The famous La Boqueria market in Barcelona has become the site of an innovative trial where 5G is used to provide shoppers with a virtual shopping experience using augmented reality that, says its creators, maintains the link between real-world market shopping and ecommerce.
The application – called Augmented Reality Personal Shopper – allows virtual shoppers to select in real time specific products from market stalls and obtain additional information about them with augmented reality using their mobile, tablet or laptop. The system, which is based on a private 5G network based on edge computing servers that guarantees minimum latency in communications and high-capacity bandwidth, includes the participation of a La Boqueria personal shopper equipped with augmented reality glasses as an intermediary between buyer and seller, who interacts with the stallholders and communicates live with the online shopper via videoconference with ultra-high-definition images.
During the shopping process, the virtual user receives an augmented reality interface that the personal shopper is observing with their glasses in La Boqueria.
The initiative in the Barcelona market is the first use case of the 5G Catalonia pilot being run by Red.es, an entity attached to the Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation. The pilot is being developed by a joint venture of eight companies led by Cellnex Telecom and the MASMOVIL Group, with the participation of the operator Parlem Telecom, the company specialising in augmented reality for industry, Aumenta Solutions, the engineering company Atos, the consultancy Nae, the technology company Lenovo and the start-up Nearby Computing – a spin-off of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center.
The 5G Catalonia project has a total budget of €5.4m and is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
In a speech to the press as the trial went live this week, Alberto Martínez Lacambra, General Director of Red.es, pointed out that “5G is a technology with a transformative power that will mark a revolution and is an essential vector in the digitalisation drive envisaged in the Spanish Government’s Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan and is one of the pillars of the Digital Spain 2025 strategy. Today we have seen a clear example of the real impact that the use cases of the 5G Pilot projects will have on our way of life, on the way we move around or shop; without a doubt, a unique opportunity for our cities, our citizens and to improve the productivity of our economy.”