 9th Global Mobile Broadband Forum that was held in London. The programme was organised by Huawei. Many mobile companies such as China Telecom, KT Corp, Deutsche Telekom, China Mobile, Telefónica, Turkcell, KDDI, Vodafone, China Unicom, SK Telecom, NTT DOCOMO, KT Corp., TIM and Telenor have supported the initiative. The industry partners HTC and Huawei also offered their support in the plan. The primary aim of the programme is to encourage the telecom companies associated with 5G deployment. The plan will be a success if the companies can join their hands together to offer cloud VR/AR services based on 5G.
“Both VR and AR are disruptive forms of immersive multimedia that, combined with operator edge cloud and 5G connectivity, will transform the cost structures of the enterprise and entertainment fields,” commented Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “Mobile operators will play a key role in its development, but without a common approach and industry-wide collaboration we risk fragmenting the market from the beginning. The establishment of this forum will overcome this hurdle and ensure we can scale compelling solutions faster.”
The new forum aims to 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 technical development areas including research into ultra-low latency codec compression, graphics processing unit (GPU) rendering in the cloud and virtualization technologies, as well as the development of simplified interfaces so that developers can easily deploy services.
“The convergence of 5G networks and clouds will enable mass market adoption of immersive experiences like AR and VR. Utilizing 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,” commented Arash Ashouriha, SVP, Group Technology innovation at Deutsche Telekom AG and Chairman of GSMA Future Networks Programme.
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. By moving these capabilities to an edge cloud platform away from the PC, it will mean that consumers will just need to purchase the headset making them cheaper and more widely available over time. Cloud AR/VR technology also requires an incredibly 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.