LIVE FROM CONNECT BERLIN, GERMANY: A boost in the number of high-end smartphones with 4K screens and growing popularity of home, VR and augmented reality (AR) technology will ramp the pressure to supply low latency, high bandwidth, connectivity in the home.

Adtran EMEA and APAC CTO Ronan Kelly (pictured) made the prediction during the fixed infrastructure vendor’s Connect Berlin event. Kelly, who is also president of pressure group FTTH Council Europe, pointed to forthcoming bandwidth-hungry services pushing the need for gigabit fibre.

“It’s very rare a consumer takes a conscious decision to use more bandwidth,” he said: “Everyone is investing in personalised voice automation [for example]. These devices represent the future of search, but latency destroys the experience.”

In addition to connected home technology, Kelly added broadband providers need to deliver high bandwidth to deal with forthcoming technological innovations including an influx of handsets he expects to adopt 4K screens following the launch of Sony’s XZ premium in February.

Sony was among the first vendors to launch smartphones with the high resolution screen technology, which is most associated with premium televisions.

“We are now at 4K, first with Sony then a bunch of other handsets this year. With a two-and-a-half year refresh on handsets it’s a timing issue now [until it becomes mainstream],” Kelly told Mobile World Live in a post-event interview.

“It’s premium handsets at the moment, but it will make its way into the mainstream handsets next year and after that it will be in the economy handsets. Before you know it everyone has 4K in their pocket.”

While 4K is capable of delivering high-resolution gaming, VR and AR would need to reach the equivalent of 12K resolution to look truly realistic to the naked eye, Kelly added, noting this would cause further network strain.

“One of the very important things to keep in mind about VR is you have two screens, with two different feeds coming in if it’s in 3D. To get the seamless field of view, at best you’ll need to provision a 120-degree screen. When you start blowing up to 12K resolution the file size becomes astronomic very quickly,” he explained.