We’ve had a lot of people from a lot of different industries on XR for Business, and many of them have espoused how much things are going to change when the world finally has a global 5G network to work on. Well, in today’s episode, we have one of the folks responsible for laying the groundwork for that network — Nokia’s Sandro Tavares — on to talk about how that’s coming along.
Alan: Thank you for joining the XR for Business Podcast with your host, Alan Smithson. Today’s guest is Sandro Tavares, and Sandro is with Nokia. He has more than 20 years of international experience in the telecoms industry, with the past 18 working with the Nokia family of companies. He’s had several key roles that have been integral in shaping the latest evolution steps in the mobile industry and communicating these advances to Nokia service provider customers around the world. He is currently the Head of Mobile Networks Marketing, a position in which he leads a global team focused on promoting Nokia solutions for mobile networks, including 5G. To learn more about the great work that Sandro and his team at Nokia are doing, you can visit nokia.com and if you want to dig even deeper, you can just type in “Nokia 5G” into Google.
Sandro, welcome to the show.
Sandro: Thank you very much, Alan. Thanks for having me.
Alan: It’s my absolute pleasure. I’m super excited about this. We’ve had people from telcos, people from industry. We’ve had all sorts of great people on the show. But we’ve never had somebody from a company that is building the literal infrastructure that all of XR will run on. And that’s 5G.
Sandro: Yeah, that’s great to hear. Really an honor to be here and to be the first one discussing this topic with you guys.
Alan: So tell us, what are you guys doing at Nokia? Why will this impact XR?
Sandro: Well, I would say that probably a lot of the listeners, they know Nokia for the devices, right? From the cell phones in the past and the early stages of the smartphones. But Nokia has actual history that goes much beyond that. It’s a company that was founded 150 years ago. It started as a paper mill in the countryside of Finland. It has evolved through several different industries. And in the last decades, it has been focused on technology. So our two biggest businesses in the past were the handset business, so the devices, the cell phones as we know them, and then the networks that actually support these devices. So the networks that are provided to service providers, operators all over the world. Then after Nokia has divested these devices business few years ago, then we focused 100 percent on our networks business. And this is what we are doing now. We build basically all generations of telecommunications in the past, and now we are heavily focused on making 5G a reality. And that’s where basically what takes my time throughout most of the days, just talking to customers and discussing about the benefits that 5G will bring to the world, that just goes much beyond just providing broadband. And looking to the applications that can be built with 5G, quite a lot of them are actually going to be enabled by XR technologies. So you can think about a myriad of applications where XR, AR, and VR are going to be important and that are going to be leveraging 5G to actually get brought to the market and delivered to customers.
Alan: Obviously I’m a little biased, being the XR for Business Podcast. Let’s dive into some of those use cases. Let’s take a broad. I was told real millimeter-wave 5G in its perfect condition will be able to be 100 to 1000 times faster than what we’re using currently. And to put that in perspective, somebody said you’ll be able to download the entire Game of Thrones, not an episode, but all the seasons in a few minutes.
Sandro: That’s absolutely correct. So if we talk about data speed, you would say that an average connection on a 4G network — nowadays, of course, that depends on the country and where you are — but it’s usually on the tens of megabits per second. So something around 30, 40 if you’re in a pretty good network. Our aim with 5G is to get to an overall throughput first sight of about 10 gigabits per second. And even on the initial deployments that we’re seeing right now that they’re not using — let’s say 5G — to its full capacity, you’re already seeing speeds that go beyond 1 gigabit per second. So it’s really a fundamental shift in terms of download speeds, which is very important for XR applications, though.
Alan: 4G, we’re looking at, let’s say, 10 to 50 megabits per second. And for 5G, you’re talking 1 to 10 gigabits.
Sandro: Yeah, if you’re talking about millimeter wave implementations, yes.
Alan: That’s a thousand times increase.
Alan: Or, well, hundred to a thousand times.
Sandro: A hundred to a thousand times. Yes.
Alan: Holy crap. So when is 6G coming? I heard Trump talking about 6G.
Sandro: [laughs] Well, that’s going to take a while, right? So we’re basically starting the implementation of 5G. We’re not even scratching the surface of the possibilities we’re gonna have with 5G. 6G, I’m not gonna say does not exist, but it’s still in the very early stages of standard definition, even discussions of what 6G would be. And we still have quite a lot of years ahead of us. And still quite a lot of value to develop on top of 5G, before we should even start thinking about 6G.
