Imagine being able to step into a virtual world from anywhere, using any device. No bulky VR headset, no expensive equipment - just pure, immersive virtual reality at your fingertips. That's the promise of Cloud XR, a cutting-edge technology that's revolutionizing the way we think about VR. With the power of the cloud and the speed of 5G networks, the future of virtual reality has never looked brighter
Traditional VR often requires powerful computers and other high-performance devices to provide a good user experience. But what if there was a way to work with VR content from any device and anywhere? This is what Cloud VR - also called virtual reality cloud - promises to VR users. With the arrival of 5G and other network offers, this future for virtual reality technology might be sooner than we thought.
But what exactly is Cloud VR, and how will it help industries with their business? This article gives you heads up about the future of virtual reality and cloud technologies, and how it will differ from the immersive virtual reality we can currently experience.
What is Virtual Reality Cloud (VR cloud)?
Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulated environment, where one or several viewers can interact with virtual objects and virtual worlds. It is generally used with a head-mounted display, or projection-based associated with VR goggles. Using virtual reality devices in a professional setting enables you to experience the same virtual environment with your coworkers and collaborate remotely on complex VR projects.
Cloud VR/AR combines cloud computing and interactive quality networking to provide high-quality experiences to those who were previously priced out of immersive technologies. It means that parts of the computation tasks can be executed remotely on powerful hardware. Virtual and augmented reality Cloud uses shared computational resources found in cloud-based services and low-latency, high-capacity 5G mobile networks to provide interactive connectivity. Concretely, what is involved is an operator of Cloud infrastructure, such as AWS or Azure, telcos to transfer the data and a communication protocol such as NVIDIA’s Cloud XR. The overall goal of VR cloud computing is to lower the costs of the fully immersive experience by removing the requirements of local high-end hardware.
Cloud VR vs traditional VR
Current VR uses for industries rely on high-end PC, powerful hardware, and devices (for example for motion-tracking; body tracking or hand tracking) that can get pretty heavy over time. Plus, for engineering use cases, most all-in-one VR headsets are not enough extended wireless use (like Oculus Quest, HTC VIVE Focus, Pico Goblin or Pico Neo…), and will need to be tethered to a PC.
The adoption of VR technology remains hindered by 3 main factors:
- Hardware cost: the need for a virtual reality headset, VR-ready computer and other devices depending on your use case limits the users to those with powerful and expensive computing platforms
- Resolution and visual quality: for now, VR content still lacks the resolution we have with other display technologies, because it requires a lot of computing power.
- Mobility’s impact on usability: VR headsets for engineering use are usually tethered to the computer, which impacts the liberty of movement of the user.
VR cloudification changes everything as it relocates the need for powerful hardware, data storage and image processing requirements. When vr cloud computing will spread on the market (as soon as 5G is available), terminals will be cable free and easy to access from many places and devices (including smartphone and tablets). All you will need is a powerful-enough 5G to implement an online-user interactive virtual reality experience.
A cloud solution will execute the VR software directly on cloud servers, and stream only the necessary resources to the end users. Which will allow virtual reality headsets to be much thinner and cheaper. Besides, the content’s resolution will be optimized before streaming to the end user, making the VR experience much more qualitative and enjoyable.
5 Benefits of Cloud VR for professionals
Traditional VR setups require expensive hardware, which can be a significant investment for many professionals. With Cloud VR, users can access high-quality VR experiences without the need for expensive hardware. Only the master PC will need to be VR-Ready, which means you won’t have to change the equipment of all your teams.
loud VR makes VR experiences more accessible to professionals who may not have access to high-end VR hardware – as you only need one VR-ready workstation for your entire team. The participants to the VR meeting only require a stable internet connection and a compatible device, making it accessible to professionals who are working remotely or on the go.
As businesses grow, so do their needs for VR technology. Cloud VR makes it easy to scale up VR experiences without the need for additional hardware investments. As a result, businesses can easily adapt to changing demands and growth without having to worry about upgrading their hardware.
4. High-quality VR experience
Despite not requiring as many high-end workstations as traditional VR, Cloud VR can provide high-quality VR experiences. This is because the processing and rendering of the VR experience are done on powerful servers in the cloud. As a result, the user can experience high-quality VR even with their standard device.
5. Remote collaborative platform
Cloud VR facilitates collaborative work between professionals, regardless of their location. With Cloud VR, users can interact with the same VR experience in real-time, allowing for more efficient collaboration.
Be mindful about VR cloud and latency
Until recently, the bottleneck to adoption of cloud XR was the latency. Indeed, the quality of cloud VR experience hinges heavily on the network’s ability to produce, transmit and render the interaction of several people on the 3D models with an almost imperceptible time gate. With the deployment of 5G and multiplication of server farms, a smooth cloud virtual reality experience with adequate latency is within reach at most locations worldwide.
Cloud VR helps your company deliver virtual reality to their coworkers without a significant investment. However, one underlying issue with low equipment investments is latency. Not all hardware can offer a VR experience with 90 frames per second, and equipping your master PC with low latency mice, keyboards, and monitors might affect your immersive experience. When fps are low, it can cause VR sickness, a condition that leaves users feeling nauseous and disoriented.
Virtual reality, cloud computing, and network requirements
Cloud VR requires a combination of cloud infrastructure and network resources to function properly. You will need to connect your coworkers to powerful cloud servers that will provide the computation power to run the VR software and process your 3D data. It also means your company requires a fast and stable internet network (ideally with 5G or other high-speed technologies) to ensure that the VR experience is delivered with minimal latency.
Business opportunities provided by virtual reality cloud
As the AR/VR market builds toward an omnipresent compute environment (via 5G and cloud AR/VR), there are many business opportunities industries should be preparing for.
