Cellular connectivity comes into spotlight as mass AR/VR market takes shape – EE Times Asia
Article by: ABI Research
About 30% of all augmented reality shipments, and 23% of virtual reality shipments will include cellular connectivity by 2027.
There is an exciting and fast-moving augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) market on the horizon that will bring new types of content and usage scenarios. To support this, networking and communication technologies are growing in both pure bandwidth and XR-friendly capabilities such as latency, network transmission, and segmentation. According to ABI Research, 30% of all AR shipments and 23% of VR shipments will include cellular connectivity by 2027.
“Much has been said about 5G as a cornerstone of AR and VR success, and while this is true in a vacuum, other variables make the reality more complex,” says Eric Abbruzze, director of research at ABI Research. “5G plays a major role in augmented reality and virtual reality, but time depends on the use case. Today, most use cases do not require the latency and bandwidth improvements that come with 5G. However, instant connectivity needs to match more users in more places, consuming more More types of content over time.”
While AR and VR have been around for a while, neither side has reached the mass market. This is partly due to a lack of content, interest, and device selection. Both change over the next few years: Apple, Google, and Meta are investing heavily in both sides of the immersive market — and have been for some time — with this investment hitting the market significantly in new HMDs. Qualcomm is an equal investor and market leader in XR hardware chips – its dominance in the smartphone space for SoCs, including network components, overlaps significantly with the XR space thanks to similar components inside the XR headphones as well as connecting HMDs to smartphones.
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Cellular networks are playing an increasingly important role as this market reaches critical mass thanks to this momentum. While most XR connections are handled via Wi-Fi today, this misses the flexibility of mobile use and connectivity outside of expected network environments. Computing Edge and Stream is the next step for computing XR, but with the expectation that networks can handle the coverage, response time, and reliability required.
On the network side, few carriers are already working towards specific support for augmented and virtual reality for content and devices. SK Telecom goes so far as to build a global metaverse, expanding beyond the coverage of its own telecom network. Nokia and Ericsson have been supporters of the XR for years and are now an important part of the 5G-Advanced release coming in 2024.
“The technologies that will drive connectivity and challenge existing networks are not yet mature or pervasive enough to have a noticeable impact today. However, these technologies will mature, along with the rest of the connectivity pool, to touch AR and VR and become more capable and pervasive. The role of 5G and broader connectivity becomes Less augmented/virtual reality basis and more synergistic – one benefits from the other, and they go hand in hand, but not just because of the other,” concludes Abruzis.
These findings are from ABI Research’s AR/VR Connectivity Application Analysis Report. This report is part of the company’s Augmented and Virtual Reality research service, which includes Research, Data, and ABI Insights. Based on extensive preliminary interviews, Application Analysis reports provide an in-depth analysis of key market trends and factors for a specific application, which can be focused on an individual market or geographically.
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