AT&T and GridRaster team up on AR/VR project

AT&T announced it is working with GridRaster to test augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) services on mobile devices at its edge computing test zone in Silicon Valley.

AT&T noted last November its edge computing test zone would go live later this year. The purpose of the test zone is to draw out developers to test applications like autonomous vehicles, drones, and AR/VR. Currently, the test zone uses 4G LTE connection, which will be upgraded to 5G possibly by the end of the year.

Under the partnership, AT&T and GridRaster will test low-latency network access to cloud computation for AR/VR services on mobile devices. AR apps provide a digital representation of the world, which are layered with texts and images. VR apps, on the other hand, are a computer simulation, which may or may not reflect the world. The companies will work to eliminate blurry or choppy graphics often associated with AR/VR apps on modern day smartphones.

“We’re working directly with developers, startups and third-party innovators to solve the latency dilemma that limits many existing AR/VR applications,” said Vishy Gopalakrishnan, vice president of ecosystem and innovation at AT&T, in a statement. “Our ability to collaborate with the community and push forth rapid innovations is at the heart of this experiment.”

Multi-access edge computing (MEC) is expected to play a major role in supporting AR/VR applications on mobile devices by providing the low latency and compute power necessary to run them. The technology involves moving processing tasks closer to the end user by placing a small edge server near the mobile device. As part of the collaboration, GridRaster will provide the underlying compute and network stack to power high-end AR/VR experiences on mobile platforms. At the same time, AT&T will provide its next-generation, low-latency edge cloud.

“The power of edge computing will ensure consumers have the best possible mobile AR/VR experience,” said Rishi Ranjan, CEO and founder of GridRaster. “By moving the processing power to the cloud, and removing the physical distance between your device and the data center, mobile experiences will be dramatically enhanced. The software behind this edge computing test zone will help us get there, faster.”

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