Immersive Experiences in a 5G World
Posted on 20/12/2019
The UK’s Immersive economy, already flourishing over the last few years, can expect to benefit from an important boost in the next decade as 5G becomes a reality. Already established in countries such as South Korea, it is now rolling out for businesses and consumers across the UK and Europe, with the first 5G compatible phones already coming to market. The combination of much higher bandwidth, low latency, greater connectivity and reliability associated with 5G promises to bring significant opportunities for immersive content producers.
The UK’s 5G network combines existing telecommunications infrastructure alongside a number of important innovations. These include the use of much higher broadcast frequencies, powered by far more numerous, and smaller, transmitting stations that are in turn able to support a far greater number of antennas. Crucially, these antennas will be generating much narrower transmission beams than is currently the case, so that data delivery is far more efficient.
Users themselves will be happily unaware of this, but they will certainly notice a striking difference in how they use, consume and exchange digital content over 5G. In terms of immersive experiences, people will be able to interact in virtual environments with far less delay than is currently the case, and without the lagging problem that can so often mar the experience. At the same time, audio-visual content will be almost instantaneous with fewer glitches, communicating over video will become far clearer, while embedded and wearable devices will be able to transmit and receive far more information.
For producers of immersive content, all of this promises a myriad of creative and commercial opportunities – ranging from new arts and entertainment products to remote healthcare applications. Mobile users will be enjoying internet connections some 40x faster than current 4G enabled devices, and the richness and detail of the content will make for a qualitatively different experience. Many technology businesses are already starting to experiment and developing new products and services for the 5G network – and the DCMS has already funded a £2.4 research project in which UK businesses are developing interactive tourist experiences on South Korea’s 5G network.
Although South Korea might be the world leader in terms of its 5G infrastructure, the UK is not far behind, and is home to the creative and technology companies at the forefront of innovation in immersive production. As the market continues to develop, Immerse UK will help to play a central role in encouraging UK businesses to take full advantage from the 5G revolution, and provide the connections, access to funding and support necessary to maximise the benefits.