This IBC Accelerator Challenge aimed at the outset to showcase an advanced, high-performance 5G network to connect real-time centralised graphic and spatial XR computing power into an end-to-end solution operations system to centrally stream premium, immersive virtual reality content to head-mounted displays.

Delayed as a result of the circumstances in 2020, the project team has continued to develop the concept and 5G use case; using centralised streaming of VR with 5G connectivity via either private cloud or an edge, to result in real-time, high-speed, simultaneous experiences delivered to multiple users in multiple locations. Currently documenting its learnings, until on-location venues can reopen and operate safely and the physical implementation of the project and PoC will be further developed during early 2021. Technical R&D learnings will also be applied to explore architectures and infrastructures for 5G LBVR productions to improve and future proof the remote XR player experience, and push the parameters of creative IP and technical boundaries of next-gen headsets.

Champions: Telenet/Liberty Global (project lead), Park Entertainment

The challenge will be to future proof remote 5G production, improve the VR content experience for fans and push the creative IP, technical boundaries and capabilities to utilise hardware resources to test how far 5G can go.

Main KPIs of Innovation:

  • Centralised environment, 5G network and head-mounted display (HMD) integration  

  • To showcase the impact of 5G’s speed and low-latency connectivity with operational performance testing/ network performance testing

  • XR spatial computing streaming solution, VR game and HMD integration

  • Interoperability / software testing

  • Building a capability map/architecture/functionality paths (5G-to-VR-to-HMD)

  • Showcase a growth in a new 5G blueprint, aiming for a broadcast quality experience with high-end IP creation studios

Why 5G centralised streaming for LBVR?
Virtual reality is one of the fastest growing entertainment formats that transports a fan to interactive, immersive, multidimensional worlds, be it together in a physical space, or apart in various locations. In January 2020, PwC estimated VR/XR to contribute “up to £1.5 trillion to the global economy by the year 2030”, and when powered with 5G connectivity, VR’s inclusive creativity can thrive with no boundaries.

Experienced in real-time, in groups remotely or within multiple locations, its popularity has also included bringing immersive, multi-player experiences direct into fan’s homes, more specifically since the global self-isolating due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Since existing premium LBVR experiences rely on high performance gaming hardware and dedicated localisation setup, (resulting in extra cabling and weight for the user to carry), this IBC PoC solution will provide an industry use case to set up a LBE-like environment in space that fits the user, regardless of location, and without the obstructions and health hazards of extra equipment.

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