Alan: It’s funny, I was totally kidding about–
Sandro: I know, I know.
Alan: But you guys are already– If you look at the world we’re in, it’s very hard for most companies to look out[wards]. Most companies are in a quarter-to-quarter fight for quarterly earnings. Telcos are in a different position. Telcos and obviously infrastructure companies like Nokia, where you’re building the infrastructure, you have to have a 10- to 15-year roadmap in order to prepare for this. How long is 5G been in the works, then?
Sandro: Well, for quite a long, long time. So I would say that at least– so when you’re talking about really definition of standards and getting deep specifications, detailed specifications done, we can easily talk about like five years, even more than that. The initial steps to 5G, they were being discussed when we were still kind of implementing 4G, or even beginning to implement 4G. And that’s why when I say that 6G is in works, it is in very early stages. So it is a market that has these long cycles. So that is definitely important. It doesn’t mean that, of course, we’re not also fighting our daily or quarterly battles, but we need to have a long term view of our business and of our technology evolution.
Alan: Okay. So let’s dive into, let’s just take 5G and say, “OK, what are the benefits?” You’ve got data speed is one of them.
Alan: That’s like, no problem. That’s a no brainer. Now, there’s other features of 5G that make it a unique technology to power XR. What are some of those other features?
Sandro: Absolutely. So I would say that one of the most important ones — if not the most important one — is actually related to latency. When we move to a 5G network, there are some fundamental changes on the overall architecture of the mobile network, that allow us to reduce significantly the latency of the connections as well. So if you take like a traditional 4G connection right now, you may be talking about latency in a real live network about 30 to 40 milliseconds, which is already pretty good. On 5G, the aim — for some specific applications — is to get to around one millisecond, not for all applications, but we need to be able in 5G to provide around one millisecond for some of the applications that require that. And even right now–
Alan: Listen, AR is going to be one of those applications.
Alan: If you have anything more than a five-millisecond delay, you’re going to a bunch of people with glasses vomiting in the streets.
Sandro: Exactly. Exactly. This is one of the first points we made when we started talking about 5G to our customers. A few years ago was about these reflexes, vestibular ocular reflex or something like that, that basically means that if you’re not on a low latency level, that you’re required to stream and interact with AR and VR content, especially VR, then yeah, you may get people actually feeling sick. So this is really important.
Alan: Funny you say that, I was on a webinar last week with Kay Stanney of Design Interactive talking about cybersickness and the causes and cures of cybersickness, and latency is one of them. You know what another one is? The inter-pupillary distance — the IPD adjustment — of the headsets. That’s why we see an increase in motion sickness in VR with women, it’s because the headsets are actually designed with too wide an IPD for women.
Sandro: That’s interesting. I haven’t heard about this one, but yeah, it makes a lot of sense. Yeah.
Alan: Yeah. Your eyes are diverging, trying to look outward rather than inward. Then you get this kind of headache and you get this nausea. So I know it.
Alan: We’ve got data speeds, then we’ve got latency. So data speeds are 10 to 100 times faster.
Alan: Latency is 10 times faster.
Sandro: Yeah, at least. Yeah. At least 10 times faster even. I mean of course you have — and we can even get a little bit deeper into that — but depending on the type of implementation that you use for 5G, you’re gonna get different levels of latency. But yeah, at most for applications that require that, we’re looking into this kind of single milliseconds, around a design target of one millisecond. And a third aspect that I would mention is around the concept of network slicing. That in placing to actually this point that I made about applications that require low latency, applications that require specific characteristics. So if you’re looking to a mobile network right now and basically all kinds of networks, you’re talking about resources that are being shared. Let’s say if you are under the coverage of a 4G site, you’re using a VR application in any capacity. Your neighbor is watching Netflix and your other neighbor is, I don’t know, playing online, gaming online. You’re all sharing the same resources. And basically, if there is congestion, everybody gets affected. With a concept of network slicing, you can actually create or dedicate parts of the network to a specific customer or to a specific service, meaning that for a service that requires ultra-low latency — let’s say a hypothetical VR streaming service — the network would dedicate resources to this service, to make sure that it works according to specifications, which means I need to be providing ultra-low latency, I need to be providing very high data rates. For example, for another application that is basically, well, let’s say basic broadband to check e-mails and so on. Well, you don’t need low latency. You don’t need that much speed. So I can dedicate specific resources for that. And most important, let’s say that you have a mission-critical VR application and someone else close to you decides to watch a Netflix video in 8K and starts stressing the network. You are not going to feel that because your network resources, they are reserved, they are dedicated to you. So the only people that are going to be affected by someone watching an 8K video, if that gets too congested network are the guys that are using the same network slice. So people may say, well, is this a VPN? No, it’s more than a VPN, because it actually works across the entire network and it works dynamically. And it is created based on the nature of the service, while–
Alan: Let me ask you a question. I make sure that my phone has priority. Is this going to be like a premium service?
