Meta, Apple and Google cheer FCC decision that could spur new VR and AR applications

An attendee uses a Meta Platforms Inc virtual reality (VR) headset. Quest 3 during an event in San Francisco, California, United States, on September 18, 2023.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday agreed to open up spectrum to some devices in a move that could help pave the way for new applications for wearable augmented reality and virtual reality.

The agency voted unanimously in favor of opening up the 6GHz band to what they call a “new class of ultra-low-power devices,” such as wearable technology.

The FCC expects it will “stimulate an ecosystem of cutting-edge applications, including wearable technologies and augmented and virtual reality, that will help businesses, enhance learning opportunities, advance healthcare opportunities, and deliver new entertainment experiences,” according to the press. launch.

Meta welcomed the move, with Vice President of North American Policy Kevin Martin saying in a statement that the vote is “a shining example of a government regulator working with industry early on to build for the future.”

The company believes that the opening of the 6 GHz band is an important step in its vision for its smart glasses. This development means that future generations of these types of devices can have greater functionality even when the wearer is outside their home and away from a strong WiFi connection.

“The 6GHz band has become critical to the future of wireless connectivity,” Google’s hardware group, Pixel, said in a report. Share on X (formerly Twitter). “Today’s FCC vote is a win for Pixel users and American consumers, as this band will now be available for high-speed peer-to-peer WiFi connections.”

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The company describes peer-to-peer communication on its site Android developers website As a means of devices
“Connect directly to each other over Wi-Fi without an intermediary access point,” which it says could be useful for multiplayer games and photo-sharing apps.

Likewise, Apple called the FCC’s vote a “positive step forward,” in a statement issued Thursday.

When the FCC requested comments on opening up unlicensed use of the 6 GHz band In 2020Apple, Broadcom, Meta and Google called on the agency to accept the proposal, saying it “will enable critical use cases as part of the next generation 5G ecosystem.”

in Written comment At the time, the companies said that creating a category of very low-power (VLP) devices — which would include augmented reality and virtual reality gadgets, headsets, and game controllers — with access to the 6GHz band would allow these gadgets to become more capable. On movement and the ability to move. To work without a cord and outside the home.

“This capability, coupled with low latency and high data rates, will support critical new use cases, from training for life-saving surgeries to helping blind and visually impaired Americans,” the companies wrote at the time.

They also warned that failure to allow more mobile and outdoor use of AR/VR headsets would “severely limit their utility” in use cases such as “running, hiking, or next-gen fan experiences at sporting events.”

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