CLOUD-TO-EDGE ORCHESTRATION AND 5G FOR AUGMENTED REALITY
Ahead of the opening of the 2021 EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs), the most important film awards in the United Kingdom, title sponsor EE unveiled the world’s first real-time Augmented Reality (AR) mobile experience created using EE’s award-winning 5G network and powered by hybrid cloud technology. The body movement and facial expressions of Liam Payne, an English singer and songwriter, were captured and instantly transformed into 3D animations that were synced with his voice and transmitted in real-time for fans to experience the performance live on their mobile phones.
The live motion capture streaming application developed by The Round, was at the basis of this virtual live performance that many fans appreciated from everywhere in the United Kingdom on Sunday 11th April 2021. Our Digital Services R&D member, Fragkiskos Sardis, contributed to the overall system by providing his technical knowledge and experience on cloud and 5G systems.
5G, AND CLOUD-TO-EDGE ORCHESTRATION AT THE BASIS OF THE EXPERIENCE
As Konica Minolta Digital Services R&D keeps developing hybrid cloud solutions, this virtual performance demonstrates how the technology applies in augmented/virtual reality and connected culture applications. The high-level components that make up a virtual theatre performance include a studio that acts as the edge location and hosts the edge compute and IoT devices required to capture motion, audio and control the virtual stage. The edge computing device transmits the data to a public cloud where a combination of game servers acting as traffic mirrors reflect the data to the viewers. Additionally, the public cloud hosts essential logistics functions such as client profiles, login credentials, ticketing, and billing systems. It also holds historic records of performances and in the future this could be extended to provide remote rendering for the clients, thus eliminating the need for a powerful client device.
Konica Minolta’s Distributed Cloud Intelligence provides support for use cases like this one by enabling on-demand instances on the public cloud at the touch of a button, thus making it easy to perform setup operations before a performance while scaling them according to the audience numbers. Furthermore, software deployment and configuration on the edge devices is also included in the deployment process if needed. This is to cover future scenarios where studios and theatres may provide the edge infrastructure and the producers will only need to deploy the software.
5G networks are one of the key enablers of low latency in virtual theatrical performance. The goal is to achieve as low latency as possible between the artist on stage and the audience at home as part of the promise that the performance is experienced in real-time, as the audience would experience it at the theatre.
LIVE PERFORMANCES AFTER COVID-19
With the devastating effects of the pandemic on the live performance sector, virtual events have become more and more prevalent, however, AR shows are at the beginning of their evolution, and in some cases, technological barriers may still represent a challenge. That’s why The Round’s Co-Founders, Pip Brignall and Thomas Winsor, wanted to explore how technology could help keep the industry alive. Not only did they find a way to do this, but they also found an exciting and innovative way to harness the power of live performance, offering genuinely meaningful and engaging story-telling experiences to entertainment-starved audiences.
At Konica Minolta Digital Services R&D, we’re developing a solution that could provide support for AR shows, to find out more about our research get in contact with us.
Photo by Karen Zhao on Unsplash.