“Without doubt, VR and AR gives us new ways to work and share,” Huawei chief architect of future networks Richard Li told delegates at VR/AR World today. “But to deliver these benefits we have to identify which areas to focus on to understand the technical requirements for the networks that deliver them.”

To do this, he says, the Chinese electronics giant “started with a few used cases and identified the requirements”, identifying three main areas: video, gaming and shopping.

Drilling deeper into video, Li said the requirements were to get 360 video for live event casting, including user interactivity and changing viewpoints. The issue here is the current bitrate is too slow. “There are two main issues, throughput and latency,” he said.

richardliHe explained that standard definition (SD) VR needs a bit rate of 100 Mbps.  However, he explained that with the advent of HD and UHD TV, the future requirement would be for 4k VR. “4k 3d needs 5gb per second. So how can you provide this?” he pondered.

In terms of latency, Li suggests: “We need to be at around 5ms to 7ms for VR and AR. Edge or fog computing could provide an answer.”

For VR gaming, which Huawei believes will be worth US$11.5bn by 2025 and have 216 million users, Li says it is all about developing interactivity with objects and players, which he says could develop “beyond user experience into true social interaction”.

In shopping, Li pointed out that you can already use Buy+ from Alibaba’s VR/AR lab and, while there are great advances here, it needs the development of real-time interaction with objects.

He suggested that it is limited by cost and naked-eye 3d technology, but pointed to the US$1.4bn investment in Magic Leap as an indication that things were moving  in the right direction.

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