1 - Sharing the design of a future product or facility
When you work in a global company, or a company with several regional offices, it can be tough to be fully coordinated, especially when it comes to design a product. Regional offices often have more contact with the end customers, and it makes sense to include them in the product conception process. On the other hand, when trying to set up or reorganize a facility, being able to visualize the future building in its environment at every stage of the project is definitely a key advantage.
Both these use cases rely on VR simulation and sharing design steps between headquarters and (future) regional offices. With Cloud VR, you can discuss and enhance a virtual prototype or a facility design at 1:1 scale, while sharing the same virtual world with coworkers in another location, or even in another country.
2 - Visualizing VR projects and participating in design reviews
A virtual workstation is a client device (i.e. an office computer) connected to virtual machines (VM) that hosts desktops and applications. With VR cloud computing, all the data and stereoscopic 3d visualization software are located and stored on a remote VR collaboration platform located on the Cloud. As all the engineers will be able to share and interact with the CAD models in VR, and make effective project reviews, only by connecting their computer to the cloud.
Shifting to the cloud holds many advantages for engineering teams, especially in terms of computing power and increased storage space.
3 - Reviewing integration of supplied module in whole product
Mostly for large-scale products, or for buildings, not all the parts that constitute the final product is engineered and produced by the same company. As the product evolves and the different parts are assembled, it becomes increasingly important to keep track of the integration of the different modules. Since not all the subcontractors are using the same CAD application to create their 3D models, or are equal in terms of hardware, having everything virtualized on a cloud-based platform will make the review of integration of the supplied model much easier. Suppliers and customers will be able to collaborate better, without needing all the participants to the VR collaboration session to have high-end VR devices nor specialized CAD software.
All in all, VR cloud computing is perfect for VR collaboration
Whether it is for sharing a design between distant offices, or running a design review (for a large-scale project or not), everything revolves around VR collaboration. Virtual reality boosts your collaboration around complex projects:
- You organize VR meetings in the 3D environment that suit your project
- You share and work on the same CAD model at scale 1:1 an in real time
- You same time and resources before your prototypes hits production
Now, imagine that you can enjoy all these advantages anytime, anywhere, with your regular computer (or any other device like a tablet or a smartphone). This is what VR cloud computing is aiming at, and what we are currently developing at TechViz with our latest feature: Cloud&Viz.
Industries that could benefit from a Cloud VR Solution
There are many sectors that could benefit from a VR cloud solution:
- Manufacturing: improve product design, prototyping, and assembly by providing a collaborative and completely immersive environment for engineers and designers.
- Architecture and construction: provide virtual walkthrough of buildings and help architects and designers visualize and collaborate on projects.
- Healthcare: provide realistic simulations of medical procedures and enable remote training and collaboration among medical professionals.
- Education and training: provide a safe and cost-effective way for trainees and professionals to engage in hands-on training and simulations.
Cloud VR/AR has also found applications in the consumer domain, such as in gaming, education, and virtual tourism.
In each case, a Cloud VR solution could provide a more efficient, cost-effective, and immersive experience than traditional methods, leading to increased customer engagement, better training outcomes, and improved business results.
Choosing the Right Cloud VR Solution
Here are some key factors that professionals should consider when choosing the right Cloud VR service:
1. Data security
Your provider must have robust security measures to protect your 3D CAD models. For instance, with TechViz software, only the positional data is sent to the other participants of the VR meeting. The CAD model is never uploaded or downloaded, which keeps your data safe.
Because you will need a master PC with the right requirements to visualize large-scale 3D models in VR at 1:1 scale, you should ensure that the hardware and software suggested by your provider is coherent with your processing power and network bandwidth. Overall, the solution must be able to support high-quality VR experiences without latency.
The XR solution must be compatible with your existing software and hardware. This includes VR headsets, immersive rooms, powerwalls and software applications like Catia, Revit, Navisworks…
4. Bespoke adaptation
Is the XR solution tailored to your specific use case or need? Hardware and software compatibility is one thing. But what if you need advanced features like a tracking system or 3D collisions? What if you need to use different CAD applications in the same VR environment? Customization of the solution is a very important point to take into account when choosing your XR solution.
What is the level of support available with your VR cloud solution? This includes technical support, installation services, virtual reality training for using the VR tools, and resources to develop tailored interactive functionalities.
Try Cloud VR with Cloud&Viz
Cloud&Viz is TechViz VR cloud platform that enables instant streaming of your CAD content. TechViz is a virtual reality software for engineering and design, compatible with 200+ CAD applications (like CATIA, PTC Creo, Autodesk Navisworks…). You can run TechViz using various head mounted displays, or a CAVE. IT also combines very well with body tracking suits and finger tracking devices.
Cloud&Viz is TechViz’s next step towards the future of professional VR. With it, you can experience an interactive VR platform that immediately streams your VR content. The people sharing the virtual experience with you don’t need a CAD software or high-end computing power. They can interact with the virtual objects wearing any wireless VR heaset (like Oculus Rift and Quest, HTC Vive…) or even a smartphone!
Cloud&Viz enables your teams to get faster and more productive. You only need the host to open the 3D model in your native CAD application and then run TechViz VR software. The model is never uploaded or downloaded on any machine, just streamed, which keeps your CAD model in VR confidential at all times.
Cloud VR offers a cost-effective and accessible solution for engineers who want to take advantage of VR technology without the need for high-end hardware. By using Cloud VR, engineers can access high-quality VR experiences, regardless of their location or hardware. As the engineering industry continues to evolve, Cloud VR is poised to become an essential tool for engineers looking to improve their workflows and streamline their processes.
Other articles about VR that might interest you
Want to know more about professional VR? Check-out our other articles about the evolution of virtual and augmented reality, and how it could benefit your business: