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XR and the Metaverse: how to achieve interoperability, wow factor and mass adoption – By Guido Meardi, Laurent Scallie and Tristan Salome

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This blog in a nutshell

In this blog post we went for depth. After all, if it’s too much you can just stop reading or skim-read it.
In the full text you will find the following:

  • What are the Metaverse and XR, beyond the hype.
  • Why it is happening now, as opposed to ten years ago or five years from now.
  • How much money it is already moving, let alone future projections.
  • The three key user requirements for mass-market adoption: lighter devices, interoperability, no compromise on quality.
  • Moore’s Law and Koomey’s Law cannot bridge the graphics processing power gap of XR devices vs. gaming hardware. Consequently, high-quality interoperable XR applications will need to operate via split computing and ultra-low-latency video casting, with large-scale delivery supported by hybrid rendering and Content Rendering Networks (CRNs, the metaverse evolution of Content Delivery Networks).
  • The data compression challenges of delivering volumetric objects to rendering devices and then casting high-quality ultra-low-latency video to XR displays will require low-complexity multi-layer data coding methods, which can make efficient use of available resources and are particularly well-suited to 3D rendering engines.
  • Two recently standardized low-complexity multi-layer codecs – MPEG-5 LCEVC and SMPTE VC-6 – have what it takes to enable high-quality Metaverse/XR applications within realistic constraints. LCEVC enhances any video codec (e.g., h.264, HEVC, AV1, VVC) to enable ultra-low-latency delivery high-quality XR video (or even video + depth) within strict wireless constraints (<30 Mbps), while also reducing latency jitter thanks to the possibility to drop top-layer packets on the fly in case of sudden drops of network bandwidth. When applied to HEVC-based or VVC-based MPEG Immersive Video (MIV), LCEVC similarly enables higher qualities with lower overall processing load. For non-video volumetric data sets, application of the VC-6 toolkit to point cloud compression enabled mass distribution of photorealistic 6DoF volumetric video at never-seen-before qualities, with excellent feedback from both end users and Hollywood Studios.
  • Since XR rendering and video casting are by definition 1:1 operations, power usage will grow linearly with users, differently from broadcasting and video streaming. Sustainability and energy consumption are going to be important considerations, adding one more brick in building the case for CRNs supported by low-complexity multi-layered coding.
  • Many Big Tech companies are investing tens of billions of dollars (each) to suitably position themselves within the Metaverse Gold Rush. As we have seen with the Web, whilst some titans aptly surf the new tidal wave, others will falter, and new ones may grow. The ability to suitably tackle the data volume challenges, promptly leveraging on the approaches and standards that are available, will be one of the key factors driving the speed with which the XR meta-universe is brought to the masses, as well as which tech titans will end up on top of the hill.

Read the full blog here