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Japanese Telecomm Predicts Fully Immersive Mainstream VR by 2020

It is something of an odd prediction for a telecomms firm to make, but NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile phone carrier service has released a statement saying just that. With the expansion rate of Japan's wireless networks in terms of both bandwidth and decreasing cost, coupled with the rate of development of mobile phones into computing platforms in their own right, the firm believe that this estimate is about right.

From the statement:

In the Japan of 2020 a stressed-out salaryman may unwind from his hectic futuristic lifestyle by time-travelling back a few centuries and taking a virtual stroll through medieval Tokyo.

As he walks over arched wooden bridges, he will chat with the avatars of his real world friends, admire pollution-free views of Mount Fuji and perhaps do some cash-free souvenir shopping for a digital download of a woodblock print.

He will navigate through the city once called Edo from the comfort of his intelligent living room, wearing 3-D glasses and moving about by waving a super-networked mobile phone that is attached to his wrist like a watch.

"This is Nihonbashi in virtual Edo," an invisible tour guide will say in an upbeat if slightly tinny voice. "It's a virtual community that is popular world-wide. A lot of people have logged on today already!"

Most of the technology described within that, is with us already of course. What is remarkable is that a service carrier believes that it is viable in just one decade - a marked difference in attitude compared to most Western carriers, many of whom are actively clamping down on smartphone usage, claiming their networks simply cannot cope with the increased data rates..

Part of the difference of course is that Japan, as with many countries in the region, has embraced technology whole-heartedly. Their internal mobile network, and even the phones themselves, tend to have capabilities significantly above those found in Europe or the US.

The why is fairly simple: They have invested in the infrastructure backbone, time and time again.


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