GSMA aims to usher in "disruptive" AR/VR tech with new study group

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Augmented reality and virtual reality will transform the enterprise and entertainment markets, the GSMA has said, as it set up a new group aiming to accelerate the deployment of the tech.

Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, TIM, Turkcell and Vodafone represent Europe in the group, which also includes the likes of China Mobile and SK Telecom.

The forum will involve sharing knowledge and learnings between operators, exploring new business models and developing a service reference architecture to minimise the risk of cost fragmentation.

Operators will also research ultra-low latency codec compression, cloud graphics processing unit rendering and virtualisation. In addition, the telcos will push for simplified interfaces in order to roll out services quickly and effectively.

The GSMA said by shifting the functionality of AR/VR headsets to an edge cloud platform, it would lower the costs and availability of the devices. It said 5G would be central to delivering a fast, low latency connection required for the 4K or 8K viewing experience.

Earlier this week, Telefónica and Nokia demonstrated how augmented reality could benefit the production process by allowing an engineer to view it in real time.

Arash Ashouriha, SVP, Group Technology innovation at Deutsche Telekom AG and Chairman of GSMA Future Networks Programme, said: “The convergence of 5G networks and clouds will enable mass market adoption of immersive experiences like AR and VR.

"Utilising scalable computing power at the network edge allows for unprecedented immersive and pervasive customer experience while leveraging cloud economics.

"Hence, we need to work towards open ecosystems providing common interfaces across the end to end value chain in order to scale cloud AR/VR services fast across different markets. With this approach we will unleash the full potential of 5G."

Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA, said: “Both VR and AR are disruptive forms of immersive multimedia that, combined with operator edge cloud and 5G connectivity, will transform the cost structures of the enterprise and entertainment fields.

“Mobile operators will play a key role in its development, but without a common approach and industry-wide collaboration we risk fragmenting the market from the beginning. The establishment of this forum will overcome this hurdle and ensure we can scale compelling solutions faster.”