Sandro: It can be a premium service. Actually it can be part of even a full service that a service provider or a partner of the service provider is offering. So let’s say this is going to have a lot of applications, for example, in enterprise cases. Let’s say that you’re talking about the training solution that utilizes VR or AR to train sales troops that are on the field, or even to train service or support troops that are on the field remotely. So the company that is providing this training is going to close a deal with the service provider, to dedicate a slice of the network for that service. And then they are going to be using that and making sure that these resources are available. Let’s say that while a hypothetical streaming service for VR content gets online and then you can buy a package for this VR service through your service provider, that includes that when you are using data application that your connection goes to this specific network slice. So you get like a guaranteed quality, guaranteed service that you need for that specific application. So, yes, it is a kind of a premium service and it can be part of, let’s say, a higher added value offer that a service provider can put together. So not only just serving connectivity, but actually providing a full service together with partners or even by themselves.
Alan: So we’ve got data speeds, latency, network slicing, which is really awesome. And then the last one, I think is going to be bandwidth.
Alan: You want to walk us through bandwidth?
Sandro: Oh yeah, absolutely. So it goes pretty much together with the data speeds. So basically when you’re talking about 5G, one of the differences of approach compared to 4G is actually that we’re stepping into frequencies, transmission frequencies that we were not operating with before for the mobile service up to now. So if you get to the LTE networks that are deployed, so the 4G networks that are deployed, you go all the way to the range that we call centimeter wave, which can go up to 2.5, 3.5 gigahertz, which provides you quite a lot of spectrum for you to build your network and then transmit data fast. With 5G, we are moving further into the spectrum and we’re stepping to the domain that we call millimeter wave, which is frequencies that get to like 28 gigahertz, 35 gigahertz and so on. So very high on the spectrum, which means that as higher-end, the higher you get on the spectrum, the more bandwidth you have available for you to deploy your networks. And that allows us to provide better speeds. And also we have better data overall traffic capacity. That is one of the new things. Of course, it is a kind of a tradeoff. The higher you go on the spectrum, the shorter distance the signal can travel. So when you go to really millimeter wave deployments, which you can see — for example, in US — some of the deployments, you can say — for example, AT&T, Verizon — the operating millimeter wave, you get a lot of capacity, but you do not get that wide coverage that you’re used to seeing in LTE. There’s ways to fix that by deploying more base stations, by complementing your coverage with spectrum on centimeter wave and even low band. But the fact is that while operating on these millimeter-wave bands, you’ve got to be very mindful about how you’re going to build your coverage and how you’re going to make sure that your customers do get the performance that they need. But it is definitely a very important aspect that we are covering with these new 5G deployments.
Alan: Let’s talk more about the actual practical applications of this technology. So what will this allow content creators to do in VR and AR?
Sandro: Absolutely. So when you talk about like VR and AR so far, I mean, the networks that were available, they are, I would say, somewhat limited, when you’re talking about real-time applications of AR and VR. Of course you can stream to some extent, not a problem, especially for VR content that is already produced. When you’re talking about building interaction and transmitting a real-time application based on VR and AR, that’s where we start to hit the limitations of the network, not only in terms of latency that impact really how we feel when we are using the technology, but also about the bandwidth and the throughput of the network. So with 5G, we’re going to really be able to take the next step and implement VR into real-time applications, be it VR conferences– actually, when we were launching the network with Sprint here in the US, one of the use cases that we have shown to the folks that were attending the launch was actually a real-time virtual reality call with one of my team members that was in another site close to where we were having the event. So you could actually talk to this guy that was at the Venice Beach Pier, while we were in a hotel in Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles. And you could see that it actually felt as if you were seeing this guy right in front of you.
