President Trump says he wants 5G technology in the U.S. as soon as possible. The president tweeted, “It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard. American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind.”
Both Verizon and AT&T have launched mobile 5G networks. Experts say 5G is engineered for massive bandwidth, and will deliver much faster and more reliable mobile connections. It’s a “quantum step forward” in wireless technology, according to Toby Redshaw, Verizon’s Senior VP of Strategy, Innovation and Product Development. "You'll see things today that simply aren't possible without 5G that I think are going to revolutionize a whole series of consumer experiences and how business is operating," Redshaw says. “It’s going to going to kind of enable a lot of new functionality - for businesses, for cities, for education, for healthcare.”
5G is said to be essential to the future of augmented reality, a cutting-edge technology which superimposes digital data on the physical world. Augmented reality (AR) is predicted to be much bigger than virtual reality. Business Wire reports the AR market is expected to be worth over $60 billion by 2023.
It's not just used for games like Pokemon Go. There are commercial, automotive, industrial and healthcare applications too. Interactive AR devices can also help with everyday tasks like shopping and home repair.
Ben Nunez, the founder and CEO of Evercoast, says the technology will “really change how people interact, how they consume content, how they engage with products, and brands, and even each other."
Fox News toured Verizon’s 5G Lab in New York City, to talk with developers working on AR technology and see some of these innovations firsthand. Here are a few products that caught our eye:
Evercoast showed off its “virtual fitting room,” which captures video of a person using 16 high-definition cameras from 180 degrees, then delivers that in 3D form to VR goggles or a looking glass display, so they can put themselves in different outfits and settings.
Another company, Soul Machines, demonstrated a life-like, emotionally responsive “digital human” who can interact with people and respond to their voice and facial expressions. “Lia” – who looked like a real person and even cracked some jokes – showed how she can perform customer service tasks such as booking a hotel room.
Streem has a smartphone app which allows a live technician to help fix a broken appliance via a “virtual visit.” Customers can stream video of the problem, and the technician can use a digital toolbox to take measurements, while computer vision technology automatically detects important information such as the model number. It’s a tool to help service providers assess problems before even stepping foot in your home.
ThirdEye showed off smart glasses that use augmented reality and mixed reality software to provide remote help. For example, first responders can drive to an accident scene while seeing drone views and maps in the corner of their smart glasses. They can stream their live point of view and get instructions on how to provide medical treatment for an injured person.
Envrmnt has developed an AR powered object recognition tool that allows customers to get product details and reviews instantly, just by holding their smartphones up to the grocery store shelf. It can allow a parent whose child has a nut allergy to tell at a glance which items to avoid, or explain how to apply a new beauty product.
Some of these technologies are already being used by consumers and businesses in the U.S. and around the world, while others are still being developed. So if you haven’t used AR yet, chances are, you soon will. Recent research by Gartner suggests by next year, 100 million consumers will be using augmented reality and virtual reality technology to shop online and in-store.