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SK Telecom Unveils New 5G Edge Cloud AR Service

SK Telecom has recently announced the launch of ‘Changdeok ARirang,’ an augmented reality service based on the 5G edge cloud, in association with Google and the Cultural Heritage Administration. It offers Changdeokgung Palace visitors an immersive experience of the venue.

Changdeokgung Palace, also known as Changdeok Palace, was created by King Taejong, the third Jo-seon ruler in 1405. Palaces in the city of Seoul were destroyed by fire during the 1592 Japanese invasion. In 1610, Changdeokgung Palace was the first palace to be rebuilt. Changdeok has since been the primary palace for a period of about 270 years, housing 13 kings including the country’s last monarch. Changdeokgung Palace became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997 and is held in high regard due to its architectural finesse.

Cultural Heritage Administrator Chung Jae-suk, second from left, experiences “Changdeok ARirang,” an augmented reality (AR) application developed by SK Telecom, at Changdeok Palace in central Seoul, Monday.

Users can activate the Changdeok ARirang application by pointing their smartphones at the palace. Upon doing this, they are greeted by Haechi, the mythical being that guards the palace. Haechi is the journey’s virtual guide and takes the visitors through the palace. They can rely on this character to give them in-depth information about all of the tourist spots in the palace, along with valuable historical insight.

Changdeok ARirang also offers a wider variety of augmented reality experiences for visitors at the palace. They can witness a royal court dance, take AR picture snaps and play AR-based traditional Korean games.

ARirang mobile app. Source: SK TELECOM

Changdeok ARirang lets visitors get a more intimate look into the more protected areas such as the secret garden of the palace, and Huijeongdang in 360-degree augmented reality. Once the visitors reach the Secret Garden entrance, they will come across an AR portal. This feature takes them into the environs of the picturesque Secret Garden.

5G smartphone users on Android devices can access the Changdeok ARirang application as a Google Play Store and One Store download. The application offers support in both English and Korean.

The application is designed to offer Changdeok visitors a full-fledged 5G augmented reality experience with the utilisation of ultra-low latency data communication. For this, SK Telecom has installed 12 base station units for 5G within the palace. The service is powered by the 5G edge cloud deployment at the company’s Seongsu-dong Central Office in Seoul. 5G edge cloud enables data processing in a 5G set up near the end-user devices. This enables the visitors to gain an experience of the palace at up to 60 percent higher speed when they are using the app to download contents.

SK Telecom has partnered with Nexus Studios, Seerslab, and Google to create an AR version of the Changdeokgung Palace. Nexus Studios is a UK-based studio specialising in interactive content and animation. Seerslab is a Korean VR and AR company. The AR experience is based on ARCore and Google Cloud, and also makes use of other augmented reality technologies such as Cloud Anchor and Lighting Estimation.

Cloud Anchor from Google is utilised for facilitating digital information overlays that multiple users can view simultaneously. Lighting Estimation makes the AR experience more real by incorporating holograms in a precise manner.

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