Another possibility is around, of course, gaming. We see in — probably all of you guys have heard about these — the gaming industry right now is growing tremendously. It is already a business that is significantly bigger than movies and music, which is something that probably a few years ago it was unthinkable of. And still, there is quite a lot of demand on the market that is not served due to basically adoption barriers that exist. So not everybody can invest in a gaming console or on a professional computer to play games. And with that, the concept of playing– hosting games on the cloud has been growing quite a lot. So that basically breaks the adoption barriers and allows pretty much everybody or anyone that wants to play a game to just hire a service and pay a smaller amount and have access to computers and graphic capacities that is hosted on the clouds and play whatever game they want. Needless to say, to be able to make that work, knowing how demanding these applications are, you need to have a network that is able to deliver on the transfer capacity and on the latency that would be required for these games to work. And then 5G is really the answer for that. And it goes even further in terms of capacity requirements if you’re talking about VR games. So just to kind of finish my point. So when we were in the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, earlier this year, which is like the biggest event for our telecommunications industry. We were showing together with Sony and Intel a VR game using the content of the new Spider-Man movie that just went out a few months ago, where then we would have people playing — using a VR headset — against another person that would be in another booth — in this case, in the Intel booth — and they would compete being different Spider-Men in the city there, who would actually complete the tasks faster? So that was a pretty cool application of showing, first of all, VR gaming live for basically whoever was visiting our booth there and showing how actually 5G was enabling this experience between two different players that were in different locations, even though at the same fair.
Alan: Was there a distinct advantage with 5G, versus not?
Sandro: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. So without 5G, we simply couldn’t make it work. And we have another case that we show in these events, which is a game of ping pong. So a virtual ping pong. So you have basically the two players, they are wearing VR headsets and then they start in 4G, and then they see that they are unable to hit the ball because of the latency. So when they see the ball coming, it actually already went and they’re not really able to play. Then you move them to 5G, and they can actually play ping pong as if they were actually using a real ping pong table and real ping pong rackets. That shows the impact of latency very, very clearly. And quite a lot of the demos that we’ve put together to show the impact of 5G, they do take advantage of VR and AR, because these are actually domains where we can clearly see the impact of low latency communications and high throughput communications in action.
Alan: That’s incredible. So what’s the roadmap for rolling this out for everybody? Because we’re talking about it in very controlled environments,.
Alan: Gaming arena and maybe a hospital suite, but these are controlled environments. When can we expect pervasive 5G, where I’ve got my phone and my phone is screaming fast everywhere I go?
Sandro: As I mentioned, we’re in the very early stages of 5G deployments, which actually happen faster than initially thought by the industry. So back in 2017, we were saying 5G would be around by the end of 2020, beginning of 2021. And in reality we had the first networks getting commercial in the beginning of 2019. That said, we’re still really scratching the surface. So out of the four major operators here in the US, for example, they all launched 5G, but most of them are just taking a hotspot approach, because they’re operating in millimeter-wave. They’re still kind of deploying their network and building coverage and so on. So if you get a phone right now, you’re gonna have a great service, but not everywhere on 5G. In some areas you’re going to be in 4G, you’re still going to get great service, but that’s 4G. We do expect these to evolve pretty fast throughout the rest of this year and 2020 here in the US. So potentially by the end of 2020, you’re already going to have pretty wide coverage of 5G in the biggest cities of the country. In other parts of the world, you have countries, for example, like South Korea, where you are already reaching quite a lot of subscribers with 5G. So they reached the threshold of their first million subscribers just a few weeks after the initial launch. And now they’re already counting — if I’m not mistaken — more than 3 million subscribers on 5G in the country.
Alan: So does that mean they’ve sold 3 million 5G devices as well?
Sandro: They had early access to like one device from one provider. Now there are way more on the market. But yes, this is a market that has the most number of subscribers on 5G right now.
Alan: Sandro, do you have a 5G device?
Sandro: Not yet.
Alan: [laughs] We’ve got to get one.
Sandro: Yeah! Well, to be frank, I just ordered one on Friday.
Alan: Oh, cool! Which one?
Sandro: I got a Xiaomi. And a Samsung. I actually got two, for testing purposes and so on. But like there are, for example, if you go here in the US, you have options also with LG, with OnePlus, that they’re also pretty good as well. So yeah, I’m in. Luckily, in my role, I get to test quite a lot of them. So I’ve used a few test phones, but then I got these two now to do some additional tests in the US and, well, another thing that is worth mentioning is that of course quite a lot of people in the market, they’re still waiting for the iPhone to support 5G and well, we’ll know when that happens. It was not with the 11 that just came out, but let’s see for the next iteration if you’re going to be supporting 5G as well.
