Coronavirus pandemic and 5G spur demand for VR and AR technologies

04, Jun. 2020

(Photo Courtesy of Spatial)
(Photo Courtesy of Spatial)

SEOUL, AJU - The establishment of 5G networks in South Korea and other IT powerhouses is spurring the development of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, with demands for video conferencing and other non-contact platforms growing rapidly due to a coronavirus pandemic that prompted many countries to adopt social distancing.

The commercialization of 5G networks has opened up new opportunities, Alcacruz co-founder Keith S. Ha said, adding COVID-19 gave a boost to the development of AR and VR technologies, which are seen as a representative non-face-to-face service.

Alcacruz, a streaming startup founded in Silicon Valley, provides a solution that uses less data when streaming high-definition images and can flexibly adjust the number of concurrent users. It can be applied to any cloud service and process ultra-high-definition live images with one graphics processing unit server. AlcaCruz' technology live streams multiple views into one interactive screen.

"Our solution has perfectly matched with the coming of the 5G era, which is characterized by ultra-high speed and low latency, and the increasing number of users who want to see better quality VR content," Ha told AJu Business Daily.

Alcacruz has participated in the development of 8K high-definition VR streaming services for a media platform developed by KT, a top telecom company in South Korea. This is the first time in the world that a VR streaming service has been released with 8K-level high definition. The service divides 8K-level ultra-high-resolution VR images into hundreds of pieces and stores them in the cloud.

KT's 5G network optimization technology and Alcacruz's superstream solution were combined for the 8K VR streaming service that requires a fast network environment and technologies that implement ultra-high-definition images.

"Someday, technologies such as VR and AR will have a lot of influence in many parts of the world, and the goal is to become a company that solves the problems necessary for them," Ha said. Alcacruz plans to introduce VR video transmission technology that enables real-time interaction and release VR streaming services through collaboration with U.S. and Japanese IT companies.

On April 7, a business agreement for collaboration in 5G services and digital content development was signed at a virtual meeting room by the avatars of senior officials from KT and its Taiwanese counterpart, Far EasTone Telecommunications (FET). KT's 5G video conference application software using 3D and augmented reality technologies allows up to eight people to meet for a high-definition video conference.

Other pioneers in VR and AR technologies such as Spatial, a 3D AR collaboration platform company, are receiving a lot of inquires about their services, reflecting changes brought up by the COVID-19 pandemic. Spatial has developed a solution that allows users to connect to virtual reality and meet and talk to each other as avatars using PCs or smartphones.

"The cooperation of hardware, chipset and mobile telecom industries will have a significant impact on AR technology innovation, just like the reverberations brought by the mobile revolution of smartphones, high-speed Internet and app stores in the early 2000s," said Spatial co-founder Jinha Lee.

With the spread of COVID-19, industries are actively moving to upgrade video conferencing platforms based on 5G networks. "The 5G network is the best way to enable remote video conferencing in virtual reality through 3D avatars," said Song Dae-won, who heads LGU+'s future device division. "We will find a way to change our customers' daily lives through the endless possibility of extended reality."