Monday, 12 April 2021 01:09

AT&T debuts new 5G Innovation Studio Featured

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Set to explore new 5G applications and drive further adoption, AT&T has officially opened its 5G Innovation Studio is Plano, Texas to accelerate the path to market for new 5G-centric product offerings and key initiatives including exploring use of drones and modernising sports entertainment with holograms.

So, why does AT&T say its new 5G Innovation Studio is important?

The company tells us it is bringing "fast, reliable, secure 5G to more consumers, businesses and first responders across key areas: sports, retail, education, travel, public sector, and small businesses."

Calling itself "America's Best Network", AT&T naturally points out that it has invested billions of dollars into building it.

Stating it was "first to bring mobile 5G service to the US in 2018", without mentioning the scandal that saw it showing a 5Ge symbol on US smartphones which was really 4G LTE-Advanced, AT&T nevertheless claims its "unmatched mix of 5G technology promises consumers and businesses of all sizes an exceptional experience – wherever they are", although major US 5G competitor Verizon would undoubtedly say something about that.

In any case, AT&T reminds us all that "5G is here, and we’ve only scratched the surface of its potential."

AT&T says it is "excited about the possibilities, but it’s important to remember it’s not just about speed - it’s about being transformational."

That’s why AT&T says it has launched its new 5G Innovation Studio, to "further drive widespread adoption of this revolutionary technology in a cost-effective way", and AT&T says it is "excited to have Ericsson and Nokia, studio sponsors, join us on this journey."

What’s the goal of the studio?

In this space, AT&T says it "work with customers and industry collaborators to ideate, test and validate new 5G-centric applications across a variety of industries."

Here's what else AT&T has to say:

"One of the biggest benefits of 5G will be the reduction of latency, the increase in bandwidth and the overall reliability of the network. The studio will harness these network enhancements to improve consumer and business experiences. This includes technologies such as on-premise edge compute (MEC) and edge compute at the network edge (ANE) that when combined with 5G will bring new experiences to life.

"We recently worked with Microsoft and the drone company EVA to deploy a test environment representative of our Microsoft Azure Edge Zone with AT&T. The environment, enabled by AT&T Network Edge, was equipped with cloud services including Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) to host EVA’s drone command control application.

"The low latency of 5G combined with Eva’s app deployed at the network edge on Azure enabled autonomous drone control beyond visual line of sight. This proof of concept, along with ease of network and cloud scalability, demonstrates how AT&T and Microsoft’s technologies will enable the future of drone delivery in metro areas.

"We’re also working to bring science fiction to reality - like holographic communication. We’re building on the success of our NBA holographic interviews during the 2020 playoffs with HoloVision and exploring new ways to enable immersive holographic experiences powered by AT&T 5G.

"Additionally, the promise of 5G allows for an unprecedented amount of customisation, giving us the opportunity to directly tune the network for very specific needs. This level of customisation makes the impossible not only possible, but also probable. At the same time, we’ll remain focused on ensuring that this perpetual innovation doesn’t take away from but enhances the outstanding performance users expect on the network.

"Examples might include cloud gaming with a network slice for consumers and our edge strategy to deliver our best performance for the gaming platform."

Ok, so what’s next?

"Although 5G provides a massive step forward in the progression of network technology, we, like the world, will not stand still. Technologies like Wi-Fi 6 and CBRS cellular solutions are developing at an exponential rate and we’ll continue to factor these and others in our explorations.

"Our studio’s focus will help demonstrate opportunities where broadband, 5G and these emerging technologies can be used together to enhance the customer experience.

We’re excited to open our doors and start another chapter of innovation at AT&T, and you can expect updates on progress throughout the year."

Initial Use Cases:

Drones:

"Using drones for deliveries has been on our radar for a while, and we’re testing how our network can support those applications. We recently worked with Microsoft and the drone company EVA to test how our 5G network and edge computing can be used for near real-time drone control while building the playbook needed to drive the adoption of drone traffic on our network.

"EVA has plans to put drone ports (airports for drones) in various markets to enable drone delivery and wanted to test autonomous drone control beyond visual line of sight using 5G."

Holograms:

"Imagine a future where remote grandparents can watch their grandchildren take their first steps in 3D. That may sound futuristic now, but we’re building on the success of our NBA holographic interviews during the playoffs with HoloVision to explore new ways to enable immersive holographic experiences powered by AT&T 5G.

"With Ericsson, we successfully delivered 3-D, immersive holographic communications without the extensive hardware this type of technology typically requires. We relied on sophisticated AI models, 5G, edge compute and a standard 5G smartphone to showcase the real possibility of mass consumer adoption in the future."


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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