Alan: It’s interesting that Apple is taking a longer approach to bring their 5G device to market. Do you know why that is, or is there a reason, rationale beyond that?
Sandro: It’s hard for me to comment on their strategy. But if you’re looking to the devices that are currently available, they have way less options of frequency bands than you usually have on a device. You’ve got a 4G phone now, it’s going to support those zones of different frequencies. So you can basically use it wherever in the world. The 5G devices are getting to the market right now. They’re going to support just a handful of 5G frequencies. This basically could be due to the maturity of the chipsets. That may be one reason that they want to have like, let’s say a wider approach and not carry too many different SKUs, which means that it may be better for them to wait a little bit more. But I mean, I can’t really comment on their plans.
Alan: Yeah, but it’s coming for sure.
Sandro: Oh yeah.
Alan: For sure.
Alan: OK. So let’s move the conversation to more XR specific.
Alan: You mentioned being able to collaborate, being a collaborative space. But let’s be honest, there are VR experiences now, that we can collaborate in 3D space over Wi-Fi.
Alan: And that’s working fine. But if anybody who’s been in Altspace or been in some of these multi-user collaboration platforms, they are a bit laggy.
Alan: Sometimes they glitch out of it. And so this promise of 5G seems to be kind of that magical part that will allow us to push the limits of this technology much, much harder and much further than we ever thought possible.
Sandro: Exactly, exactly. So of course, if you’re talking about especially like a local application and so on, in a controlled environment, Wi-Fi can do quite a lot. The thing is, when you really get to real-world implementations, where you’re going to have an environment that sometimes is not fully controlled and that also where you cannot really guarantee that everybody is going to be in the same network. So you can guarantee low latency and so on. That’s where really 5G is going to make a difference. And that’s not only for VR and AR. We have a myriad of applications, enterprise applications that– well, they somewhat work under Wi-Fi, they work better under 4G, but they do– where you do not have the full benefits until you really get to what 5G can bring to you. So one good example, going a little bit outside of AR/VR is for industrial automation.
So, for example, controlling robots in a factory. Most of the factories right now, they’re using fiber to connect these robots — or sometimes even copper — just because Wi-Fi is not reliable enough. But what they lose with that is the ability to quickly reconfigure a production line, which in the world of today happens way too often. So 4G already starts bringing some possibilities for that. But if you’re really talking about a fully autonomous factory, like in a fully automated factory, then 5G really plays a big role. And coming back to the VR and AR point, I think that this is a story about utilizing VR for connecting people remotely into content that can be– of course it can be entertainment and most importantly, business-related content is going to be extremely important. So let’s say if I take any company that has a support troop on the field. So let’s say even like a service provider, it has to have people that are visiting sites and so on. Someone, some other company that needs to train remotely sales or support troops, being able to utilize AR and VR to train and support the execution of activities on the field is extremely important. And then 5G is going to come really to guarantee that this connectivity is available wherever they are, that they do not have to rely on streamed content that is not real-time or to have to basically scramble to get the perfect Wi-Fi connection to be able to access the content, because not always that’s going to be available.
Alan: So let me ask you, if we wear glasses, let’s say Apple comes out with glasses in, — let’s call it five years, I don’t know — Magic Leap gets miniaturized, maybe North glasses expands their field of view, we’ve got access to glasses. And those glasses are relying on 5G and they’re giving us this three to five-millisecond latency. What happens, then, when we switch between 5G to 4G in our experiences?
Sandro: If you get to this point of switching from 5G to 4G, what you’re going to see is an increase in latency, which can become a problem depending on the application. And then a reduction on the throughput capacity, which for AR may not be that big of a problem, but for VR can become a problem. There are ways to kind of offset this problem though, or these challenges. When you’re looking to building the 5G network, one thing that is very important to actually enable all of these is that we further distribute the compute capacity of the network. So of course, like the 4G and the 5G infrastructure, they both rely quite a lot in cloud computing capabilities to be able to provide all of the processing power that is required. But if you take like what is done in 4G and what is done more traditionally in these networks, we have this capacity being very centralized, being deployed in a very centralized manner. Not as centralized as, for example, you would see on an Amazon or in a Google data center or anything like that, but still very centralized and probably focusing just a few points of an operator countrywide network. When you move to 5G, to be able to enable these low latencies that we were talking about, we need to distribute compute capacity further and then we deploy this concept that you probably have heard about, edge computing and edge cloud. Why am I talking about that? While we are deploying the edge cloud to support 5G, we’re also able to start deploying in these same locations capabilities related to the 4G network.
