Remember that Zombie warning we gave you back in 2014? It’s coming true. As I watched Apple launching its new augmented reality capabilities the other night, it reminded me of a gaming piece we wrote back in 2014 about the anywhereization of gaming. It’s been coming true ever since. And in parallel, there have been big advances in virtual teleconferencing. Add to the mix the facial mapping and projection technology Apple just launched, and we’re about to enter a new reality of immersive experience.
So what will this mean for networks? Let’s look at two examples. Firstly, virtual teleconferencing. Each person will have a virtual avatar representing them in the meeting. It will need to react seamlessly to its owner’s facial expressions and movements. On top of that, your perspective will change as you move your head and look around the virtual room.
Then there’s gaming. Catching small cartoon icons is one thing. Playing a massive-multiplayer game where each player’s face is projected onto their game character in real time is another. It’s going to be seriously cool. But it’s also going to demand seriously low-latency, high-performance delivery. The game or teleconference will only be as strong as its weakest link. This will place new levels of demand on operators, who will in turn place new levels of demand on us. But we welcome it. We’ve been preparing for this ever since we realised there would be zombies in the network.
We are in an ongoing process of expansion with the ambition to double the number of PoPs on our backbone. We simply need to be as close as possible to every server that will host this new generation of AR games and applications. At the same time, we keep adding new routes within our network to provide more direct connection and the diversity required to ensure the availability and predictability our customers need.
Personally, I believe augmented reality is going to be much bigger than virtual reality. VR immerses you into another world, AR immerses another world into yours. This is the start of something very big.