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From real virus to virtual turnaround, quickly

By MA SI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-07-19 09:06
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A visitor (left) tries augmented reality technology during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on June 28. [Photo/Xinhua]

As the price of VR hardware falls and content becomes increasingly abundant and diverse, more people will buy and embrace professional VR goggles, Yuan said.

Tuong Nguyen, senior principal analyst at research firm Gartner, said earlier that high-quality VR will become possible in places where 5G is available because the technology will enhance the sense of "presence", the feeling that consumers are really "there" inside the experience.

5G's higher speeds better enable real-time rendering for immersive video, shorter download and reduced latency to boost the experience of VR and AR, Gartner said.

Riding on the technological advancements of 5G, HTC Corp, a global leader in VR technologies, unveiled its latest premium virtual reality headsets in May as it seeks to set a new benchmark for business and consumer VR, bringing 5K resolution and a 120-degree field of view as standard for the sector.

The move fits in nicely with HTC's bigger game plan to improve its VR hardware and software capabilities to expand the popularity of its products among consumers and businesses. It also coincides with expectations that VR will likely see faster growth and intensified competition in the 5G era.

Alvin Graylin Wang, president of HTC China, said, "VR is a technology that has the potential to fundamentally transform our lives, and 2021 will be the year people will look back on as the year it really started to take off."

One of the new VR headsets HTC unveiled is the Vive Focus 3. HTC said the Vive Focus 3 will redefine all-in-one VR with no compromises, while the other, the Vive Pro 2, pushes the boundaries of PC VR for gaming, designing and experiences.

"The products and services we announced are the key catalysts that will ignite the VR revolution by setting a new standard for what quality VR should have," he said.

HTC said having a single device that can be used as a stand-alone unit, connect with a PC or 5G cloud VR network, comfortably worn for many hours, while delivering a new level of clarity that can not only take consumers to another world but replace their daily monitors ... well, such a device will likely lead to accelerated adoption of VR in the near future.

Industry insiders are confident about AR's commercial prospects. Bob Cai, chief marketing officer of the carrier business group at Huawei Technologies Co, said 5G and AR may be symbiotic-5G makes use of AR and AR enables 5G. AR can truly enable the convergence of the physical and digital worlds, and it will see massive adoption in five prioritized industries: education, social networking, shopping, travel and navigation. Besides, gaming will benefit big time.

Cai said the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and prompted more enterprises to embrace AR technologies. Huawei is making use of AR to demonstrate its leading products and solutions online, to make communication far more efficient during and after the pandemic.

Huawei is also using AR to achieve the quick delivery of 5G base stations, greatly boosting delivery efficiency, Cai said.

Huawei said in its AR Insight and Application Practice White Paper that at present, due to the high price of professional AR headsets, it is difficult to popularize them in the consumer market, but they have already played their part in the medical, manufacturing and logistics industries, as professional AR equipment can free hands and create value in many work scenarios.

The white paper forecast that with technological advancements, AR headsets will become more popular in the consumer market. By 2026, products under $500 will dominate the sector and see explosive growth. At the same time, consumer AR headset shipments are forecast to exceed 53 million units.

He Chengjian, director of the Shenzhen Municipal Communication Management Bureau, said information communication technology services represented by AR can potentially be adopted across a wide range of industries, including industrial production, e-commerce, real estate, home decor, culture, sports, tourism, healthcare and education.

"AR applications have become a key engine for digital transformation and will profoundly change production methods and how we live," He said.

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