Bringing an Extra Edge to XR Applications, Five Companies Team Up to Deliver 5G Global MEC PaaS

By Arti Loftus July 01, 2021

Aligned with the GSMA's Telco Edge Cloud (TEC) initiative, introduced during the lightly attended Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, KDDI announced a proof of concept with Deutsche Telekom, MobiledgeX, visual positioning service developer Sturfee, and AR-streaming company Mawari.

The companies have collaborated on the first global Platform as a Service (PaaS) to accelerate XR application development at the edge. The proof of concept is being launched in alignment with GSMA's Telco Edge Cloud (TEC) initiative promoting 5G's low latency and high bandwidth, paired with edge cloud functionality, designed to make valuable new services easier to create and deliver.

As 5G implementations continue to grow, the real-time communications and data networking industries are focused on ways to accelerate the adoption of edge-based services, and the five-company collaboration led by KDDI is a prime example of how important it is to "play well with others" to meet the "great expectations" of enterprises and consumers when it comes to consistently great experiences at the edge.

The companies are focused on building a platform that combines special recognition and XR content streaming, supporting low latency XR applications on multiple operator edge clouds in KDDI's au Vision Studio.

This five-way for 5G creative collaboration brings together companies from three countries:

-Japan: Makoto Takahashi, President and CEO, and Mawari, Luis Oscar Ramirez Solorzano, CEO

-Germany: Deutsche Telekom AG, Timotheus Höttges, CEO

-U.S.A.: MobiledgeX, Jason Hoffman, CEO, and Sturfee, Anil Cheriyadat, CEO

Their first PoC enabling globally standard XR applications development platform for Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) commenced last month.

The announcement laid out challenges associated with deploying low latency applications on multiple operator's MECs.

-MEC platforms are intended to support AR / VR, automatic driving, robotics, and other applications that take advantage of the low latency of 5G. Next-generation interactive media apps (XR) require closer proximity to supporting APIs and SDKs in their backend code to deliver the quality of experience and scale that is required. This is because media is generated from all participants' locations and cameras in real-time, and any lack of synchronization could produce a poor user experience. There is a growing need among application developers for consistent APIs and cloud services to be deployed within the edge networks to support these next-generation applications in an easy and consistent way.

-However, for developers who want to release their applications globally, using MEC leads to longer lead times and higher operating costs. This is because MEC is provided within the edge networks provided by each telecom operator; it is necessary to individually deploy, test, and operate middleware such as APIs for each MEC provided by telecom operators in each country.

-For the telecom operator, the challenge is speed, scale, and collaboration. Today, telecom operators cannot benefit from each other's complementary market development, especially in the space of discovering new "in-network" services that will be required to power the next generation of apps and solutions.

The five companies worked together to solve for these challenges on a global scale, with the two telco giants (KDDI and Deutsche Telekom) tapping into three innovators to make a Visual Positioning Service (VPS).

In addition, the SDK provided by the common PaaS will be embedded into an AR app on a smartphone and a 3D virtual human application called "coh," which will be distributed from KDDI and Deutsche Telekom MEC to the smartphone XR app.

KDDI's creative team gave birth to "coh" in its "au Vision Studio."

KDDI and Deutsche Telekom anticipate that this PoC can be used to efficiently develop low-latency XR applications that are running on smartphones, smart glasses, and other XR devices.

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Luke Bellos

Special Correspondent

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