As Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications start to move into different verticals, connectivity option becomes a critical feature in determining the success of a hardware platform. Existing AR and VR hardware devices rely heavily on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and for good reasons. Both are low cost options with easy implementation. In addition, there is no doubt that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity continues to improve.
While Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity are extremely reliable low-cost option for indoor applications, outdoor AR and VR usage will require ubiquitous wireless connectivity which Wi-Fi and Bluetooth simply cannot provide. At the moment, the most ubiquitous connectivity option is LTE. Unfortunately, LTE network does not have the network bandwidth, throughput or low latency to meet the requirements of AR and VR applications. As such, the impending commercial 5G network will be the ideal solution. Connectivity vendors, such as Qualcomm, Huawei, Ericsson, and Nokia, as well as telcos, such as Verizon, SK Telekom, and Orange, view AR and VR as one of the prime use cases for 5G network. However, 5G will not happen quickly.
New business models which can leverage the connectivity capabilities and bring values to end users need to be developed. While end users are already benefiting from the content and information provided by VR and AR applications, more insights could be generated via VR and AR devices to study and analyze patterns in user behaviors, movements, interactions, communications, etc., which can benefit other verticals such as education, healthcare, smart homes, and industrial manufacturing.