The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken a significant step towards enhancing the future of augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) wearables. In a unanimous vote, the agency agreed to open the 6 GHz band of spectrum to a new class of very low power devices, including wearable technology.
This decision by the FCC is expected to foster an ecosystem of innovative applications, such as AR/VR wearables, that can benefit businesses, education, healthcare, and entertainment. Wearable technology has gained popularity in recent years, with devices like smart glasses and VR headsets offering immersive experiences and practical functionalities.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, celebrated this move by the FCC. Kevin Martin, the vice president of North America policy at Meta, praised the government regulator for collaborating with the industry early on to build for the future. Meta sees the opening of the 6 GHz band as a critical development for its smart glasses. It envisions future generations of these devices having greater functionality even when users are outside their homes and away from strong WiFi connections.
Another tech giant, Google, expressed its support for the FCC’s decision. Google’s hardware group, Pixel, released a statement on its Twitter account, acknowledging that the vote is beneficial for Pixel users and American consumers. The opening of the 6 GHz band will enable high-speed peer-to-peer WiFi communication, which facilitates direct device-to-device connections without the need for an intermediate access point. This type of connection is particularly useful for multiplayer gaming and photo-sharing apps.
Apple also welcomed the FCC’s actions, describing it as a positive step forward. When the FCC sought comments on opening the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use, Apple, Broadcom, Meta, and Google highlighted the potential benefits of this proposal for the next generation of 5G technology. They emphasized that allowing very low power devices access to this frequency band would enhance mobility for AR/VR tools, headphones, and game controllers. Additionally, they stressed the importance of portable and outdoor use for AR/VR glasses, as limitations in these areas would severely curtail their utility.
Overall, the FCC’s decision to open up the 6 GHz band of spectrum is poised to drive the future of AR/VR wearables. By enabling greater connectivity and functionality, this move will contribute to the advancement of various sectors, including business, education, healthcare, and entertainment. The collaboration between government regulators and industry leaders demonstrates a commitment to innovation and highlights the potential of AR/VR technologies in shaping the way we interact with the world around us.