Amir Bozorgzadeh wasn’t always a VR expert. Way back when, he worked in online market research before pivoting to a new location — Dubai and then Amsterdam, where he enrolled on a design thinking program. This was when he first began falling in love with emerging technology, studying subjects like AR, VR and artificial intelligence. Around 2015, he began writing about those topics for the San-Francisco based tech website VentureBeat. “I became one of the experts — at least, I believe that I spend enough time everyday studying and researching the space to call myself such.” Last year, he finally decided that the space “was so darn interesting” that Amir and his co-founder Hossein plunged in and started their own venture, Virtuleap, which started life as a research and development startup before pivoting to become a VR brain-training app: “Like Lumosity and Elevate, but we’re in VR.”
Given Amir’s practical and theoretical know-how, who better to ask about how 5G will impact the future of AR and VR?
Amir believes that the most transformative effect 5G can have on the sector is making VR and AR “a format that’s readily available for mass consumption,” much like how Kindle gave mass access to digital copies of books. He points out that 5G is crucial because VR and AR content’s large file sizes can lead to long loading times, especially when accessed via mobile.
5G and parallel technology like edge computing allows a lot of processing to be offloaded from the devices themselves and processed nearby on an edge server, he points out. “ 5G is the idea that AR and VR content can actually be streamed in real time, regardless of the file size and whether it’s complicated by multiplayer mode. VR and AR content can essentially be streamed by the mass consumer market.”
Sometimes the birth of a new technology means the extinction of something else. In this case, “friction,” the negative term used in the tech sector for whatever makes people give up on an attempt to try something new. “We always have this holy halo around the word “frictionless,” because less friction means a more inclusive digital experience and welcoming that many more people. Because unfortunately, impatience is definitely one of the primary human qualities that persists even now.”
“The biggest change that 5G will usher in is that terms like installation are going to be obsolete. Terms like downloading will become obsolete. You’ll stream any data file of any size. In remarkably quick if not real time speeds. Everything will become instantaneous.”
Amir believes that one massive change that 5G will introduce is the idea of the AR cloud, which AR entrepreneur Ori Inbar first coined in the following: “a persistent 3D digital copy of the real world to enable sharing of AR experiences across multiple users and devices.” We’ll see the blending of the physical and digital world that the AR cloud enables at its most powerful through digital avatars.
Say you want to make an online banking payment. Normally you’d log in and type in the figures yourself. But post the AR cloud enabled by 5G, you’d be able to load up an instantaneous avatar — a character that the bank uses as a representative of its service, which could be anything from a cartoon character to a realistic human character.
These AR or VR characters will be powered by AI capabilities like sentiment analysis, which would make them increasingly intuitive in reading a human user, and interacting with them with a sense of intelligence that would make us feel like we are talking with another warm-blooded sentient being. This same character would help you engage in a dialogue by which they will naturally help and guide you towards the fulfilment of your needs, whether you want to pay your bills or access your transaction history.
Similarly, maybe you’d head on a trip to Disneyland and Mickey Mouse would appear right in front of you as a character and guide you through the park and teach you things about your surroundings as a tour guide. He might even take you to buy the ticket itself. There’s obvious implications for every industry with a customer service factor. So that’s pretty much every startup, right?
This is something Amir reckons we can expect to see within the next ten years — watch this space for a stress-free customer experience service that doesn’t involve listening to Muzak while kept on hold for 20 minutes.
The volume of biometric data (heart rate variability, eye dilation, skin temperature, etc) that can pass through from a user, processed on an edge server near-instantaneously thanks to near-zero latency, represents an unprecedented opportunity for software to adapt to the maximum user comfort of an individual.
At a very practical level, for example, we can know if the font is too small, or the wrong color, and adapt the styling accordingly. What if someone is sitting down or standing up? Algorithms can process and extract this insight instantly, and the content experience will be that much more enhanced according to nuanced needs and requirements of a user, without them having to say or do a single thing in order to communicate that gesture explicitly. The UX can adapt according to the most implicit data inputs that intuit a user’s psychology based on their biology, physicality, and locale.
Are you working on a project in AR or VR that you think hubraum might be interested in? Get in touch — we’d love to hear from you.