5G and Extended Reality: Collaborative Meetings Take New Forms

At Mobile World Congress 2022, Orange, Microsoft and Fracture Reality will demonstrate how several people can collaborate on complex projects, in real time, even with thousands of miles between them.

Visitors to Orange’s stand at this year’s MWC in Barcelona will be invited to try something new. They will be given Microsoft HoloLens smart glasses and be transported into the metaverse. There, they will join experts in a virtual meeting room that is seamlessly connected to the real world. “Participants from all over the world appear as 3D avatars,” explains Richard Loffler, XR Partnerships Manager at Orange Innovation. They can talk to each other, of course, but they can also study complex 3D models together. In this case, an Orange Marine underwater robot, rendered in breathtaking detail. Participants can touch the robot, move it about, zoom in on parts of it, take notes, read its technical specifications, and watch videos. And this is all in real time, with everything running smoothly and naturally.”

A smorgasbord of 5G performance

This solution widens the possibilities for virtual meetings, allowing them to be even more immersive and collaborative. Like all extended reality experiences, it is completely reliant on 5G connection. The 3D model of the underwater robot used in the demonstration is very large, which means processing a huge amount of data. That in turn means it cannot be downloaded onto the HoloLens glasses. It needs to be stored and continuously reproduced in the cloud, leading to constant flow of data between the cloud and the glasses. But thanks to 5G, this can all be done in real time, free of delays or interruptions.

Design, demonstrations, training and other B2B use cases

The benefits of this technology are obvious, and there is no shortage of practical applications. First and foremost, it lets people in different locations work together on the design, modeling and prototyping of highly complex equipment, like engines for planes or boats. The advantages of this are clear, especially for multinational companies where skilled workers are spread across the globe, and in the design stages of projects where regular communication is key.

The solution could also be used for maintenance, particularly in regulated technical industries like nuclear power, where it could be used to train people through immersive 3D experiences, which are carbon copies of the real thing.

Coming to the market soon

As our ways of working are revolutionized, there is no question that the world of immersive collaborative meetings will continue to expand. “We’ve been working with our partners for a long time on integrating an extended reality solution using tried and tested devices,” says Barbara Lucesoli, Head of IoT B2B Catalog and Digital Tools at Orange Innovation. The HoloLens glasses, for instance, are already one of the solutions on our IoT Journey platform. And we’re convinced that, beyond industry, the world of health care and smart cities could easily benefit from this technology when it comes to everyday collaboration.”

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