Rohde & Schwarz and Slalom are collaborating to realize 5G-enabled AR-animated avatar calls for metaverse and extended reality (XR) applications, considered critical to unlocking the full consumer potential of the 5G technology.
The duo are developing essential tools to test XR use cases thoroughly prior to market launch and will demonstrate how to enable tomorrow’s augmented reality at MWC 2024. Rigorous testing is crucial to ensure the performance and market acceptance of these 5G immersive experiences.
One of the key areas for 5G-Advanced, to be addressed in 3GPP Release 18, is the development of animated avatar calls that use augmented reality. This is considered a stepping stone toward a broader integration of the metaverse.
Rohde & Schwarz has partnered with Slalom, a next-generation professional services company creating value at the intersection of business, technology, and humanity, to create a state-of-the-art lab environment. This collaboration has resulted in a test bed for XR-based use cases. At the test bed’s core is the CMX500 5G one-box signaling tester from Rohde & Schwarz. This innovative setup empowers network operators to evaluate XR-based applications and services in a controlled environment, ensuring optimal performance and quality of experience (QoE) for their subscribers even before mainstream deployment.
The animated avatar, developed by Slalom, renders on a cloud computing architecture, which is seamlessly integrated with the CMX500. The CMX500 emulates a 5G network to establish a Voice over New Radio (VoNR) connection to the end-user device. The end-user experience is brought to life using a motorola edge 40 pro 5G smartphone connected to Lenovo ThinkReality A3 Smart Glasses, where the avatar is displayed. The system also features a loopback of audio samples, laying the groundwork for future audio quality assessments based on the POLQA algorithm. A key aspect of the avatar’s animation is head movement emulation, which is designed to convey attentiveness during calls. The accurate rendering and timely display of such details on the end-user device are among the key performance indicators that are being further investigated by both companies.
Christoph Pointner, Senior Vice President for Mobile Radio Testers at Rohde & Schwarz says: “We are enhancing our application testing capabilities through our collaboration with Slalom. This partnership lays a robust foundation for the wireless ecosystem, accelerating the market introduction of XR-based applications and services to pave the way for the metaverse.”
Sam Andrews, General Manager at Slalom says: “In partnership with Rohde & Schwarz, we have developed an innovative concept where we can assess and measure the end-to-end quality of XR experiences that considers network, device, and application to create seamless outcomes for end users and unlock new opportunities for enterprises.”
This collaboration between Rohde & Schwarz and Slalom opens the way to virtual interactions that are more immersive and personal. For consumers, this innovation promises an enhanced sense of presence and engagement during voice calls.