Scent is powerful. Humans can detect over 1 trillion scents, making it a powerful tool for life on Earth, and research even suggests humans can smell feelings like fear or disgust. Olfaction is the first sense developed in babies and plays a crucial role in memories and emotions. Enter the Internet of Senses (IoS) — a term coined by Ericsson Consumer Lab and a concept of “digital reality, where online experiences extend from plain old sight and hearing to touch, smell, and even taste.” Supported by artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, 5G, and automation, IoS is projected to be a reality by 2030, allowing consumers to experience these new technologies with sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch.
The Internet of Senses
As the IoS approaches and metaverse technologies become more of a reality, digital scent technology is poised to support the human experience in virtual reality. Multisensory experiences will be an essential part of metaverse adoption, creating a complete convergence of physical and digital worlds. These long-term technologies are seen today with cutting-edge innovations like Meta’s partnership with Ray-Ban on “smart glasses,” setting the stage for fully immersive realities.
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6G Powering IoS
However, it won’t be easy to converge the multisensory experience into virtual reality; current technologies are two-dimensional, relying on primarily audiovisual media to create that world. 6G emerges as a potential solution with use cases for connected intelligent machines, a digitized and programmable world, connected sustainable world, and the IoS. For more information on 5G and other future network technologies and applications, attend the upcoming IEEE conference, “Future Networks: A Comprehensive Look at 5G and Beyond,” on October 12-14.
Why 6G? First, 6G will remove the gigabyte barrier, allowing terabit speeds and higher frequencies in the THz band. Low latency is crucial in supporting tactile experiences, and 6G capabilities will offer seamless connectivity between the internet and real life, allowing futuristic projects like Wi-Fi implants, automated cars, and cellular surfaces to come to life. As edge computing emerges, moving network management away from centralized clouds to localized devices, the goal is for IoS to be indistinguishable from our current reality. Applications like a “twin brain” — one in our reality and the partner in the Metaverse — must have supportive connectivity through a seamless intermediary like 6G.
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