Analysis: The age of always-connected, 5G and XR is now
Olivia Newton-John released her song Physical in 1981. March and April 2020 have been full of news of the unfortunate COVID-19 around the world, but I wanted to point out that despite the desperation, this is a time for technology to thrive. Let’s not get physical to save lives and instead use connectivity Wi-Fi or 5G in an always-connected device is possible and in VR or AR.
The first weeks of the lockdown have reminded the world’s population of the existence of video chat application with Zoom, the company that thrived in the last couple of weeks. In the age of travel bans and home office, society has learned that there are these video/voice conferencing tools, sharing a presentation that works just fine.
Any editor, journalist, or analyst are well familiar with these tools as they have been parts of our lives for more than a decade. Hundreds of times, I would be conducting an interview with an executive in the US and around the world from the comfort of my home office in Vienna, Austria. It saved me a lot of travel, it would help Greta save us from our own Co2 generated by planes, and it would give me the best gift of all, time to spend with my family.
Streaming events and shared presentations
Watching a streamed event presentation works just fine; you get to see the presentation and report about it from the comfort of your own office. The model has provenlto have worked for over a decade.
I vividly remember my first streamed event, a Nokia presentation of a phone before the Android and IOS even existed, certainly more than a decade ago. It worked well then, with slower internet and with the way slower computers we had. That was the time of 3G.
The average speed of the internet is increasing, and most people have at least 50 Mbps from the 4G/LTE cell towers around them. We are speaking on behalf of most western countries and urban areas. Now at the dawn of 5G, the multiple 100s of Mbps will make things even better.
Wired internet connections are going in the direction of 100s of Mbps, even 1Gbps. Bear in mind that this technology requires that an internet provider or third party dig the streets and physically put a cable that connects your home with the internet. Digging roads is an extremely expensive task.
A home office relies on a good backbone ground connection, great wireless, and or 4G / 5G connection.
ACPC meets Wi-Fi 6 and 5G
The majority of people locked in their home offices are using laptops. The modern laptop doesn’t even have a LAN port anymore before things got super thin and light in the last few years. This laptop relies on the Wi-Fi quality in your home. For most, it is too early to have a Wi-Fi 6 router or mesh system, but in case they do, the Wi-Fi, and the connection in some part of your home or apartment/condo would be significantly faster.
The most significant loss of the performance and overall bandwidth happens between your router and the connected device.
The same principle works with a 4G/LTE or 5G connection. Many homes rely on the 4G/LTE for their home internet backbone, and as long as you get more than 20mps or faster, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+ work rather well. Video is demanding, and the more bandwidth, the better. If you get a 5G home stationary solution that has became available in many 5G early adopter countries, all of a sudden customers are getting 100s of Mbps speeds, sometimes even 1 Gbps+ depending on the area.
Always connected PC with 4G /LTE modem offers one additional step of redundancy. The main internet line (optical or copper ) goes down, and your PC jumps automatically to the modem and continues your conference call, video call, presentation, or casual internet browsing.
XR – VR, and AR is the step
Video conferencing took the world by surprise and even more virtual pubs, hanging around with your friends digitally possible, like never before. Now think outside of the box; the XR, Virtual, and Augmented reality have the potential to get you even one step further.
XR in Oculus Quest standalone device can even more peopl even more together. The Snapdragon XR2 platform that comes with a 5G modem integrated with the XR glasses will speed things up even further.
The goal is a feeling of virtual presence, and we are running toward that goal. Today the VR experience and especially the resolution are not on the level that can provide a full virtual presence.
For most people, this is still mind-blowingly good for most of the population of the world.
Bear in mind that 10s of thousands of people around the world never or rarely use video conferencing in their jobs. Sooner or later, there will be a study from some of the analyst companies that will back up this claim.
The first smartphones were very limited, and it took them years and even more than a decade to grown into these camera powerhouses, with almost no bezel, high-quality screens, and superb SoC performance.
The virtual presence, a destination for XR
Virtual presence is the destination where XR is heading. Meetings in the future will take place in eXtended Reality (XR), and just as the video chat apps amazed the world, the eXtended fact will enable the digital meetings and offices of tomorrow. Let me list some of the tools that predominated for social contacts and virtual office chats, and the list includes Zoom, Skype, Face time, Google Duo, WhatsApp, Viber, or any other video chat tool of your liking.
The mix of Virtual and Augmented reality, something we like to call the XR, will change the world, and the offices around the world are not so distant future. Early adopters are using these as we speak, but it takes time to “sell” the technology to the larger masses, for it to become mainstream.