Two scenarios illustrate the enticing potential of edge processing
Scenario 1 - At-home VR/AR: From couch to court side
One possible application is using consumer-grade, low-cost VR/AR head-mounted displays (HMDs) in the home, which is a nascent but growing market. Here’s how it would work: Fans at home don a VR headset and stream the concert, game, or show live, allowing them to have a fully immersive experience. Behind the scenes, edge computing technology helps produce a low-latency, real-time immersive experience for users by capturing their movement and interactions. Highly tailored advertisements are presented during the downtime moments of the live streaming.
Scenario 2 - Location-based solutions: Bringing the social aspect to remote fans
Another option would be to host live viewing events in physical locations for fans to gather and interact with each other. This could take the form of holographic projections of live events at big venues. Now-available edge computing technology can collect the real-time motions and sounds of players or performers from volumetric data and transmit the data in the form of holograms populated by voxels, which are pixels in a 3D space to other sites. The holographic visuals will look like the real players and performers—offering the perfect combination of social interactions and real-time live entertainment.
A second location-based option would be VR/AR “viewing parties” at smaller-scale venues such as movie theaters. Fans would wear higher-end VR devices—more sophisticated than the HMDs they have at home—to view the event.
What’s the value?
A combination of edge computing and VR/AR could enable promoters, artists, and sports teams to capture a large chunk of the billions of dollars of untapped revenue from fans who are willing to pay to experience live entertainment events but can’t. Not only that, they could significantly boost advertising revenue associated with their events: With millions of people strapped to a VR headset, brands can deliver highly targeted ads to an entirely new (and massive) audience.
Here’s how this new revenue potential breaks down:
- At home viewership: $40.5 billion
- Location-based participation: $22.9 billion
Bringing live, socially rich events to the world
To enable these edge computing-driven VR/AR solutions, investments will be required. Both in-home and location-based solutions will require investments in much more computing and storage firepower. Storage needs, for instance, could grow exponentially based on an estimated 21,000 petabytes of data being transmitted by VR devices in 2021 and as much as 136,500 petabytes by 2030. Furthermore, 5G infrastructure, 5G radios, and GPUs will need to be widely proliferated and drop considerably in cost in order for these edge-enabled technologies to be widely adopted. Still, for major, globally popular events, the revenue potential far outweighs the added costs.