KDDI, DT, MobiledgeX, Sturfee and Mawari in first global PaaS deal to speed XR application development

Dominik Schnieders of Deutsche Telekom

Japan’s KDDI Corporation and Mawari, Deutsche Telekom AG of Germany, plus MobiledgeX, Inc. and Sturfee, Inc., both from California, have jointly developed a proof of concept (PoC).

The aim is to realise the world’s first PaaS (Platform as a Service) for XR applications development provided as a common platform on MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) provided by each telecom operator.

The PoC is expected to accelerate development of a global XR application running on MEC. This will be launched in June 2021 in alignment with the GSMA Telco Edge Cloud (TEC) initiative.

The challenge: deploying low latency applications on multiple operator MECs

MEC platforms are intended to support AR / VR, automatic driving, robotics, and other applications that take advantage of the low latency of 5G. Next generation interactive media apps (XR) require closer proximity to supporting APIs and SDKs in their backend code, to deliver the quality of experience and scale that is required. This is because media is generated from all participants’ locations and cameras in real time and any lack of synchronisation could produce a poor user experience.

There is a growing need among application developers for consistent APIs and cloud services to be deployed within the edge networks to support these next generation applications in an easy and consistent way.

However, for developers who want to release their applications globally, using MEC leads to longer lead times and higher operating costs. This is because MEC is provided within the edge networks provided by each telecom operator, it is necessary to individually deploy, test, and operate middleware such as APIs for each MEC provided by telecom operators in each country.

For the telecom operator, the challenge is speed, scale, and collaboration. Today, telecom operators cannot benefit from each other’s complementary market development, especially in the space of discovering new “in-network” services that will be required to power the next generation of apps and solutions.

The solution: PoC overview

In this PoC, KDDI and Deutsche Telekom will collaborate with Mawari, MobiledgeX, and Sturfee to solve the challenges of using MEC to efficiently deliver applications on a global scale.

KDDI and Deutsche Telekom will collaborate with Mawari, MobiledgeX, and Sturfee to make a Visual Positioning Service (VPS) provided by KDDI’s development partner Sturfee, which is compatible with the MobiledgeX Edge-Cloud platform and deploy it as a PaaS to KDDI and Deutsche Telekom’s MEC network.

In addition, the SDK provided by PaaS will be embedded into the AR app on a smartphone, and a 3D virtual human application called “coh” will be distributed from KDDI and Deutsche Telekom MEC to the smartphone XR app. “coh” is created and provided by KDDI’s creative team “au Vision Studio”.

KDDI and Deutsche Telekom will demonstrate that this PoC can be used to efficiently develop low-latency XR applications that are running on smartphones, smart glasses, and other XR devices.

“We’re excited to be working with Deutsche Telekom, MobiledgeX, Sturfee, and Mawari to make this functional proof of concept (PoC) a reality,” says Kei Morita, member of the board, managing executive officer, personal business sector, KDDI Corporation. “The PoC makes full use of MEC, which enhances ultra-low latency features of 5G, and is expected to realise a whole new platform distributing innovative XR services and experiences, created by KDDI’s creative team, au Vision Studio, across the world. KDDI will keep leading to provide customers with advanced MEC toward the 5G SA era.”

“For a faster return on their development effort, the XR developer community require a fast and easy way to deploy their applications to users in markets worldwide,” says Dominik Schnieders, head of edge computing / Cloud XR at Deutsche Telekom. “We are very excited to collaborate with KDDI and MobiledgeX to demonstrate a consistent cross-operator platform that will push XR forward and result in more immersive, exciting, and entertaining edge-enabled services for our customers.”

Key steps in the PoC process

  • For the global deployment of XR applications using MECs, KDDI and Deutsche Telekom will build a platform that can efficiently deploy XR applications to their MEC by leveraging the MobiledgeX Edge-Cloud 3.0 platform that integrates and manages MECs of telecom operators in each country and enables applications to be easily deployed to each MEC.
  • Using the platform built by KDDI and Deutsche Telekom, VPS, a spatial recognition technology of Sturfee and XR content streaming technology provided by Mawari will be deployed to the MEC of both companies.
  • Will also develop an API/SDK as PaaS to enable collaboration between Sturfee’s VPS and Mawari’s XR streaming technology.
  • Will demonstrate that KDDI’s Virtual human “coh”, planned and developed by KDDI’s creative team “au VISION STUDIO” (Partner: Aww Inc.), is streamed by leveraging Sturfee’s VPS and Mawari’s XR streaming technology from the MobiledgeX powered edge cloud in both Japan and Germany.
  • To make it easier for application developers and content creators to deploy XR content globally, the API/SDK developed in this PoC will be made available on the “au VISION STUDIO” project introduction website in October 2021.

The five companies are currently participating in the TEC Trial promoted by GSMA and aim to realise PaaS through this PoC to solve customer issues and create global business opportunities.

KDDI will continue to develop use cases that utilise MEC in preparation for the commercial deployment of 5G SA, as well as promote the realisation of a platform that enables the provision of MEC-based applications of the same quality anywhere in the world via any telecom operator’s network.

The roles of each company are as follows:

KDDI: Overall promotion of this PoC, provision of MEC and implementation of this PoC

Deutsche Telekom: Provision of MEC and implementation of this PoC

MobiledgeX: Providing 5G application distribution independent of underlying operator cloud choices, both public and private, and with common interfaces across telecom operators

Sturfee: Providing VPS technology as part of MEC service for real-time spatial understanding of surroundings utilising MEC and deployment of VPS to KDDI’s and Deutsche Telekom’s MEC using MobiledgeX technology

Mawari: Deployment of XR Streaming Solution for KDDI’s “Virtual Human” to KDDI’s and Deutsche Telekom’s MEC using MobiledgeX technology, and integrated with Sturfee’s VPS on MobiledgeX

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