So you can have like, local breakout of traffic, you can have caching of your content being deployed in the edge of the network, which would then — even on a 4G environment — help you reduce a little bit the latency that you’re going to have while accessing this application. So you would, in brief, kind of utilize the architecture that is being viewed for 5G to also enable 4G services and to enable — and most importantly, to host — these applications to make sure that you minimize as much as possible the latency, even if you are on 4G. So you would minimize the impact of a potential drop from 5G to 4G.
Alan: Really exciting times. You know, you talk about edge cloud computing and that’s the ultimate goal, is being able to have all the compute power in the cloud, rather than on the device.
Sandro: Exactly right. And of course, like device compute is important, but we become much more efficient when we have, well, the cloud taking care of the processing of the applications. But to be able to do that on real-time applications, then edge capacity becomes key. Because you cannot rely– for an application that has a strict requirement of latency, you cannot rely on a data center that is anywhere in the world. I mean, you need to really make sure that you’re getting your content from a data center or even an edge compute site that is close to where you are. Otherwise, the application’s not going to work.
Alan: It’s really just amazing at the amount of technology that’s going into this. How many employees are working on this at Nokia?
Sandro: I cannot give like the specific numbers, but Nokia right now is a company with more than 100,000 employees all over the world, and quite a lot of our focus right now is on 5G. Of course, it’s very obvious that our R&D guys and our Bell Labs team that is working like on really the future of 5G and even 6G, they’re all deeply involved in that. But I used to say that every person in our organization is part of our 5G success. Because be it in my purchasing, or CFO team, or marketing, sales, we’re all involved in delivering these networks and making sure that our customers are getting the best service they can, and that we make 5G a reality for the world. Because this is beyond just a technology standard, this is fundamentally transforming the way a lot of industries will work and it can potentially improve the lives of a lot of people. So we are all excited about that.
Alan: Yeah, it’s really an exciting time. Sandro, I really want to say thank you for taking the time to not only explain 5G and how it works and the benefits, but really to dive deep into why it’s important to the XR community. I don’t think a lot of people truly understand 5G and what it is, and this has been a great kind of precursor to that and fully understanding the technology and why 5G is going to enable and unlock the full potential of XR. I think it’s just– it’s early days, but like you said, it’s coming faster than anticipated. And I think if you look at glasses like the Nreal glasses, that are running off a phone device, super lightweight, low price, these things are coming and they’re coming faster than I had anticipated as well. So it’s funny, I took this 10-year approach, I was like, “OK, by 2025, these things will happen.” And we’re already seeing an enterprise. Well, it’s not 2025, it’s 2019, and things are being rolled out now at scale.
Sandro: Oh, exactly. Exactly. It is indeed like exciting times. I think you can clearly see by where I’ve been talking about how excited I personally am.
Alan: [laughs] Of course.
Sandro: All these and yeah, I’ve been very happy to be here with you, Alan, discussing this and talking to all your listeners.
Alan: I got to drop a bomb on you here.
Alan: We haven’t announced anything, we will be announcing in 2020. But we’re working on a product, that our mission is to democratize education globally by 2037. So in 17 years from now, we should be able to — using cloud computing and XR devices — provide really, really personalized, contextualized, real time learning, to any learners around the world, to learn anything they want. So you look at a machine and it’ll tell you how it works. You look at somebody walking down the street, it’ll tell you where they got their clothes from. Being able to learn at the speed of automation and AI is going to be essential as we move into exponential growth of everything. And I think 5G is going to really unlock that ability to distribute this content around the world. Not only distribute it, but also create it and let people create the technology and the content. I think that’s really where this is going to shine. So I thank you for all the work that you and your team are doing to build the infrastructure of the future of learning.
Sandro: You know, this is really exciting to hear, really exciting, Alan. We’re looking forward to hear more about it. And yeah, I mean, these kind of things that give us purpose.
Sandro: Yeah. I mean, we all like technology, but we like it even more when we can clearly see a purpose for it, and we see people benefiting from it. So this kind of initiative you guys are doing is absolutely great. So delighted to hear about it.
