"Immersive Media" - the term appears more and more frequently in connection with 5G. What does this mean and what do the abbreviations VR, AR and MR have to do with it?
The term "immersive" is derived from the word "immersion", which means embedding, entry. Up to the 2000s, computer games were mainly described with this attribute, in which the player was literally immersed. In his own perception, he thus became part of the game world. In this time, “immersive” was a special predicate. In addition to the pure visual appearance, for example by taking an ego-perspective, the game physics, meaning the interaction of the character with the game world, was also decisive. Furthermore, the narrated story, the plot, was an important factor.
For some years now, immersive media have been mainly used to describe Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies.
When it comes to Virtual Reality, most of us think of the well-known glasses that a user puts on to experience content in 360 degrees. These headsets can be mounts in which a smartphone is inserted, such as in the Samsung Gear. The "Head Mounted Display" integrates all the technology. An example of this is the VR system from Sony Playstation. In both cases, the user is the center of attention and his virtual gaze follows his own movement.
A new kind of hyper-reality
Augmented reality means that the user experiences an application in the real world – made possible with digital aids. An example of this was "Pokémon GO" in 2016, in which millions of players were able to catch little monsters with virtual Poké balls. The Pokémon GO developer Niantic, a Deutsche Telekom partner, has a lot to offer this year. Another possible use case is AR Maintenance. Here, for example, a technician in front of a multifunctional housing can receive additional content via a special headset that makes his work or diagnosis easier. The same possibilities also exist in other occupational fields, such as medicine.
Mixed Reality is not only the generic term for the two terms AR and VR, but also describes a new kind of hyper-reality in which both worlds are combined - either a virtual person in the real world (holoportation) or the integration of film scenes in a virtual reality.
The next step is "Social VR"
The above examples show: We are only at the beginning. The possible applications are already very diverse and go beyond the area of gaming. The next step towards connecting people is "Social VR". Here, several users come together in a virtual space in order to experience something together, for example watch video clips or follow sports events.
All this leads to growing demands on the networks: High capacities and low latencies which the new 5G communication standard offers. Both are necessary in order not only to process huge amounts of data - for example in games with a large number of participants at one location - but also to do so in real time.