We get closer to a 6G reality every day. In a previous article, I discussed some of the myriad possibilities and improvements sixth-generation (6G) networks could enable. Advances in full-duplex communication and satellite time-sharing show real promise for the bandwidth and speed of 6G-based technologies. Today, I’d like to focus on just one aspect of the 6G future: advances in leisure-time activities.
You’ve probably heard about digital twins. NASA has used some version of “twinning” since the 1960s. Just like it sounds, digital twins are highly detailed virtual models of real, physical objects. Many museums already offer some type of virtual tour, but 6G networks could allow all museums to offer twinned virtual reality (VR) experiences of their entire building and all its exhibits for remote visitors. And unlike in many real-life exhibitions, the haptics improvements in VR could get you up close enough to count the brushstrokes on that old master.
If all museums offered complete VR experiences, you might get a “private” showing of the “Mona Lisa”—no lines, no crowds—and you could visit the Louvre, the Kimbell, and the National Museum of Korea on the same day if you like.
Speaking of being up close and personal with the art, what if you could experience a real-life restoration with a conservator wearing a haptics suit? We’ve seen what happens when amateur enthusiasts try hobbyist restoration. Think you could do better? What if museums allowed you to try to be an art conservator on a digitally twinned piece of art? Bottom line: you can get a higher brow with 6G’s lower latency.
Sure, But What About Gaming?
We’ve been talking about improvements in viewing haptics for VR, but what about using all the tactile senses for online/cloud gaming and exercise experiences? Feel as if you could go a few rounds with a boxing great? You do you. I might prefer to skydive from the safety of my couch. Neither of us would even have to get cold to skate or ski in the Olympics, but with future haptics, we could. And, of course, any of these examples could be translated into improved training experiences. What if you could take a lesson with our greatest living tennis player, but couldn’t make it to her home in Florida? Would a holographic training session work? You could watch her up close and in real time, and she could coach you the same way. Do you like treasure hunts? Imagine an international treasure (or egg) hunt—from your living room. That might be an all-family holiday gathering activity that everyone actually likes. What if we made it an international jewel heist? No? Just me? That’s OK.
We’re just starting to see real developments in robotic meal delivery, based on 5G network capabilities. Faster and more autonomous food delivery systems will come with 6G networks. So, your favorite restaurant is already booked for dinner? (Or currently closed entirely for dine-in?) No problem! A fast and accurate robot of some sort just delivered your meal to your door, and—thanks to 6G-capable haptics and/or holographic technologies—you can literally see yourself in the restaurant. Would you enjoy that meal even more if your VR in-restaurant experience started with watching the chef prepare it and smelling it while it cooks? It could happen.
All the World’s a Stage
Remember the sensation the “Hamilton” movie created when it was released on Disney+? 80 percent of Disney+ subscribers streamed “Hamilton,” and in the first three days after its premiere, more than 750,000 Disney+ apps were downloaded. What do you think those numbers would be if your favorite production jumped from the flat screen to 3D? Being unable to get tickets to the live performance of the next hottest show might just be a thing of the past. In fact, truly interactive AR or VR could provide an “in theater” experience for you and everyone else connected and watching.
Travel: Globe-trotting from Home?
Everyone loves to travel, right? No, no they don’t. There are myriad restrictions on many people’s travel opportunities, including budget, time, global lockdowns, and limited mobility. And maybe, you don’t want to spend the 46 hours it will take to get to and up Machu Picchu; you just want to enjoy the view. Perhaps embassies and consulates will offer tours of their countries from your country, at a local museum or library or—again—in your living room. How about on a more mundane level? What if you didn’t have to schlep to every house in your price range on the market? Imagine if you could actually see how dark the living room is, or feel the sagging wood floors, or smell the previous owner’s smoke, and eliminate these houses without wasting your time. Do you see where I’m going with this? More importantly, do you see where 6G technologies and networks can take you?
Friends and Family
As I mentioned, travel can be prohibitive for many reasons, but most of us still want to make the effort to see nonlocal friends and family. Best friend from college lives across the country? Across the Atlantic? No problem. If 6G solves the previously mentioned issues, y’all can have dinner once a week virtually, if you like. Concerned about an elderly relative? You can check in more easily, and fully enjoy their company, and these get-togethers will be as different from a Zoom cocktail hour as zoetrope is from 3D film projection (IMAX).
All this sounds pretty great to me, and, even better, a recent white paper predicts that “[b]esides enhancing the immersive user experience, 6G should lower the cost of providing such services and therefore democratize their access.”
How Can CSPs Prepare to Deliver All This 6G Goodness?
Obviously, communications service providers (CSPs) must continue their network disaggregation journey, developing their cloud, edge, and extreme edge computing and massive data analytics capabilities to support these emerging use case technologies. Additionally, 6G networks will expand on the use of AI/ML from network data analytics and performance enhancement to network planning and network traffic optimization.
As you know, NETSCOUT is a leader in mobile technology, with solutions that provide visibility into critical network functions. This unique visibility will give CSPs the ability to roll out 6G with confidence. We’ve been here for you since 2G, and we’ll be ready for you when 6G arrives.
Learn how to simplify your network complexity and improve customer experience with NETSCOUT’s CSP solutions.