“The 5G RAN Slicing demo in virtual reality was great! We were very happy with how it all came together.” Paul Norkus, Marketing Manager, Nokia
Client’s marketing & sales personnel and customers in trade shows & other events and in executive experience centers across the world
Multi-user virtual showroom – SHOWCAPE (VR)
Extension of earlier delivery (scalable solution)
Computer-generated 3D, based on client’s existing CAD assets
Interactive elements in virtual space
Windows app for offline use
Oculus Rift headsets + laptops and TV display (screen mirroring)
The demand for digital content and services over mobile networks keeps growing. 5G will deliver massive capacity and connectivity improvements to cope with the demand and drive a variety of new use cases from remotely controlled robots to VR live streaming of events. One of the key innovations that will enable all this is network slicing. Using virtualisation and other technologies, a 5G network can be partitioned into slices, and each slice can be customised to meet the specific needs of different services or customers – something conventional one-size-fits-all networks cannot provide.
Nokia – a leading global supplier of 5G networks – asked us to create a VR experience that would educate customers on network slicing and demonstrate its value to telecom operators and other enterprises, such as manufacturing and logistics companies, at MWC Barcelona 2019, and later in other events. The demo focused on RAN slicing, which is a key part of end-to-end 5G network slicing. (A radio access network, or RAN, uses radio signals to connect individual devices to the core network in a telecommunications system.)
We have worked with Nokia on several projects over the years. This one was special, because it was an opportunity to extend a previous VR project and demonstrate the scalability of our multi-user VR showroom. In 2018, we delivered a multi-user VR application that connected people across a 4,000 km distance inside the same virtual showroom. Nokia has deployed the solution in different parts of the world, and the experience has incited a lot of excitement – even spontaneous applause. So, it was both an opportunity and a challenge to build on the popularity of the previous application.
The solution is based on our SHOWSCAPE concept. A key characteristic of this multi-user virtual showroom is the presenter or guide feature. Showroom visitors are accompanied by an expert from Nokia, and both the expert and the visitors are present as avatars in a shared virtual space. The guide can choose between three alternative VR experiences available in the showroom, change the scenes, talk to the visitors and customise the overall experience, depending on the type and preferences of the audience.
All content in the virtual showroom is computer generated. 3D models and animations, text and graphs make up a virtual environment that illustrates 5G RAN slicing architecture and technology and highlights the value of the new network approach to different types of customers. The client’s existing digital assets, like CAD models of 5G hardware, were utilised in content production.
Interactive elements in the virtual space provide effective access to content and enable smooth browsing through the space. Oculus Rift headsets offer a high-grade, fully immersive VR experience. Several people can simultaneously visit the showroom, depending on the number of headsets available.
The solution is distributed as a PC application and works over a LAN/WiFi connection. Laptops display the same view the user sees via the headset, and the experience is also mirrored on an external TV screen for a wider audience to share. The excitement generated by the showroom visitors attracts onlookers who stay to watch the experience on the screen.
Creating an effective and compelling user experience for a three-dimensional virtual space – where size, text, interactive objects and other content elements are consumed spatially – is different from designing an experience for a flat 2D screen. In this project, we placed special emphasis on spatial storytelling and creating a comfortable experience for moving, looking around and interacting with the VR environment.