Ericsson has seen the future and it’s a massive 6G powered tech-mall

Swedish kit vendor Ericsson has indulged in a bit of future gazing with a concept-heavy report that proposes ten society-changing tech trends.

Andrew Wooden

December 15, 2021

4 Min Read
Ericsson Everyspace Plaza
Ericsson's 6G powered Everyspace Plaza

Swedish kit vendor Ericsson has indulged in a bit of future gazing with a concept-heavy report that proposes ten society-changing tech trends.

The company has filtered the results of its latest ‘Ericsson ConsumerLab 10 Hot Consumer Trends’ report, which it has been publishing for 11 years, into a vehicle to chew on ideas around where bleeding edge tech might lead us to by 2030.

It decided to communicate those ideas via the medium of a fictional shopping mall of the future, in which recognisable activities you might conceivably engage in while out at the shops are made all sci-fi with the application of AR, VR, and AI gubbins.

A survey of 7115 residents of Delhi, Dublin, Jakarta, Johannesburg, London, Mexico City, Moscow, New York, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, Stockholm, Sydney and Tokyo was carried out in October and November 2021. It selected for tech savvy people, specifically those who used or ‘intend to use’ things like VR and AR headsets. Those respondents were asked how plausible they think various shopping mall facilities ‘that extend the physical consumer experience using digital technology’ are.

The report asks you to “Imagine a futuristic place where next-generation 6G connectivity makes the multiverse possible – a place where AR glasses, haptic body suits, tactile gloves and other high-tech gear is available at a low cost – a place that can be programmed and adapted to an almost infinite number of activities. Now, imagine that it is opening just down the road from where you live, in that run-down shopping mall that was closed for renovation last year. Welcome to the Everyspace Plaza!”

Gazing into its crystal mall, if you will, the report presents the ten still fictional use cases its respondents found most plausible.

The All-Now Arena

“You will be both actor and spectator – and immersion could be both a blessing and a curse,” states the report ominously. This concept is basically the holodeck from Star Trek, where AR and VR equipment would create more immersive experiences, whether that’s being at the front row of a concert being performed 1000 miles away, or stepping into ‘be’ in a movie.

The Immersive Beauty Salon

The idea here seems to be about using volumetric modelling technology to digitally ‘enhance looks’, so you’ll be looking top dollar as long as everyone keeps their AR headsets on. Also, apparently 71 percent think that hairdressers will employ AI to analyse the hairstyles of all passers-by, enabling them to offer the most fashionable haircut.

“Could there be a wealth divide between the digitally bald and the virtually well-endowed? Thirty-nine percent of consumers see the cost of Immersive Beauty Salons as the main barrier,” said the report.

We’re not clear what digitally bald means but presumably they’ll be an app for that.

The Meta Tailor

Apparently more than seven out of ten AR/VR users foresee future tailors using programmable fabrics that can switch to become waterproof, or provide ventilation ‘when needed’.

Within the tailor of the future you might also find AI-controlled sewing robots to adjust, mend and repair clothes while you wait.

The Anyverse Pool

Two-thirds of respondents looked forward to toppling themselves into the deep end of a swimming pool with an oxygenated VR headset strapped to their head. Why? To simulate floating in space, of course.

The Hybrid Gym

This one doesn’t feel so far-fetched in the age of Peloton bikes – almost half respondents want to use treadmills and exercise bikes that use AR and VR to connect them with others in online environments, while 45 percent would like to attend workout classes by internationally renowned instructors who can guide them via remote presence.

The Print-a-Wish Multifactory

3D print a product to any specification you desire, and recycle your old tat while you wait.

Half of respondents would also like to use a repair shop that analyses broken parts and produces replacements on demand.

The Restaurant at the Node of the Universe

The name alone is bound to make it a quality choice for a first date. Apparently half of consumers want to visit a restaurant to virtually eat with friends sat anywhere in the world. Could you email me the salt, please?

The Neverending Store

Three-quarters of consumers expect to be able to use VR to project their home inside the store and check out how various items would look once they get them home.

The Medical Multiplex Center

77 percent of consumers reckon they’ll be visiting medical centres with drop-in AI health scanning that will give accurate complete health status updates in minutes. Something to do while you’re waiting for the Argos order to process.

The Nature+ Park

Quite similar to the holodeck again this one – it describes a virtual park that uses digital and programmable materials and AR/VR so you can interact with animals in their habitat, even if they are extinct. Or presumably, entirely fictional. 62 percent believe these parks will be built out of programmable materials that reconfigure the layout every night.

Overall, there’s a brief nod towards how all this would be tied together by 6G infrastructure, but really this feels more like a thin pretext to embark on a bit of end of the year fun, and wax on the idea of a Willy-Wonka style tech citadel of the future. And what’s wrong with that?

About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

Get the latest news straight to your inbox.
Register for the newsletter here.

You May Also Like