The UK roll out of 5G continues apace with more than 160 towns and cities with coverage so what can we expect by way of new experiences? As I’ve talked about before the early applications will be those that can take advantage of the High Throughput, Low Latency and Edge Computing made possible by 5G, which means visual applications. With this in mind DCMS last year launched its “5G Create” funding programme and so let’s take a look at some of the projects that got funded:

Eden Universe

This project is aimed at extending the visitor experience of the world’s largest captive rainforest, The Eden Project, with augmented, virtual and mixed reality technology. It will deploy 360-degree cameras capable of live streaming, so the virtual elements track the visitor’s movements. The cameras produce data in excess of 100Mbps, but the project will initially use just a single 5G macro cell for connectivity, delivering the on-site experience and streaming content to the web.

Extended Reality

This project aims to create a virtual experience in your home to augment live action. For example, an F1 race where you can see a track layout view alongside the live race action. All the scenes will need to be rendered in the cloud to simplify user hardware and reduce cost. To make the scenes realistic requires fast rendering and low latency to reduce user to scene lag, which can cause motion sickness. 5G’s Edge Computing support will be key to making this work effectively.

The Green Planet

This project will create an augmented reality app to sit alongside the latest Sir David Attenborough natural history series “The Green Planet”. The series focuses on the life of plants and will launch in 2022 to celebrate the BBC’s centenary. The App will exploit 5G connectivity to deliver multiple, time lapse footage of the plants and holographic content to enhance the programme experience. It will deploy 12 edge-node GPUs as the core processing for the project.

Live and Wild

This project aims to capture and share the experiences of people doing extreme activities like rock climbing or caving. It’s like being there and doing it yourself. The problem with this, historically, is that the places are remote, and conditions are extreme so getting content back from them involved physical media, such as SD cards. The project will use 5G to live stream content from these sites to allow for rapid editing and broadcast.

Connected Cowes

This project aims to help promote interest in sailing by creating an immersive experience of yacht racing during the Cowes week regatta. Selected yacht’s will be equipped with 360-degree camera and use a 5G router to live stream video to YouTube. Spectators will then be able to look around the yacht, as it’s racing, as if they were on board and gain an experience of what that’s like.