The GSMA announced the launch of a new industry-wide initiative called The GSMA Cloud AR/VR Forum that will focus on the development of cloud virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology.
The programme which was unveiled at Huawei’s 9th Global Mobile Broadband Forum in London, is backed by mobile operators including China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, KT Corp., NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Telefónica, Telenor, TIM, Turkcell and Vodafone, as well as other industry partners including Huawei and HTC. The programme aims to encourage all parties to collaborate on accelerating the delivery and deployment of 5G cloud-based AR/VR services.
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 virtualisation technologies, as well as the development of simplified interfaces so that developers can easily deploy services.
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.