5G and AR/VR: Industry Use Cases Explained

5G is rapidly becoming the default technology for cellular wireless networks. New variants of 5G even offer the opportunity to replace wired WANs. As the availability of 5G continues to grow, so do the opportunities to use high bandwidth and low latency for new and exciting use cases.

One area of ​​growing interest is 5G’s support for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Let’s explore five ways AR and VR can use 5G.

1. Customer service and support

Today, most customer engagement consists of calls or text messages to contact center agents. By using the speed of 5G, along with AR and VR applications on mobile devices, companies can provide customers with real-time guidance.

For example, a customer trying to assemble a complex piece of equipment can get live assistance, through AR, that overlays specific instructions on top of what the customer sees. In this scenario, a product expert can guide the customer in completing the necessary steps.

Another possibility is to use AR for product demonstrations. For example, customers can see how they look in clothes before they buy them. Or they can see what a paint color looks like before using it. Anyone looking to remodel a kitchen will see an overlay of the final design on top of their existing kitchen.

Additionally, sales staff can walk a person through all aspects of a product before making a purchase. Imagine taking a guided VR tour of a new car, including its interior and parts, without having to visit a showroom.

In all cases, combining the right hardware with 5G technologies opens up possibilities to improve customer experience and sales activities.

augmented reality versus virtual reality
See how augmented reality differs from virtual reality.

2. Health care

The healthcare industry has many options available AR and VR in 5G. In a training scenario, teachers can use VR to demonstrate a new procedure or technique to medical students, doctors and nurses remotely, wherever they are, thus saving on travel costs. . Teachers can use AR on top of live methods to teach steps and points of interest. Or they can use VR to bring remote participants into an operating or examination room, enabling them to observe and ask questions.

From the patient’s point of view, AR and VR in 5G offer opportunities to improve telemedicine, providing healthcare professionals with the ability to conduct remote examinations, highlighting areas of concern patients and even walk patients through procedures before their appointments.

5G-enabled AR and VR devices, such as wearable glasses, enable medical care professionals to include remote experts directly in the examination room, potentially saving time, cost and , finally, life. Consider, for example, surgeons who have a problem during a procedure. Using a 5G-enabled wearable device, they can easily show the remote specialist what they saw. Using AR, the specialist can guide the local provider during the procedure.

3. Meetings and the employee experience

AR and VR meetings have been developed over the years. However, so far, these scenarios have failed to reach critical mass due to poor UX and high bandwidth requirements. 5G will solve these issues by bringing high-quality, high-bandwidth network services to remote participants.

A potential growth area for virtual conferences and training sessions. In these cases, AR and VR technologies can support a higher quality, more immersive experience for remote participants compared to simply viewing content on a 2D screen. Virtual meeting rooms enable attendees to see 3D presentations, meet each other through avatars and closely examine virtual representations of physical objects.

In this example, 5G allows VR access via mobile devices, regardless of the location of the attendee.

4. Training and education

AR and VR on 5G offer the potential to deliver high-quality immersive education and training to remote participants anywhere in the world. Teaching scenarios that currently require in-person teaching, such as lab experiments, can be done using VR and AR, making education easier and less expensive.

The cost of training field personnel in new products and techniques can be reduced by eliminating the need to transport field workers to in-person training classes or send trainers to conduct in-person field training. The use of AR and VR in 5G for training is particularly attractive to industries operating in remote locations, such as mines, drilling sites and other areas, which lack access to high-speed wired network services.

5. Construction

The potential of AR and VR in 5G to support construction use cases covers many of the aforementioned scenarios.

From a design perspective, architects and engineers can share plans with on-site personnel through AR overlaying blueprints on top of live images of a construction site. . A VR experience can show builders what the finished site will look like, enabling them to visualize what they are building. And on-site construction personnel can use VR and AR to work with remote designers to address issues that arise or work through potential change requests without requiring in-person consultation.

Limitations of 5G AR and VR

Despite the many potential benefits from the use of AR and VR in 5G, there are limitations. The biggest limitation is the availability of 5G and higher speed 5G variants, especially in remote areas.

BroadbandNow, a data aggregation company, estimates that 62% of US households have access to 5G. This may require the construction of private 5G networks for certain specified use cases, such as construction sites.

5G availability may be limited in urban areas, especially inside buildings. And available bandwidth is likely to be limited by the number of 5G users at any given time who are all fighting for network resources. 5G AR and VR applications are likely to be constrained by the processing power available within mobile devices and battery life.

AR and VR in 5G offer great potential to deliver new and innovative capabilities to customers and employees and reduce training and customer service costs. A proactive approach is required to identify applicable use cases for any organization.

Irwin Lazar is president and chief analyst at Metrigy, where he leads coverage of the digital workplace. His research interests include unified communications, VoIP, video conferencing and team collaboration.

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