A major trend in the world of immersive technologies is XR streaming: it enables a new quality of holographic content. By outsourcing the rendering processes from smart glasses to an edge server, photorealistic and highly detailed models can get visualized in augmented or virtual reality. Prerequisite for XR streaming’s widespread deployment is the stability and performance efficiency of edge architecture. The PLEDGER project of the EU (Ref.871536) has been set up to bring edge networks to an advanced level.
We are used to sharp renderings: Modern PCs have the capabilities to deliver high graphics within milliseconds thanks to their powerful GPUs and CPUs. This is not the case yet for augmented reality, where renderings are mostly more functional than impressive. Due to the limited processing power of smart glasses, data editors need to remove details of 3D models.
In order to overcome this limitation, the key lies in the usage of external resources. This new technology is called XR streaming. While a self-sufficient AR data goggle smoothly manages CAD models up to 1.000,000 polygons, edge architecture enables the visualization and manipulation of content that greatly exceeds the polygon scope of smart glasses. Through the edge network solution from Holo-Light, consortium member of PLEDGER, it was even possible to interactively stream a true to scale model of the International Space Station (ISS) with 80 million polygons.
Immersive Technologies Challenge Latencies
Latencies play an important role, when it comes to interacting with 3D models. Since high immersion can only get achieved, if all of the movements are transferred exactly from real to virtual space, real-time is a prerequisite for all computational and graphical performance in AR and VR.
Cloud computing latencies are short, especially by means of 5G. But currently Edge computing latencies are even minor: the transmission path from the end to the high processing server is quite short and latencies of about 16 ms milliseconds are possible.
But short latencies are not the only advantage over cloud computing: XR adopters appreciate the high bandwidth as well as the trustworthy data processing and storage. Critical data is protected as the streaming takes place in own networks. The data also never resides on the mobile device. A crucial security feature in the event of loss of the glasses or hacker attacks.
What is still Missing in Edge Networks?
After this list of edge computing advantages, a skeptical voice might ask, why the architecture is not so widespread yet. What is still missing? Problems lie in their stability and performance efficiency – here, edge computing architecture still lags behind cloud infrastructures. In order to further develop the upcoming architecture and bring it to the next level, the EU initiated the PLEDGER (Ref.871536) project.
PLEDGER is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. The interplay of leading research institutions, industrial stakeholders and SME’s aims to combine the benefits of low latencies and safety on the edge with the robustness and resilience of cloud infrastructures.