AT&T, Ericsson, and Wevr create groundbreaking 5G VR experience

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AT&T, Ericsson, and Wevr have partnered up to create the first multi-user, location-based, virtual reality experience using 5G.

Today’s high-end VR experiences require physically tethering a headset to a powerful computer. This means the upfront entry cost is high while tethering limits the user’s freedom and enjoyment.

The partners demonstrated how to overcome these issues using the high speeds and low latency of 5G.

“5G offers the high peak rates required to secure photorealism for XR, and a consistent low latency is key to avoid the risk of users getting dizzy,” said Peter Linder, head of 5G marketing in North America at Ericsson.

A corded VR headset was ditched in favour of streaming the experience to Qualcomm XR2 headsets over AT&T’s 5G network. Haptic devices then enabled players to move through the virtual world and wield magical powers.

“When the user’s headset isn’t required to do the heavy lifting, it creates a lighter, more comfortable experience all around,” said Jay Cary, vice president of 5G Ecosystems and Partnerships at AT&T.

“By using the high throughput and low-latency of 5G paired with edge cloud, we can transform experiences to be more comfortable for fans, more productive for venue operators, and allows more freedom for creators.”

Up to six users were able to participate simultaneously in a single 5G cell. The experience was built by Wevr and Dreamscape who ran it on a virtualised cluster of NVIDIA CloudXR-enabled Dell EMC PowerEdge servers, powered by NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 GPUs.

“This groundbreaking experience came together with the use of NVIDIA CloudXR and NVIDIA RTX graphics technology,” said Anthony Batt, executive vice president and co-founder of Wevr.

“CloudXR dynamically adjusts to network conditions and maximises image quality while minimising effective latency. By moving the RTX graphics processing to the edge, our developers can deliver a new level of VR experience to users.”

Facebook (well, now ‘Meta’) CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced during yesterday’s Connect 2021 keynote that the company is pivoting into becoming a metaverse company. Zuckerberg highlighted that many pieces still need to come together to fully realise the metaverse.

One of the key pieces to making the metaverse vision a reality will be untethered, high-fidelity VR. The demonstration this week from AT&T, Ericsson, and Wevr shows that piece is closer than ever to falling into place.

Find out more about Digital Transformation Week North America, taking place on November 9-10 2021, a virtual event and conference exploring advanced DTX strategies for a ‘digital everything’ world.

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