Fly a real drone from the metaverse over Vodafone's 5G network at MWC23

Vodafone Stand (Hall 3, stand 3E11) Mobile World Congress (MWC), 27 February - 2 March 2023.

Vodafone invites visitors to its stand at MWC 2023 to enter Vodafone’s metaverse and fly a real-life 5G-connected drone located in Seville 830 kilometres away using a Meta Quest Pro Virtual Reality (VR) headset.

The metaverse drone is one of a series of new network Application Programmable Interfaces (APIs) being developed by Vodafone. Network APIs are a set of rules based on industry-wide open standards that allow developers to plug into and use the low-latency benefits, speed and scale of Vodafone’s pan-European 5G network – which covers nearly 350 towns and cities – through a simple and secure user interface.

Built by Vodafone’s developers, the metaverse API could be used by emergency services to control drones out of sight to deliver vital medical supplies in a congested area. Other uses include farmers being able to inspect vast perimeter fences or energy companies safely checking remote power lines. Vodafone’s 5G network will deliver a range of metaverse services to its consumer and business customers such as AR/XR services for gaming and entertainment, navigation, remote assistance and maintenance, and immersive shopping.

In addition, Vodafone is providing third-party developers with a secure and simple way to create their own significant new services through APIs that gives them access to the enhanced capabilities of Vodafone’s network. The focal point for these APIs will be Vodafone’s new Developer Marketplace, which today opened for developers to register for news on new APIs releases, expected later this year.

Vodafone Developer Marketplace will include Vodafone-own services such as broadband boosts, online banking fraud detection and prolonged smartphone battery life, as well as those that remove all complexity of the network to allow third party developers to create their own revenue-generating applications more easily and cheaply. Vodafone expects the marketplace will spur the release of many new apps with social or environmental purposes, for example, those that use anonymised and aggregated network location data to improve public transport links.

Creating a more sustainable future through tech innovation and leading digital business products and services is the central theme for Vodafone at MWC. Its stand is arranged into five zones – Greener Together, Greener Foundations, Greener Today and Tomorrow and Core.

Greener Together – with emphasis on strategic partnerships, Vodafone and AST SpaceMobile will show how together they intend to offer the first ever space-based mobile broadband service accessible by standard smartphones. No other satellite service today does this. It will also give visitors a chance to sit at the wheel of an Extreme E electric SUV used to race in some of the remotest parts of the world – all connected via the latest Vodafone technology.

Greener Foundations – a dashboard will highlight Vodafone’s journey to net zero by 2040, including initiatives by Vodafone Business, such as renewable power purchase agreements and solar energy in the company’s offices and mobile cell towers. Also, drawing on its global Internet of Things (IoT) platform – with 155 million connections – Vodafone is exhibiting the latest connected applications giving communities early warning of forest fires and floods, as well as providing real-time air quality measurements.

Greener Today – Vodafone is showcasing two of its newest, globally-scaled platforms. The Safer Transport for Europe Platform (STEP) is a cloud-based platform designed to improve road safety in Europe by enabling data sharing among governments, transport authorities, vehicle manufacturers, and mobility service providers. Alongside it will be one of Vodafone’s Digital Asset Broker (DAB) solutions which enables electric vehicle (EV) drivers to charge their vehicles using a single app on their mobile device.

Visitors can also see how satellite imagery and artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to assess the health and inventory of urban trees to improve the management of urban green spaces and their conservation.

Greener Tomorrow – Among the services on view is network slicing. A key feature of 5G Standalone (5GSA) networks, it allows Vodafone to create multiple virtual networks, or ‘slices’, on the same infrastructure. Some examples of applications that would benefit from network slicing include remote surgery, AR/VR, enhanced event experiences, cloud gaming, smart cities, and Industry 4.0 applications.

Core – MWC would not be complete without an update on new Open Radio Area Networks (Open RAN). Vodafone plans to unveil the essential progress being made in improving the maturity, security, and energy efficiency of Open RAN. Building on Vodafone’s existing urban deployment in the UK (a European first), this includes further preparing Open RAN for wider deployment in highly populated towns and cities, strengthening cooperation with national authorities on security, and enhancing the energy efficiency of all components. 

Vodafone’s 5G network is a powerful tool that can support, enhance and enable business and consumer innovations. At the forefront of this innovation is the world’s first prototype 5G network built on a Raspberry Pi, showcasing at MWC, which could give customers their very own low-cost, private, and fast mobile broadband network (see separate release).

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