Beyond Verizon’s launch of initial 5G use cases including its Fixed Wireless Access product, branded as 5G Home, and its Mobile Edge Computing (MEC), branded as 5G Edge, the company is also delivering new 5G use cases that apply to numerous consumer video applications. Specifically, Verizon is developing 5G use cases for video, in the areas of video conferencing, video streaming, livestreaming, and augmented reality & virtual reality, which can facilitate immersive experiences.

Video Conferencing: BlueJeans by Verizon – 5G Use Cases

In April 2020, Verizon took their first step into building a 5G-ready video conferencing business by purchasing BlueJeans Network. Specifically, BlueJeans is an enterprise-focused video conferencing business, which Verizon bought for ~$500m. For Verizon, BlueJeans will become increasingly relevant with 5G and Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) because businesses will need a significant amount of low-latency, high throughput connectivity, where video, transcoding, and video conferencing will be important.

Subsequently, in July 2020, Verizon and Bharti Airtel, an India-based wireless carrier, announced a strategic alliance to bring the BlueJeans video conferencing solutions to businesses in India. As part of this partnership, Bharti Airtel is offering enterprise-grade video conferencing solutions under the brand name, Airtel BlueJeans, to its enterprise customers in India. The offering includes a cloud point-of-presence (PoP) in India enabling low-latency and improved quality-of-service for India-based customers. Indeed, Airtel BlueJeans is fully integrated with Bharti Airtel’s network, including its data centers.

Verizon’s foresees the opportunity to expand from the BlueJeans hub into other areas of collaboration. Specifically, Verizon will focus on solving the needs of people working on a more distributed basis, to be part of the suite of productivity tools that are available to business.

For two reasons, 4K ultra-high-definition video streaming does not exist on today’s 4G/LTE mobility plans. Firstly, because very limited content exists. Secondly, because mainstream devices are not available yet, where 4K video can be observed with the naked eye.

However, with 5G, particularly, on high-band (millimeter wave spectrum) mobility customers will use Verizon’s 5G services more often, and more intensely in their home. Therefore, downlink streaming of ultra-high-definition video, including 4K and 8K, will be more prevalent on Verizon’s 5G network.

Additionally, in areas like transport hubs and terminals, Verizon’s high-band, 5G Ultra Wideband service will be particularly relevant for video use cases. Indeed, as people walk across a concourse in an airport, bus station or train station, they will be able to download massive amounts of data. As an example, a user could download 10 gigabytes of video data, so that they can consume 4K quality video, as they continue on their journey.

Currently, the consumer value proposition in 4G/LTE is essentially premised on downlink-only. Meaning that wireless carriers only allow users to download large amounts of content to their phones. Indeed, in 4G/LTE for uplink, users are only receiving speeds between 5 to 10 megabits per second. However, with 5G Ultra Wideband, on high-band spectrum, there will be a 10x or greater improvement in uplink, as compared to 4G/LTE.

Initially, 5G will offer uplink speeds of 100 megabits per second. Subsequently, enhancements in carrier aggregation, going from 4CC to 8CC, and the ability to use much broader spectrum bands will bring users 200 megabits per second uplink speeds. Ultimately, Verizon will be able to put more of its carriers on uplink, and therefore, can offer symmetrical, gigabit-for-gigabit, downlink and uplink services, for users that need it.

Verizon is deploying high-band (millimeter wave spectrum), of which it has 2,000+ MHz of nationwide capacity. Indeed, this spectrum provides the bandwidth to enable uncontended downlink and all the uplink capacity that a user needs. Furthermore, these downlink and uplink services are coupled with very low latency.

Verizon’s analogy for 5G’s uplink capability in the wireless industry, is that users will now have two super-highways, not just one, which was the case in 4G/LTE.

