• Jonathan Lee

Virtual Immersive partners with Optus to showcase the power of 5G

Updated: Mar 5, 2020

The next generation mobile network will provide ubiquitous connection speeds, low latency and unrestricted capacity, which will help drive new advancements in the interactive technology space.

Augmented and virtual reality are certainly not new or emerging technologies, but 5G will prove instrumental to these platforms finally hitting the mainstream, and consumers are going to see huge benefits as a result.

AR in particular has the power to transform everyday life for consumers. Whether that be aiding navigation through virtual directions, viewing 3D furniture in your own living room, trying on virtual clothes and make-up, or taking a glimpse into the future. Rich, visual experiences that are delivered to consumers seamlessly and are integrated into the real world, will provide huge value both from a utility and entertainment perspective.

To create truly impactful and purposeful AR experiences, we need powerful processors, hardware and advanced software. We also need to render the data in real time in order to create immersive experiences that will engage consumers and provide utility in their everyday life. This currently requires powerful mobile devices, and the existing 4G networks restrict how far we can push the overall experience.

With 5G, the opportunity to offload heavy real time camera processing to a powerful server over the network, will help to make interactive technologies accessible to more and more people with less powerful mobile devices. This will also allow us to push the boundaries of what is possible, taking AR to the next level.

An estimated 1 billion people will have an AR experience via their own mobile device in 2020, and

Statista estimates that the value of the global AR market will have risen from $5.91 billion in 2018 to $198.17 billion in 2025. The rollout of 5G networks is undoubtedly one of the major catalysts for this exponential growth.

To demonstrate the power of 5G the VI team developed a historical recreation of George Street in Sydney, which streams HD graphics and heavy video content to an Optus 5G enabled device in real time. This content is then displayed in augmented reality, making it available to users instantly from the Optus George Street store.

Using the Samsung S20 phone, users can scan an onscreen marker in store, to see George Street brought to life as it was in 1900, complete with horse and cart and old fashioned trams. Alternatively, users can view our interpretation of what George Street may look like in 2030 as a more eco-friendly city, providing a glimpse of the future.

The new Samsung S20 is a perfect showcase for Google's AR-Core technology. The new range of powerful mobile devices, combined with 5G, allow users to view high fidelity digital content experiences that are truly integrated into the real world.

Looking further forwards, most of the major tech companies, including Samsung, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Apple, are rumoured to be developing AR glasses. This new generation of wearables will eventually replace mobile devices and it is widely accepted that these products will start to be available for consumers in the next 2-5 years. At this point AR experiences will be an essential part of everyday life.

In the meantime, 2020 is set to be a breakout year for augmented reality as its mainstream acceptance gathers pace. Interactive technologies are entering the ‘grown-up’ phase and 5G is the enabler of this revolution.

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