Digital Domain Partnering With Qualcomm on VR Ecosystem

Digital Domain Holdings, head of the biggest global indie VFX facility, and Qualcomm have partnered to create what Digital Domain chair Peter Chou calls “a new ecosystem for virtual reality.” This deal follows on the heels of Digital Domain’s partnership with Deutsche Telekom on a virtual reality mobile app. According to Chou, who co-founded smartphone manufacturer HTC, these deals are in preparation for the rollout of 5G mobile services expected to take place in the next few years. HTC is also maker of the Vive VR headset.

South China Morning Post reports that, “5G represents the latest advance in mobile communications, in which networks will adapt to applications, according to trade body the GSM Association.”

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5G will ultimately support “a million connected devices per square kilometre; 1 millisecond latency, or the amount of time a packet of data takes to get from one point to another; higher energy and spectral efficiency; and a peak data download rate of up to 20 gigabits per second.”

Hong Kong-listed Digital Domain, which runs the VFX studio Digital Domain 3.0, has focused on producing VR content, and already does so for Deutsche Telekom’s Magenta VR platform, which focuses on sports, music and entertainment.

Qualcomm Atheros senior director for product management Hugo Swart said his company, a Qualcomm subsidiary, provides “the mobile chips tailored for virtual reality, the software and [headset] reference design.”

“It’s going to take a few years, but our vision is to have virtual reality headsets with full compute and communications capability in a form that looks like regular sunglasses,” he said. “These would be for everyday use and could eventually replace smartphones.”

Research firm Greenlight Insights predicts that the global VR market, “including headsets, consumer content and advertising-related revenue” will reach $75 billion by 2021, from “an estimated $7.2 billion by the end of this year.”