Virtual Reality x Interconnection = Hot Tech!

Winning in a Virtual World with Interconnection

Sam Ho

Virtual reality (VR) is taking the entertainment industry by storm across the globe. This is particularly in parts of Asia-Pacific, including China, where VR arcades are expected to grow thirteenfold by 2021 to exceed US$742.4 million in revenue.1 In South Korea, telecommunications giant KT just opened its second VRIGHT theme park, harnessing VR to deliver next-level entertainment.

While those in the entertainment sector are currently driving the majority of use cases for VR and augmented reality (AR) technology – accounting for over 19% of the overall spend in 2019 – other uses are spreading rapidly throughout a range of industries.2

In our latest blogpost in the ‘Interconnection x Hot Tech’ blog series, we move on from robots to the new and exciting uses of VR technology across Asia-Pacific’s most forward-thinking industries and examine how this technology is creating valuable benefits for businesses and consumers alike.

Virtual Reality – Inspiring Innovative Thinking in Asia-Pacific

Healthcare

In an industry that previously relied on real-world experience for learning, VR presents exciting new opportunities for students and practitioners to observe procedures with a high level of precision. At the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, China’s top university for Chinese medicine, acupuncture students are strapping on VR headsets to learn about the body’s acupoints and meridian pathways. At the same time, VR is beginning to transform diagnostic methodologies, enabling students to examine virtual patients and symptoms.

Vantari VR, an Australian startup, is helping doctors and patients see their medical scans in a whole new light by converting CT, MRI, and other scans into VR. This is an improvement over 2D black and white medical scans, giving doctors a better idea of what’s going on in the bodies of their patients. VR medical scans are also being trialed by practitioners for surgery planning, introducing significant improvements in speed and accuracy.

Education

In addition to the inside of the human body, VR can also take students to far-off destinations. In Singapore, primary schools are trialing VR to give children a field trip learning experience from the safety of the classroom. Developed by Beach House Pictures, with input from Singapore’s Ministry of Education, these VR lesson packages can bring students to historical sites, offshore fishing farms, or organic vegetable farms, with voice-over guidance from their teachers.

In Taiwan and Japan, Facebook is harnessing its Oculus VR technology to open up learning opportunities in schools, libraries, and museums. Its Oculus Education pilot programs cover a wide range of objectives, which include teaching students to create and use VR content, giving students the opportunity to ‘go to school’ remotely, and exploring other possibilities for VR adoption as part of their education.

Tourism

One of the tourism industry’s earliest adopters of VR technology was Qantas, which created an app that allows users to explore Australia’s most beautiful destinations in 360 degrees of immersive detail, with the goal of boosting ticket sales.

For some, the journey and experience are as important as the destination. That is why Japan-based First Airlines, the ‘world’s first virtual airline’, is offering the opportunity to enjoy a first-class flight and fully immersive city tours using VR, without requiring travellers to leave the entertainment and business district of Tokyo. Elsewhere in Japan, Kyoto Tower’s VR Bungee is offering thrill seekers the chance to bungee jump off the top of Kyoto Tower, complete with almost 400 feet of spectacular views and feel of wind rushing in their faces.

Construction and Engineering

In the construction and engineering industries, VR training is providing a more realistic sense of how work should be carried out. The Electrical & Mechanical Services Department of Hong Kong has developed training modules that incorporate VR, helping technicians ‘experience’ the steps and safety procedures involved in the maintenance of large-scale engineering builds. The fully immersive VR environment also gives technicians more confidence about applying their training in the field.

Touch is another important element of training, particularly in highly physical industries like construction and engineering. Japanese firm Miraisens has been developing 3D Haptic technology to simulate touch and greatly enhance VR by adding a realistic ‘feeling’ of texture, pressure, and force. In the construction industry, 3D Haptics have the potential to be used during VR training to help technicians experience important sensory information, such as how it is supposed to feel when parts correctly ‘click’ together.

Banking and Real Estate

Hong Kong homebuyers who are short on time can now take a VR tour of listed properties anytime, anywhere. Jointly developed by DBS Bank and Century 21, one of Hong Kong’s largest realtors, the banking mortgage mobile app “DBS Home360” harnesses VR technology to completely transform how people engage with the property market. Using VR, users can quickly pinpoint suitable properties from hundreds of listings without the inconvenience of arranging and attending physical viewings.

The crucial link between data, networks, content creators, VR providers, and end consumers is interconnection – the private data exchange between businesses – making it crucial for businesses to prioritize an interconnection-first strategy when designing IT architectures.

Interconnection: Road to Successful VR Adoption

VR technology works by generating a massive volume of images, sounds, and other sensory information to simulate a user’s physical presence in a 360-degree environment. It can even support interactions with virtual features or items. Any stutter or delay in the sensory data streams can negatively impact this immersive experience, meaning the technology relies heavily on the constant production and transfer of an enormous volume of data.

To ensure seamless content delivery, businesses who want to leverage VR technology need to establish reliable access to service providers to facilitate massive data transfers which can often require the re-architecting of their underlying infrastructure.

The crucial link between data, networks, content creators, VR providers, and end consumers is interconnection – the private data exchange between businesses – making it crucial for businesses to prioritize an interconnection-first strategy when designing IT architectures.

Our global interconnection platform, Platform Equinix®, which is designed to accelerate digital transformation for enterprises, comprises more than 200 IBX data centers across 53 markets and 25 countries, and provides businesses with access to over 1,800 networks and over 2,900 cloud and IT providers globally including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, and more.

Distance between users, service providers and applications is the fundamental cause of most latency issues, where a few milliseconds of lag can ruin the entire experience. This is why anInterconnection Oriented Architecture™ framework is particularly important for latency-sensitive, real-time applications, as itremoves this distance by bringing private exchange and distribution points closer to all the stakeholders, ensuring real-time data exchange.

By accessing the robust ecosystems housed within Equinix, companies will be able to securely and directly access and interconnect with a variety of content providers, VR companies, partners and customers, ensuring real-time content distribution and seamless user experience.

VR offers a tantalizing glimpse into the future for a broad range of industries, but in order to support it, companies require the right underlying infrastructure, and it will be those that embrace the power of data and interconnection will be the ones standing at the forefront of this exciting new technology.

Reference:

1 – https://lbe.news/2019/04/08/chinas-lbvr-market-set-to-soar/

2 – https://www.idc.com/getfile.dyn?containerId=IDC_P34919&attachmentId=47354967