Currently, one of the least used functionalities of social media, specifically in terms of user-generated content, is uplink for livestreaming. In a 4G/LTE environment there is not enough bandwidth to support high-quality uplink. Drastic improvements in uplink will facilitate a number of different use cases for video with 5G:

Concerts – Livestreaming

Users will no longer upload a photo that was taken 5 minutes ago. Instead, it becomes about livestreaming the entire concert over 4K ultra-high-definition video, using a robust uplink connection. Indeed, social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok will particularly benefit from 5G’s enhanced uplink. In turn, these companies will drive new users on to their platforms.

Stadiums – Livestreaming

4G/LTE has significant limitations for capacity inside stadiums. Indeed, 4G/LTE currently struggles with uplink, particularly when fans are sharing videos over social media. However, with Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband, on millimeter wave spectrum, these type of video use cases are enabled.

Video Conferencing – Livestreaming

Two-way video conversation has become commonplace. Indeed, video conferencing relies on uplink and downlink as critical components.

Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality: Immersive Experiences – 5G Use Cases

Verizon’s high-band, 5G Ultra Wideband service, can offer the latency reduction necessary to allow augmented reality & virtual reality use cases to flourish. This is because, 5G reduces lag times in signals that cause a literally dizzying experience for people using augmented reality & virtual reality with too much lag. Indeed, Verizon foresees numerous 5G use cases for augmented reality & virtual reality in sports stadiums, guided tours, and education.

Sports Stadiums – Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality

Stadiums, with their incredible atmosphere, are often the best places to watch live sporting events. However, in many other respects, stadiums are the worst place for watching sports. This is because viewers from home or on social media have much more information and insight. For example, viewers from home, have a better perspective on whether a certain play was a foul, offside, goal or touchdown. Because of this, fans inside the stadium, often rely on social media for more information on the actual game that they are watching live.

With 5G, in-stadium immersive experiences become possible. At the same time, in-stadium experiences still keep all of the atmosphere that a stadium offers. For example, a virtual screen will exist in front of the spectator where they can have a 360-degree experience. In turn, they will benefit from all 20 different camera angles within the stadium. Indeed, at the same time, the spectator will be physically in the stadium to experience the energy of the building. Overall, 5G on high-band (millimeter wave) spectrum and its tremendous uplink capability enables these immersive sporting experiences.

Guided Tours – Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality

Tourism will benefit from the ability of tour providers to add augmented reality & virtual reality to their offering. Specifically, augmented reality & virtual reality will be used in presentations of historical museums, monuments, buildings, and battlefields.

For example, a battlefield tour, could use augmented reality & virtual reality to visually display relevant aspects of American history when visitors are walking through a particular area on the battlefield. Indeed, the bandwidth and latency needs for these type of immersive experiences cannot be delivered by current 4G/LTE networks. Therefore, in order to facilitate this augmented reality & virtual reality, a high-band 5G network, like Verizon’s, is needed.

Additionally, the head-mounted display (HMD) used for augmented reality & virtual reality experience needs to be in an easy-to-wear form factor. As opposed to the traditional virtual reality goggles, which are bulky. With Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) and a 5G network, a lot of the power, storage and compute capabilities of the head-mounted display can be offloaded to the edge of the network. In turn, this allows for smaller head-mounted display form factors in the future.

Education – Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality

In the education space, Verizon partnered with a company called Bookful. Specifically, Bookful has a virtual library with hundreds of educational children’s books and games, in 3D and augmented reality form. Indeed, augmented reality encourages children to learn through more interactive means. Specifically, Bookful’s interactive 3D and augmented reality animations transform reading by bringing the plot and characters to life. In turn, this allows readers to gain a better understanding of the book’s content.

Bookful owns the largest augmented reality library of children’s stories. Particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bookful has become a powerful resource for teachers and families working from home. Indeed, Bookful is helping these teachers and families to educate children on a remote basis.

Summary – Verizon 5G Use Cases for Video

Overall, Verizon is delivering new 5G use cases that apply to a diverse set of video applications. Indeed, video conferencing, video streaming, livestreaming, and augmented reality & virtual reality, will become more prevalent as Verizon continues to deploy its high-band, 5G Ultra Wideband service, in more cities across the United States.

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