WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Rendering high quality AR and VR experiences is compute intensive, but by using cloud based rendering now anyone can enjoy high quality content irrespective of their device.
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Your smartphone might be a supercomputer by 1970’s standards, but when it comes to being able to render high end graphics, Augmented Reality (AR), or even full on immersive Virtual Reality (VR) worlds, it still has a long way to go, so this week at MWC Los Angeles Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang demonstrated the company’s new CloudXR platform which can stream cloud-rendered AR and VR content over 5G connections – a move that ultimately means that being able to render hi quality content is no longer reliant on the computing power in your device or smartphone.
In short they used massive computing power in the cloud and combined it with super-fast 5G networks so that you can experience high quality content and your phone won’t have to do the grunt work. And increasingly in the future this is how apps and experiences, including everything from VR worlds and procedural content, content such as games and eventually movies whose storylines and content are rendered in real time, will be delivered.
See the tech in action
Built to support SteamVR and OpenVR content out of the box, Nvidia says it will release a CloudXR SDK to enable companies to offer AR and VR content from the cloud by the end of the year.
In their case Nvidia wants to leverage GPU-based cloud infrastructure “to allow businesses to render high-end AR and VR visuals remotely and deliver them to customers over 5G.” The idea is to remove VR’s high-end hardware barrier by rendering the visuals in the cloud and streaming them to a host device which itself doesn’t need particularly beefy or expensive hardware. Nvidia already offers a very similar service called GeForce Now, but it’s for traditional games rather than VR.
Now the company says it has developed a cloud-rendering pipeline, specifically supporting SteamVR and OpenVR content, which the company is calling CloudXR. Rather than offer this service directly to customers, as they do with GeForce Now, Nvidia is positioning CloudXR as a set of tools which other businesses can use to bring AR and VR streaming to their customers. This approach makes sense because one of the key pieces to this puzzle is a 5G network because of their low latencies and Nvidia hopes that carriers, like T-Mobile in the US, who are building out 5G networks will want to offer CloudXR streaming as a way to attract customers to their networks.
Huang then went on to show off a demo of the new CloudXR tech by rendering a high fidelity 3D model of a car on stage, and as you can see from the video it’s impressive. And as for what this means in the future, well, at a minimum it means that your smartphone no longer has to be the latest or greatest super-sized or super-specked device in order to let you enjoy the latest cutting edge content – and that’s just one of many game changers.