Alan: I appreciate it. And I have one last question for you. What problem in the world do you want to see solved using XR technologies?
Sandro: I mean, it may sound that I’m kind of surfing on your wave here, but definitely education. I have always been personally a great advocate of education everywhere. And I see that this is actually where a lot of the gaps that we see in the world are being generated, like the lack of education. So really, if we can use AR and VR to break barriers and enable really the democratization of access to tech education — to education in all senses — is going to be a fundamental step for a better world. So definitely this is for me, really a great potential that this technology has for the future. I’m going to be looking forward to seeing this happen.
Alan: Well, we’re going to make it happen together, my friend.
Making any sort of head-mounted AR display has been a challenge, both on the technology front, and from an adaptation standpoint. But Stefan Alexander from North challenged himself even further - by making them look chic, to boot. Alan: Hey, everyone. Alan Smithson here, with the XR for Business podcast. Today, we're speaking with Stefan Alexander, vice president of Advanced R&D for North, the company this created Focals, the world's first consumer AR glasses. And of course, they're also a Canadian company. And we're really excited to talk about their new product, North Focals 2. All that and more, coming up next on the XR for Business podcast. Stefan, welcome to the show. Stefan: Thanks, it's great to be here. Alan: It's my absolute pleasure. As you know, I have had a pair of North glasses for almost-- actually over a year now. I was one of the first 100 people to be lucky enough to get these. I went in for my fitting in Toronto, got these wonderful glasses, I got my little ring. And I proceeded to try all sorts of different things. And super excited to have you on the call and really learn more about what's coming up next for North. Stefan: Yeah, great. Alan: Maybe you can just describe the North glasses to the listeners, and how they came about. Stefan: So, I can give you a kind of brief history of how this whole thing started. So originally when North was founded, it was actually called Thalmic ...
Talon Simulations was making great strides in the location-based entertainment industry, until COVID-19 hit. Now they’re pivoting the technology to suit more training-based use cases, and CEO Brandon Naids is on the show to explain how. Alan: Hey, everyone, welcome to the XR for Business podcast with your host, Alan Smithson. Today's guest is Brandon Naids. He's the CEO and co-founder of Talon Simulations. They are a provider of virtual reality experiences, but not just any virtual reality experiences. They have full motion simulators for entertainment and training. We're going to dig into how these amazing simulators can push forward the reality behind virtual reality. So, Brandon, welcome to the show and thanks for joining me. Brandon: Yeah, thanks a lot for having me, Alan. Definitely look forward to our discussion. Alan: I'm really excited. You get to play with probably the coolest toys in the VR space. You have motion simulators for racing games, and it's not all fun and games, but man, you must have a pretty cool office. Brandon: Yeah, we definitely have a lot of fun here, and we used to take the simulators home for weekend testing, but kind of got to the point where we play with it enough at the office. [chuckles] Alan: [chuckles] Do you have Thursday night is race night, and everybody shows up and they make bets on each other? Brandon: Yeah, usually Friday afternoons, it's a good time to decompress and have some competition. So it was a lot of fun. ...
You may not immediately think of XR technologies when you think of Nestlé, who are more likely to conjure the idea of milk chocolate and bottled water. But their immersive technology lead Richard Hess drops by to explain how even a food company like Nestlé can benefit from embracing emerging tech, on the 100th episode of the XR for Business podcast. Alan: Hey, everyone. Alan Smithson here with the XR for Business Podcast. Today, we're speaking with Richard Hess, the immersive experience lead at the massive multi-national Nestlé, making a billion products a year. A day, he said, but I don't know, a lot of products. You have them on your shelf, you have them in your fridge. We're gonna be speaking with Rich about Nestlé's VR and AR efforts in marketing, sales, enterprise solutions, and training. All that and more on the XR for Business Podcast. Rich, welcome to the show, my friend. Richard: Hey, Alan. Thanks for having me. Alan: It's my absolute pleasure. You and I have spent a lot of time kind of talking over the phone, but also spending some time on a panel at AWB. Richard: Yeah, that's right. Yeah, we've crossed paths a few times. I'm just happy to be here, to talk a little bit about what we're doing at Nestlé. Alan: We're super excited. Why don't you make an introduction to you, and what you're doing in XR with Nestlé? Richard: Sure. So for myself, I've been with Nestlé for about 10 years now. First based out of the US, working for our waters division there. Mostly supporting digital marketing on the technology ...