How 5G and MEC are Key to Immersive Content for Augmented and Virtual Reality Products

Virtual reality and augmented reality products are the latest and some of the most exciting technologies currently being enhanced and improved by the evolution of systems and architectures such as 5G wireless networks and mobile edge computing (MEC). The infrastructure available to enterprises wanting to develop or utilize their own AR or VR products and services is now making it feasible to do so.

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution continues on, newer architectures such as 5G and MEC are becoming increasingly common and utilized by a growing number of enterprises. This has allowed the steady growth of these architectures to continue to enhance and improve existing systems and products as well provide the potential for new technologies and applications to be developed from them.

The emergence of smart cities and the ever-expanding Internet of Things (IoT) has seen an increasing number of connected devices and smart tech become integrated into our home and work lives and, with the success of mobile apps like Pokémon Go, immersive AR and VR content will likely become increasingly widespread in the not-too-distant future.

In this article, we’ll be looking at how the implementation of cutting-edge architectures such as 5G wireless networks and mobile edge computing infrastructure will enable providers to develop much more immersive content for augmented and virtual reality products and solutions.

Infrastructure: Out With the Old, In With the New

The biggest enabler for the transition from legacy systems to newer, more capable 5G or edge computing is arguably the growth of data-focused technologies that aim to both process and transmit data in real-time to enable different functions and applications throughout both workplaces, personal and public places.

5G technologies are the fifth generation (hence 5G) of mobile wireless standards based upon the IEEE 802.11ac standard of broadband technology and will look to enhance and improve upon existing wireless networks in areas such as connectivity, reliability, security, and energy efficiency as well as several other areas.

If you’d like to learn more about 5G wireless technologies, check out our three-part series of articles on the subject here.

Edge computing is a method of improving data processing in cloud-based computing systems by performing it at the edge of the network, closer to the source of the data. The benefits of edge computing have been widely covered, including here and MEC systems are currently being developed even further.

The continued construction of next gen infrastructure has enabled much more advanced technological innovations and we are now at a point where newer products like AR systems and existing technologies like VR are being significantly enhanced.

Essentials for Immersive Content

One of the biggest hurdles to incorporating advanced AR and VR products and services to tablets and smartphones is the bandwidth intensity of such applications and the capability of the batteries powering modern smartphones and tablets. However, with the emergence of 5G and MEC systems, this is becoming less and less of an obstacle and developers are beginning to plan for the roll out of immersive AR and VR technologies alongside 5G and MEC architectures.

When it comes to the world of entertainment, AR and VR at sports, music, and entertainment venues looks set to become one of the biggest applications of immersive AR and VR content. These applications will likely target the smartphones of attendees of a specific event and provide on-site services, add-ons, and infotainment potentially before and during an event.

There are also workplace applications for immersive AR and VR content with products like the Microsoft HoloLens targeting businesses and organizations looking to integrate augmented reality into their operational processes.

Gaming is another area in which augmented reality and virtual reality systems will be significantly enhanced by 5G and MEC infrastructure. Buffering and loading screens during games or films drastically reduces a user’s quality of experience (QoE) and as such have stalled the development and adoption of AR and VR systems. Nowadays, however, with 5G and MEC infrastructure enabling them, this is no longer the case.

The Future of AR & VR?

The integration of 5G wireless systems and mobile edge computing will likely prove to be a driving force for the development of immersive content for virtual and augmented reality content. The products already available, while slow on the uptake, will likely continue to be adopted and integrated into our work and personal lives as these technologies evolve and mature over time.

With an increasing number of AR and VR applications available today, and 5G wireless networks, mobile edge computing, and more powerful smartphones and tablets, immersive content for AR and VR is becoming a significant focal point for businesses and enterprises looking to expand into these areas.

As the smart city framework continues to be adopted around the world, new avenues for other ventures will likely emerge through the development of both 5G and MEC systems as well as immersive AR and VR. Billboards and street advertising could soon be replaced with AR or VR ads that utilize user data and smartphone apps to personalize advertising to these kinds of apps, products and services.

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