Does 5G need XR more than XR needs 5G?
This year’s Mobile 5G Innovation Israel event, a virtual expo initiated by the Israel Export Institute and the Foreign Trade Administration, was held on November 17-18, 2020. In one fascinating session, panelists Mikio Iwamura, Director of Device Innovation Group at NTT DoCoMo’s R&D Division, and Gilad Talmon, CEO of Tetavi, discussed the symbiotic relationship between 5G and XR. Here are some of the highlights from that conversation:
5G’s computing power will allow XR content to reach consumers
NTT DoCoMo is currently the largest mobile operator in Japan and the first to offer 5G commercial service. Iwamura explains that the revolutionary difference of 5G compared to 4G is its data rate and capacity. 5G allows users to download large video files and volumetric XR content at a much faster rate than available with 4G. Currently, volumetric content is difficult to download or consume over 4G networks with smartphones’ limited form factors. However, as new devices or new user interfaces – like XR goggles or glassware – become more popular, there will be a much wider field of view and a need for greater immersiveness, higher resolution, and better content quality. New devices and upcoming user interface opportunities will require 5G networks in order to allow consumers to enjoy the content. Iwamura says, “As we expand the use of 3D content, the volume will increase drastically, and 5G will need to support that.”
Gilad explains why 3D video content is becoming so popular. Volumetric video is a technique that captures 3D space, which can then be viewed from any angle and at any time during playback. “You’re no longer limited by the line of view of the cameras. Volumetric video is the way to bring video into the XR and VR world. It gives the viewers the freedom to choose their own viewpoint or be immersed and involved in the action. It is the video of the future.”
“Volumetric video is the way to bring video into the XR and VR world. It gives the viewers the freedom to choose their own viewpoint or be immersed and involved in the action. It is the video of the future.”
He also agrees that the computing power required to create volumetric video is relatively significant and that 5G’s low latency and high data rates will enable real-time computing in the cloud rather than on-premise. This power would allow many more use cases for shared experiences, such as streaming video conferences or eLearning events in 3D. Before 4G, we were unable to consume video on mobile phones properly, but Gilad feels that 5G is even more of a game-changer. “I truly think that 5G would be a revolution that will overshadow the revolution that 4G brought into our lives.”
XR content drives the traffic growth necessary for 5G adoption
Iwamura talks about the vital role XR plays in his industry. Traffic growth in Japan is slightly declining. While multiple factors are involved, one is the overall consumer traffic volume. Traffic volume increases with innovation in the industry, which has been proven in history. In the 70s and 80s, fixed-line phones were the only option, followed by car phones. Then cordless phones allowed users to be connected anywhere within their homes. With the introduction of 2G came feature phones, the Internet, and mobile gaming. 3G expanded into photo sharing and video consumption. 4G brought us smartphones and its entire ecosystem of apps and video sharing. He believes the evolution of 5G will go hand-in-hand with new user interfaces. “XR devices and volumetric video content capabilities are the right contents to really pull out the potential of 5G.”
“XR devices and volumetric video content capabilities are the right contents to really pull out the potential of 5G.”
He explains that for the market to scale, the entire ecosystem must be ready for mainstream adoption. The 5G network must be available, devices must be commercialized at an affordable price point, and the content must be popular enough to motivate consumers to move into this paradigm. Iwamura says that he looks to startups like Tetavi to encourage democratizing 3D content production by facilitating user-generated content, similar to how users generate and share short videos over Instagram and Tik Tok today.
Gilad agrees with the need for synergy. He says it’s the combination of the advanced technology involved in deploying 5G and content generation for the network that creates the killer application. “Whether it’s on devices like mobile phones over the next few years, or later when the proliferation of XR programs and more advanced gaming devices come in, the market will be ready for them, making the integration into consumer markets much more natural.”
Watch the full video:
Mr. Mikio Iwamura, Director of Device Innovation Group at NTT DoCoMo’s R&D Division, and Gilad Talmon, CEO of TetaVi facilitated by Daniel Kolbar, Commercial Attaché at The Israel Economic Mission to Tokyo.
Does #5G need #XR more than XR needs 5G?