IGF Report: Virtual Reality is the Next Computing Platform for Development: Challenges and Opportunities (WS248)

The session, moderated by Mr Vagner Diniz, NIC.br, featured discussions on the opportunities and challenges of virtual reality for the network society, since it will change the way we publish and consume data, socialise and learn, and do science and business.

Dr Diogo Cortiz da Silva, NIC.br, began his participation by saying that virtual reality (VR) is not a buzzword; it has being a research topic since the 60s years. According to him, what has evolved is that today, the required technology and graphic processing chips for VR and artificial intelligence exist. Da Silva said that the leading technology companies identify this trend, and they are focused on developing their products and services in VR. Despite of the well known use of virtual reality for games and entertainment, there are other benefited areas like education and health. He ended his speech by affirming that VR is bringing great implications on how we perceive the world.
Mr Dominique Hazaël-Massieux, W3C, believes that the web has a critical role to play on VR because it can address some of the challenges that VR has today, and can create opportunities that may be hard to reach otherwise. He said that developers are accustomed to program for the web, and if VR is enabled in web browsers, this could address many VR challenges. At the end of his participation, Hazaël-Massieux said that one of the recent breaks is VR was the ability to detect and connect to external head-mounted displays and there is ongoing work that actually addresses this challenge on the web.
Mr Charith Fernando, Keio University, explained the concept of tele-existence and its next level. He said that this concept is similar to extending your body to a robot and this has been done through the Internet. Fernando affirmed that when it is necessary to have real time communication or real time control with a robot, prioritisation is very much important. This is a problem that researchers are trying to deal with right now.
Ms Lorrayne Porciuncula, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), began by saying that VR is growing at a rapid rate in terms of hardware and software, but that the world is still struggling to catch up in terms of infrastructure. She said that there are four points that need attention in order to achieve a good experience on VR. The first was streaming, which is mandatory for content alignment. The second was bandwidth, because for VR work, each VR stream needs to be duplicated and this requires a lot of bandwidth. The third point was that the low latency required by VR needs to be equal to or smaller than the latency between our eyesight and other sensors in our brain. The last one was coverage. According to Porciuncula, there is a digital divide between rural areas and big cities and this is a bottleneck for VR development.
Dr Ana Cristina Azevedo, Mackenzie University, made considerations about privacy concerns in VR application. According to her, compared to the other technologies, VR applications stores so much more data about people, such as their movements as well as their voice. Azevedo said that it is not only about privacy; there are also concerns about security, because many data breaches take place today. She talked about the importance of education on the risks about information sharing.
By Nathalia Sautchuk Patrício for GIP Digital Watch

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