Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Can Augmented & Mixed Reality be the Killer App 5G needs?


Last October Deutsche Telekom, Niantic and MobiledgeX announced a partnership to create advanced augmented reality experiences over mobile network technologies. I was lucky to find some time to go and play it at Deutsche Telekom booth. The amount of processing needed for this to work at best also meant that the new Samsung Galaxy S10+ were needed but I felt that it also occasionally struggled with the amount of data being transferred.


The pre-MWC press release said:

Deutsche Telekom, Niantic Inc., MobiledgeX and Samsung Showcase World’s First Mobile Edge Mixed Reality Multi-Gamer Experience

At the Deutsche Telekom booth at MWC 2019 (hall 3, booth 3M31) the results of the previously announced collaboration between Deutsche Telekom, Niantic, Inc., and MobiledgeX are on display and you’re invited to play. Niantic’s “Codename: Neon”, the world’s first edge-enhanced Mixed Reality Multiplayer Experience, delivered by ultra-low latency, Deutsche Telekom edge-enabled network, and Samsung Galaxy S10+ with edge computing enablement, will be playable by the public for the first time. 

“The ultra-low latency that Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) enables, allows us to create more immersive, exciting, and entertaining gameplay experiences. At Niantic, we’ve long celebrated adventures on foot with others, and with the advent of 5G networks and devices, people around the world will be able to experience those adventures faster and better,” said Omar Téllez, Vice-President of Strategic Partnerships at Niantic.

The collaboration is enabled using MobiledgeX’s recently announced MobiledgeX Edge-Cloud R1.0 product. Key features include device and platform-independent SDKs, a Distributed Matching Engine (DME) and a fully multi-tenant control plane that supports zero-touch provisioning of edge cloud resources as close as possible to the users. Immediate examples of what this enables include performance boosts for Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality (MR) experiences as well as video and image processing that meets local privacy regulations. 

Samsung has been working together with Deutsche Telekom, MobiledgeX, and Niantic on a natively edge-capable connectivity and authentication in Samsung Galaxy S10+ to interface with MobiledgeX Edge-Cloud R1.0 and dynamically access the edge infrastructure it needs so that augmented reality and mixed reality applications can take advantage of edge unmodified. Samsung will continue such collaborations with industry-leading partners not only to embrace a native device functionality of edge discovery and usage for the mobile devices and consumers, but also to seek a way together to create new business models and revenue opportunities leading into 5G era.

Deutsche Telekom’s ultra-low latency network was able to deliver on the bandwidth demands of “Codename: Neon” because it deployed MobiledgeX’s edge software services, built on dynamically managed decentralized cloudlets. “From our initial partnership agreement in October, we are thrilled to showcase the speed at which we can move from idea to experience, with full end-to-end network integration, delivered on Samsung industry leading edge native devices,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, Senior Vice President Strategy and Technology Innovation at Deutsche Telekom.

From the gaming industry to industrial IoT, and computer vision applications, consumer or enterprise, the experience is a great example of interactive AR experiences coming from companies like Niantic in the near future.  As AR/VR/MR immersive experiences continue to shape our expectations, devices, networks and clouds need to seamlessly and dynamically collaborate.

Niantic CEO John Hanke delivered a keynote at Mobile World Congress 2019 (embedded below). According to Fortune article, "Why the Developer of the New 'Harry Potter' Mobile Game and 'Pokemon Go' Loves 5G":

Hanke showed a video of a prototype game Niantic has developed codenamed Neon that allows multiple people in the same place at the same time to play an augmented reality game. Players can shoot at each other, duck and dodge, and pick up virtual reality items, with each player’s phone showing them the game’s graphics superimposed on the real world. But the game depends on highly responsive wireless connections for all the phones, connections unavailable on today’s 4G LTE networks.

“We’re really pushing the boundaries of what we can do on today’s networks,” Hanke said. “We need 5G to deliver the kinds of experiences that we are imagining.”

Here is the video, it's very interesting and definitely worth a watch. For those who may not know, Niantic spun out of Google in October 2015 soon after Google's announcement of its restructuring as Alphabet Inc. During the spinout, Niantic announced that Google, Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company would invest up to $30 million in Series-A funding.



So what do you think, can AR / MR be the killer App 5G needs?

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