Telekom Makes Way for High-Performance XR Apps!

Collaboration between Hololight and Deutsche Telekom enables location-independent streaming of XR applications

XR applications enable a unique 3D experience and valuable benefits with regard to industrial development and design processes. This is done through streaming, which ensures that the appropriate applications can process the necessary large data volumes. However, it requires a high-performance and stable data connection, something that in practice is not always provided. For this reason, Hololight has integrated Ericsson and Deutsche Telekom’s concept for a rate adjustment into 5G networks based on L4S in its Hololight Stream remote rendering solution. As a result, users benefit from high-performance XR streaming without any lag – even when there is lower connectivity and network quality on-site.

With Extended Reality (XR), digital dimensions can be merged with the offline world in a way that feels quite realistic. That’s why corresponding Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) apps are nowadays indispensable for various industrial usage scenarios. Overlapping the real world with virtual objects results in a fantastic three-dimensional live experience. It enables users to benefit from effects that are uniquely immersive. In particular, it takes the efficiency of development and design processes to a new level. Workflows, such as those used in the creation of prototypes, can be optimized, errors can be detected early, and expensive trips can be avoided. This leads to considerable savings in terms of costs, time, and resources.

Stream XR Applications on Mobile Devices

In order to realistically display complex virtual objects, XR applications place high demands on system performance. Mobile devices such as VR glasses usually do not meet these requirements. This is why it is expedient to bring the XR applications to the mobile devices via streaming. This prevents the latter from having to provide the necessary performance themselves. Instead, the rendering process, along with the data on the external server in the cloud, is outsourced in edge infrastructures or in datacenters within the company. Only then are high-performance XR applications on mobile devices possible in the first place. At the same time, the outsourcing increases data security, as no sensitive information is located on the end device itself. To enable industrial users to benefit from these crucial advantages, Hololight provides Hololight Stream, a professional XR streaming solution.

However, in order to stream AR and VR applications in real time, a stable and high-performance network connection is required. This is not always provided in industrial development and design environments, meaning that companies often do not have a comprehensive Wi-Fi infrastructure. The latter is usually not available at construction sites and other sites in the field, with the result being that experts such as architects and building engineers cannot access a stable internet connection on-site. In these cases, the required connectivity and bandwidth must be provided via a functioning streaming service. What is essential here for the real-time streaming of AR and VR applications is a low and stable latency; in other words, a low jitter. Think, for example, of high-precision working machines or processes in the domain of autonomous driving. 

Minimizing Latencies through Bit-Rate Adjustment

In order to implement time-sensitive applications with high data rates – such as XR streaming – on a large scale in 5G networks, the latencies must be kept low and stable in a way that is also efficient. In collaboration with the Swedish telecommunications specialists at Ericsson, Deutsche Telekom has a practical solution for this: the concept for a rate adjustment in 5G networks based on Low Latency Low Scalable Throughput (L4S). This involves an intelligent mechanism that is standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), a working group for the technical development of the internet. It ensures that data packets are quickly and smoothly transported through the network. The technology enables a stable latency (low jitter) in wired networks – in other words, fixed networks – as well as in cellular networks.

Through the use of L4S QoS (quality of service) streams, one can ensure that latency-critical applications with high data rates via 5G work smoothly and without any delays. Throughout this process, it is important that the mechanism does not unilaterally prioritize certain data packets. This guarantees that other users in the network are not disadvantaged. L4S recognizes early on if a bottleneck arises during the transmission of the data packets. The system gives the sender a corresponding response. They then adjust the bit rate based on this. Congestions and latencies can thus be reduced to a minimum. This concept becomes clear in an analogy to road traffic, where the cars represent the data packets: here, L4S would act as a kind of reporting service. This would inform the traffic management system, for example, that a maximum of 50 instead of 100 cars can go past a construction site. The flow of traffic is then reduced correspondingly, thus preventing traffic congestion.

L4S makes a huge difference in user experience and application reliability: Here on the left a visualization of unstable latency without L4S, on the right of a much more stable latency thanks to L4S. (Photo: Hololight)

Hololight Stream and L4S: the Perfect Duo for High-Performance XR Streaming

To bring the benefits of L4S to users, Hololight has integrated the mechanism into its Hololight Stream XR streaming solution. As a result, when streaming AR and VR applications, users will benefit from the highest possible quality and smooth presentation of three-dimensional holograms through XR glasses. “L4S is predestined for all network-intensive applications with high graphical requirements, including and especially XR applications. This way, complex objects with a large number of polygons, for example, can be visualized with a greater level of detail and without delay, which for designers and developers in particular enables an outstanding three-dimensional experience,” says Dominik Schnieders, Head of Edge Computing at Deutsche Telekom. Philipp Landgraf, Senior Director of XR Streaming at Hololight adds: “Through our partnership with Deutsche Telekom and the integration of L4S, we are able to offer our customers a very new dimension to streamed XR scenarios.”

All industry branches that use XR applications for their design, development, and planning processes benefit from this bundle of Hololight Stream and L4S. The technology will also be used in innovative, forward-looking projects, such as those that are part of IntellIoT, the next-generation Europe-wide IoT framework. As a result, thanks to the integration of L4S and Hololight Stream, equipment such as tractors, as part of an intelligent agricultural fleet combined with supporting devices such as drones, can in the future be partially operated and steered remotely. The agricultural machines will receive the XR applications from servers in the cloud via streaming. 

Another application example is the planning and construction of residential areas, such as recently occurred in the Munich district of Freiham. Using Hololight’s Hololight Stream based on digital 3D data, and with the help of Augmented Reality, the construction planners visualized and modeled the entire construction plan. In doing so, they anticipated the future development of the area. In development areas, where comprehensive Wi-Fi is still not available, these kinds of AR applications could in the future be streamed over the cellular network with L4S.

Journey into the Metaverse

Looking to the future, the combination of Hololight Stream and L4S in particular can also lead to significant benefits in the Metaverse. This is because users will access this new virtual space from everywhere and will want to optimally use stable, high-performance internet connectivity, not only in those places where there is Wi-Fi coverage. Here, L4S serves as a core technology for guaranteeing that the streaming of XR applications in the Metaverse via the cellular network is also high-performance.