How Will 5G Affect Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality?

People using 5G to power virtual reality.

The next generation of wireless will be fast enough to enable devices to operate in ways not currently possible. We will see the rise of normal devices that are currently not wireless connected and collaborating with limited or no human interaction. There will be wireless devices and functions that currently exist performing at a much higher level as well. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are perfect examples of functions that will see a significant increase over the next decade thanks to the rise of 5G networks.

How exactly will these technologies become affected by 5G? We are already seeing emerging trends when using 5G for AR and VR technologies. Learn more about how the future of 5G, AR, and VR are all tied together.

5G Will Empower With Lower Levels of Latency

There are a lot of benefits that 5G will deliver through its ability to lower latency levels for wireless users. In our current state, wireless communications, even when experiencing peak speeds, have to overcome delays to some degree that makes doing certain tasks hindered or impossible. 5G is changing that.

One particular field that is seeing a boost to its capabilities due to 5G and VR is the medical field. We have seen early tests of surgeries conducted remotely via VR that allow doctors to make movements that not only allow them to feel their patients in real-time but also allow split-second decisions and actions to be executed with absolute precision.

Overcoming the problems with latency will help any action that requires instant action and reaction, far beyond the medical field. This is evident as we explore another benefit VR will gain from 5G technology: the ability to reduce motion sickness. A drawback of VR in its current state is that some users may experience motion sickness that is partly due to the delays users have to adjust for. With 5G networks empowering VR and eliminating these delays, more applications can be performed and users will experience less sickness while performing tasks.

Greater Diversity and Connectivity Through 5G

The operations that both AR and VR require have made it a limited function for certain devices. To execute properly, these technologies need a reliable connection to assist with analyzing, processing and rendering what the user will see, as well as the computing power to pull it off. 5G will help take some of the processing load off of AR and VR functions, with a specific focus on cloud computing.

The shift to cloud computing has already begun but like other technological functions, it too has not reached its full potential due to the limitations of the current generations. 5G will enable cloud computing to hold and process more data at a faster rate. This will also mean that VR devices will connect directly to the cloud without the need for additional computing devices to power them. Conversely, because of the cloud and the speed of 5G, companies will be able to develop more devices than ever before that are capable of bringing AR and VR to consumers. Imagine interacting with a kiosk in an unfamiliar city that can show you a 3D rendering of a map and sync it with your phone or a detailed schematic blueprint pulled from your home appliance that requires repair. These applications and more are on the horizon with 5G powering them through. 

Connectivity for AR and VR will also improve while connecting to 5G networks. Allowing the work needed to deliver a seamless experience to be split between devices that are present and the cloud will help render graphics more efficiently but with AR and VR taking up much more data than other functions such as streaming. 5G operates on multiple bands that each delivers a different level of speed. Its high-band (mmWave) is where it will deliver the bandwidth most of us associate with the next generation. To assist high computing functions like AR and VR, companies are developing private mmWave networks to help process data at an extraordinary rate. The future of AR and VR is a mix of industry-leading technology, groundbreaking applications that will change industry standards, taking your favorite media of entertainment to the next level, and much more. Privatized 5G networks will allow companies to execute AR and VR for consumers on a higher level than ever before.

Innovation and Collaboration Will Increase

Both innovation and collaboration are expecting huge benefits from the capabilities of AR and VR, however, it is important to see the technology in and of itself is providing the perfect situation for companies to work together. Our previous example of privatized networks to overcome bandwidth issues is a prime example. Companies will look for ways to optimize and eventually commoditize AR and VR over a realm of potential applications. Whether it be creating a game to escape from your current reality into a new one or providing companies with innovative training applications that can help prepare employees from a more hands-on approach, there are plenty of ways AR and VR will deliver its range of functions. 5G is making this and so much more possible sooner than one might think.