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5G and the future of entertainment

By July 3, 2019 No Comments

Last month, I spent a couple of amazing days at the AT&T Shape event in Burbank Studios in Los Angeles. The focus of the event was 5G and the future of entertainment. But there were many other interesting discussions and exhibits on everything from MIoT, Smart Cities and self-driving cars.

There were also a range of exhibits that showcased the use of 5G in making applications more real-time and interactive than what is possible today. The key to some of the coolest use cases is that 5G latencies will be game changing. Some of my highlights included:

– Changing a movie or gaming narrative in realtime based on user’s emotional reaction

– Interactive games via VR (virtual reality) devices

– Virtual assistants responding in realtime

– Use of AR (augmented reality) in advertising

– AR in Smart Cities (e.g. AR alerts – letting people know if an ambulance is approaching, realtime info on bus stands etc)

Going beyond apps and use cases that are driven by hi-speed and low latency, many of the AR driven use cases need to ingest, manage and correlate multiple facets of a user’s life. For example:

Self-driving cars – they could have access to owner/driver’s past driving history. In the case of law enforcement this could also include access to the driver’s criminal record and can override routes for law enforcement.

Personalised advertisements – based on user location, age, Interests, shopping history, travel history, credit scores, local events … the sky is the limit here.

Enhanced entertainment experiences – Creating avatars of players and artists during live performances/sporting events based on a combination of player/performers as well as viewer’s age, gender, ethnicity, personality, engagement history, etc.

Personalised help and information – Virtual or avatar based virtual assistants at prime locations (sporting events, bus stops, tourist places etc) that respond to user queries and create recommendations based on age, interest, credit score, shopping history, etc.

Working in IT and often being involved in deep technical 5G management and development work, sometimes it’s good to take a step back and look at what 5G can actually deliver. When you think of the potential of 5G, it’s pretty awesome and there will be many, many new ideas and use cases that emerge as 5G gets rolled out across more countries. From a Digital BSS perspective, 5G is a game changer. Just looking at the example use cases above – the need to ensure high QoS and low latency, the increased number of players in the value chain and the different monetisation and business model options. The agility needed to manage these is beyond the realm of legacy systems. Openet’s CEO, Niall Norton, wrote recently in that for 5G, BSS needs to be able to manage and monetise the unexpected. Given the range and sheer inventiveness of some of the use cases I’ve seen at AT&T’s Shape event, I think he may be on to something.