Extended reality emerges as hot focus for 5G – Gebbie

Readers will be interested in this Industry Voices article by Leo Gebbie that contains a section focused on the use of 5G and AR for enterprise use cases.  Gebbie writes: “5G is a topic of considerable debate, with opinion polarized between the transformative impact it will have on devices, people, society and the economy, and a technology whose potential some people insist is vastly exaggerated. 

One area that I believe is overlooked is the scope to transform experiences beyond those powered by smartphones. We’re witnessing the rapid expansion of uses in products of other shapes and sizes, and 5G connectivity is poised to bring significant benefits to virtual, augmented and mixed reality, collectively known as extended reality or XR.”

Uses for 5G in the enterprise market are also intertwined with opportunities in XR. Deutsche Telekom has confirmed collaborations with Qualcomm, 6D.ai and Nreal to support AR FieldAdvisor services, a solution for remote support for field engineers. BT performed a live demonstration of its 5G network in Belfast, which will enable a smart port. Working with Ubimax and VRtuoso, the carrier showed how augmented reality will support maintenance workers. And in the U.S., Verizon recently deployed its 5G Ultra Wideband service at Newport News Shipbuilding, Virginia. One of the stated benefits of the deal is easy wireless access to augmented and virtual reality technologies for engineers, allowing them to carry out activities from architectural design to employee training.

In a fiercely competitive market, it’s not surprising that some carriers are moving quickly to embrace XR as a differentiator. XR and 5G are exciting new technologies that are evolving rapidly, so it’s essential that carriers experiment with them to find new services, rather than sitting passively on the sidelines.

Building strong ecosystem partnerships will be vital, as XR experiences work best with tight integration throughout the value chain, ensuring a high-quality offering in hardware and software. Companies at the forefront of XR adoption will have the greatest chance to build a strong, attractive solution with the right partners. Those that wait may find that they’ve missed the opportunity. In a 5G climate where carriers are seeking revenue diversification into services, now is the time to understand the potential.

I’m confident that XR will be an important part of the conversation at the upcoming MWC 2020. It will be fascinating to see how carriers navigate the major role they have in the future of this technology.


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