The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) has formed a new project group that, it says “addresses one of the central topics in today’s telecommunications industry, metaverse-ready networks… The TIP Metaverse-Ready Networks Project Group’s primary objective is to accelerate the development of solutions and architectures that improve network readiness to support metaverse experiences.”
Meta Platforms, Microsoft, T-Mobile US, Telefónica and Sparkle will be the initial co-chairs of the project group.
Alex Harmand, head of network platforms at Telefónica and co-chair of the new group, stated: “This new group will enable operators to address the exciting opportunities that the metaverse is creating in both the consumer and enterprise segments. Telefónica is looking forward to collaborating to define the network capabilities and associated APIs needed to enhance metaverse services. The TIP community is the perfect environment for this initiative as it will allow us to leverage multiple current project groups, such as OpenWIFI, OpenRAN, Open Optical and Packet Transport, to deliver end-to-end architectures and solutions that we will then test in Telefónica’s and other TIP Community Labs.”
Ron Marquardt, Vice President of Advanced Technologies & Innovation at T-Mobile said: “As one of the major upcoming revolutions in the telco industry, the metaverse has to be built through industry collaboration. We want to encourage other CSPs, technology makers and content creators to join us in this journey.”
Rashan Jibowu, Product Manager at Meta Platforms and Co-Chair of the MRN Project Group said: “The metaverse is the next chapter of the internet. In the early stages of its development, it’s critical that we work together as an industry to determine what it means for networks to be “metaverse-ready,” and what we need to do collectively to get there. We look forward to collaborating with the TIP community to lay this important groundwork and build toward our common goal of bringing the metaverse to life.”
Fabio Panunzi Capuano, Executive Vice President Business Development at Sparkle and Co-Chair of the MRN Project Group said: “The telecom industry will act as a key enabler for the metaverse by providing the performing network architectures and services that will support growing bandwidth requests and quality of experience generated by new business models. The Metaverse-Ready Networks Project Group, as one voice of the industry, has the challenging task to define new connectivity requirements supporting the end-to-end metaverse experience and Sparkle, with its assets and experience, is at the forefront in cooperating to shape the future.”
Ricardo Villarreal, Director of Product Management at Microsoft, Azure for Operators and Co-Chair of the MRN Project Group said: “The metaverse might be in a nascent state, but it is imperative to start building today the networks needed to realize the promise of a complete convergence of our physical and digital lives. Cross-industry collaboration is the only way to achieve this.”
The Project Group will be hosting its first open doors session at Fyuz in Madrid Oct 25-27th.
The world of Extended Reality or XR, which covers Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality, offers infinite potential, said Dr. Philip Song, Chief Marketing Officer, Huawei Carrier, during his keynote speech “5G + XR: Bringing Imagination into Reality,” at the 2022 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.
According to a survey, the XR industry will contribute US$1.5 trillion to the global GDP by 2030. In 2021, more than 10 million units of Quest 2 were shipped. These 10 million users will be the critical mass for the XR ecosystem to take off. Dr. Song added that following the mobile internet, ‘Spatial Internet’ [1.] will be the next big thing.
Note 1. While there’s no clear definition, the Spatial Web or Spatial Internet refers to a computing atmosphere that exists in a 3D space. It is a pairing of real and virtual realities, enabled via billions of connected devices, and accessed through the interface of Virtual and Augmented Reality.
Song introduced how Huawei held VR-enabled annual meetings and uses AR to assist with 5G base station delivery. Huawei and third-party data shows that the XR market will generate US$1.5 trillion in GDP by 2030, which is roughly equivalent to the current 5G market.
Comparing the XR industry’s progress to how the smartphone industry developed, Song said many vendors are now offering XR devices for under US$300, making the technology more affordable while still offering next-gen user experiences. XR development tools are being increasingly adopted. The new OPEN XR standard is now supported by almost every major hardware, platform, and engine company, making multi-platform deployment possible without multiple rounds of development.
What is more noteworthy is that a number of global XR pioneer carriers have made commercial breakthroughs in recent years. Carriers in countries like South Korea, Thailand, and China have led the deployment of VR/AR services and gained significant returns through three steps: selecting industries, setting business models, and developing capabilities. A carrier said, “If XR was launched three months later, it might take three years to catch up.”
XR Industry to Grow Rapidly:
The world is on the cusp of witnessing the fast-paced growth of the XR industry, he said. VR headset shipments are accelerating. In 2021, more than 10 million units of Oculus Quest 2, a VR headset, were shipped. Ten million users will be the critical mass for the XR ecosystem to take off. The growth of VR devices will mirror that of smartphones and mobile devices. From 1983 to 1994, it took 11 years to sell the first 10 million cellphones. However, the cellphone shipment touched 20 million in 1995, and 100 million were sold over the next three years. According to market forecast, VR headset shipment will reach 100 million units by 2025.
Also, the price of VR devices continues to drop, making them affordable for more people. Lastly, continuous innovation in XR technologies has made it possible to deliver a generational leap in user experience.
Huawei launched its next-generation, innovative AR-HUD, expanding XR applications. In terms of XR data transmission, Huawei presented innovative solutions such as 5G Massive MIMO and FTTR. The company has publicly committed to supporting a “Gigaverse” that provides ubiquitous gigabit access to support XR experiences anytime, anywhere. Huawei also launched its “Cloud-network Express” solution to help XR industry partners quickly access multiple clouds and use cloud-based development and rendering capabilities.
As he closed out his presentation, Song called on industry partners to work together in line with the “new Moore’s Law” and seize this great development opportunity for the XR industry. “I do believe that with industry-wide collaboration, 5G+XR will have a bright future. The best way to predict the future is to create it. The time to act is now,” concluded Dr. Song.