Ever try one of those NASCAR driving simulators found at some shopping malls or other places? They're shockingly immersive, and deliver a downright credible experience of driving a real top-end stock car. At least, the last one I tried did. A group of tech companies well-known in the next generation communications field—Nokia (News - Alert), Qualcomm, and Alphabet's Access Group—are bringing efforts together to put on a new 360-degree virtual reality (VR) demo of driving a stock car that may be even more impressive.
The trio's efforts take next generation communications technology to create what amounts to a virtual reality zone inside a stock car operating at the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The demonstration allowed users to experience being inside a car going 180 miles per hour, and showed off how the combination of such next generation communications technologies as the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum and 360 degree video systems could work together to provide some amazing experiences.
Perhaps more importantly, the trio demonstrated how businesses could use a private LTE (News - Alert) network to create new experiences to draw potentially paying customers into said businesses. With the new CBRS band—one that doesn't require auction costs to put to work—businesses can not only bring out something that performs like LTE, but doesn't have near the complexity of deployment that similar next generation communications options do.
Nokia's head of strategy and business development for North America, Chris Stark, noted, “We want this trial to act as a catalyst for carriers and enterprises to start thinking about leveraging this band for new applications. Beyond the high speeds and amazing views this demo provides, the real opportunity is in the life-changing applications that will benefit from the 3.5GHz U.S. CBRS spectrum and transform users' experience.”
While there's no doubt that the demonstration is clever, and may well prove useful in driving new experiences for everything from libraries to museums and well beyond, there's still some concern here. An effective demonstration for CBRS capability now exists, but given that CBRS was set up back during the Wheeler administration of the Federal Communications Commission, the entire concept could be at risk now that Ajit Pai is the new chairman. Nokia, Qualcomm (News - Alert), and Alphabet's big demonstration, therefore, may not be all that useful once Pai gets started up to the fullest.
In the end, there's little doubt that this trio has made an impressive demonstration product. Whether or not it can go into wide release may well depend on the vagaries of government.
Edited by Alicia Young