AR and VR Over 5G Networks Gains Momentum in Industrial Sector: ABI Research
Nearly 10 percent of industrial smart glasses and standalone virtual reality (VR) devices will have a 5G connection by 2026, according to a new forecast from ABI Research. Additionally, augmented reality (AR) is growing in presence in industrial applications such as smart manufacturing and remote operation of industrial machinery.
To serve workers that use devices in a wider range of locations or on the move, cellular connectivity is the better option. The 5G network, with extreme throughput, ultra-low latency, and uniform experience, will be the ideal solution for connected AR/VR experiences.
“Wearing smart glasses, rather than using AR on handheld screens, empowers the worker to use both hands and look directly at the work that needs doing,” says Marina Lu, Senior Analyst at ABI Research. “AR will enable shop-floor workers to see a digital twin overlaid on a physical object with assembly or repair instructions according to customized needs.”
According to Lu, remote applications that connect field engineers to a remote expert require high-accuracy interaction and low end-to-end latency for time-sensitive applications, and thus continuous connectivity is vital. “When users in field service and maintenance are in remote locations where Wi-Fi is nonexistent, devices can leverage 4G and eventually 5G networks to keep these workers connected and safe,” she said.
Cellular connectivity could expand the possible working area of AR/VR. Low-Power Wide-Area Networks (LPWAN) can efficiently support simple remote devices that do not communicate frequently while remaining ultra-energy efficient. The combination of IoT and AR/VR improves the entire value chain for use in manufacturing.
Some manufacturers have already started to adopt LPWA, as shown by Huawei and Toshiba’s NB-IoT solution for smart factory monitoring. Flowserve, a manufacturer and aftermarket service provider of flow control products and services, uses real-time sensors with AR to predict pump failure, show the exact steps for making the fix, and share management analytics.