Immersive environments & 5G technology: The future of learning and collaboration

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Global collaboration has emerged as a key necessity in our post-COVID world. Virtual collaborative spaces are not only filling the gap in a world that doesn’t allow us to move and travel as easily any more, they also hold the potential to break down barriers and open the door to immersive global collaborative infrastructures and scenarios.

5G technology plays a major role in making these virtual environments accessible and agile and bypassing the technical limitations of the current generation of networks. In partnership with OVA, ellicom/LCI LX is participating in ENCQORs 5G project to test the potential of the 5G technology and explore how these virtual collaborative spaces could look like in an educational context.

The high capacity 5G mobile network is able to achieve download and upload speeds up to 100 times faster and can reduce latency from 10 to 50 times compared to today’s 4G. This opens the door to an entirely new generation of products and services that will be brought to the market. As an example, Apple’s new iPhone12, which is launching today, will be 5G enabled.

5G blog post

Many industries are on the brink of a technical revolution. A paper published by scientists of the University of Cologne notes that “shared workspaces and collaborative virtual environments (CVEs) allow for real-time information interchange and the synchronization of distributed working efforts over distance. Especially in the field of net-based collaboration and cooperative learning these developments [are] mainly driven by one goal: To improve work effectiveness by creating shared knowledge and coordinating problem solving activities.” (Virtual encounters. Creating social presence in net-based collaborations).

Numerous research studies have shown the effectiveness of digital transformation and virtual learning environments in the context of the education: A report by the US Department of Education shows that online learning has the “potential for providing more flexible access to content and instruction at any time, from any place […], increasing the availability of learning experiences for learners who cannot or choose not to attend traditional face-to-face offerings, […]  assembling and disseminating instructional content more cost efficiently, (and) enabling instructors to handle more students while maintaining learning outcome quality that is equivalent to that of comparable face-to-face instruction.” According to the report, “more recent applications tend to combine multiple forms of synchronous and asynchronous online interactions as well as […]  face-to-face interactions” (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development, Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies, Washington, D.C.)

By adding 5G to the equation, we are uncovering even more potential: the capability to create directly within these environments

In the education industry, immersive environments have the potential to take interactive virtual global collaboration to the next level. By adding 5G to the equation, we are uncovering even more potential: the capability to create directly within these environments. By making use of immersive spaces, schools and classrooms will not only be able to hold workshops, presentations and meetings including breakout rooms – these experiences can be crafted live and directly inside the virtual environments.

Educators and students will be able to meet and communicate in global collaborative classrooms, digitally represented in the form of avatars. They will be given the tools to share and demonstrate multimedia elements such as visuals or audio, put in place educational games and simulations, build and manipulate 3D objects and assets, all while moving within immersive 360-degree, VR, AR and MR environments, whether it be desktop-based or with the use of VR headsets.

A 5G infrastructure can furthermore help alleviate technical limitations and allow audiences worldwide to simultaneously attend and collaborate within these particular spaces.

In this first phase of our experiment, we are testing cooperative environments in ’s laboratory under a 5G infrastructure. As a continuation, we will shine the light on the use of data and the possibility to populate and pull data within the environments in real time.

To discover ENQCOR’s 5G project and to explore the future of learning and collaboration, check out our article below:

https://quebec.encqor.ca/en/ova-and-ellicom-to-participate-in-encqor-5g-project/

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