Virtual Reality and the Cloud Should Combine
Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and cloud computing are all really hot technologies. If you read about the tech industry, then you’re hearing a lot about VR/AR and the cloud. They both enable new types of applications and business models and that’s partially why they’re talked about so often.
People don’t seem to talk much though about combining VR/AR and the cloud. One of the main reasons people aren’t talking about it or writing about it, is because there aren’t a slew of companies trying to integrate the technologies.
Most of the VR/AR headsets currently utilize strong local graphics and computing. Most cloud computing models are typically independent from a device that’s connected.
However, the potential opportunities between a mix of VR and cloud computing are exciting for several reasons.
There are many exciting possibilities. Here are some…
One of the main challenges with people accepting VR/AR is the overall cost combined with the headset and PC required for a VR headset to work. Hypothetically, a computing model that’s cloud based datacenter with access to multi core CPU horsepower should be able to meet the computing requirements needed for VR/AR usage.
It’s clear that VR/AR applications will require additional digital engine speed, and we’re talking way more. Instead of forcing expensive upgrades to the base computing devices utilized for VR/AR, people can utilize a cloud based service to greatly enhance the infrastructure’s speed.
Since VR/AR is still in its infancy, there are going to be many developments and potentially huge changes in the technology. This is again where cloud based delivery for these apps could enable a significantly better experience for the users.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are most likely not going to typically be used by people on an every day basis, so cloud based, pay as you go business models could be more appealing to many people and businesses.
Most likely, we will see VR/AR delivered through an SAAS type delivery model within the next year or two.
There are definitely challenges to making this happen too though.
The reason that the majority of VR/AR headsets are connected with a wire to a host computing is because the speed needed to keep the displays updated is crucial to it working. If it slows down or has latency, the experience can be completely messed up. The good news though is that technology like the Thunderbolt 3 as well as the wireless 60 GHz based 802.11ad Wi-Fi should help to fix this in the fairly near future.
Smart caching algorithms as well as quick local storage should hopefully be able to overpower any delays based on connection issues.
Another potential issue is that most VR and AR headsets deliver content differently which makes cloud based delivery with a single optimized video stream a lot harder.
Even with these potential issues, a cloud based VR solution is realistic, can potentially open the VR/AR doors to many more people and we should expect to see this happen within the next year or two.