PCCW Global, the international operating division of HKT, Hong Kong’s premier telecommunications service provider, has won the Moving Pictures Award at the prestigious World Communication Awards 2017 in London, England.
The Awards recognised our deployment of the world’s first full end-to-end, real-time, multi-camera, 360°, 3D virtual reality (VR) live video service, a practical demonstration of capabilities designed to support global content streaming for event organisers, content owners and traditional broadcasters.
In collaboration with content partners, PCCW Global successfully tested the service at the 2017 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament held earlier this year, affording viewers a totally immersive 360° VR viewing experience. The tournament provided the perfect opportunity to showcase, field test and prove the technological, commercial and public readiness for a live VR broadcast experience.
The success of the project showcased PCCW Global’s ability to deliver a live, real-time VR streaming experience to the 360° VR audience. It also demonstrated the company’s ability to extend its traditional broadcast capabilities to include a live VR service to other events and broadcasters.
The challenges of providing real-time live VR streaming compared to traditional TV revolve around the complexity of dealing with data rates which are significantly larger and more demanding on global connectivity and associated delivery networks. By way of comparison, published reports suggest that even basic VR video requires 17 times the bandwidth of normal HD video.
Mike van den Bergh, Chief Marketing Officer of PCCW Global, said, “We are very pleased that our commitment to innovation has been recognized by this award from such a prestigious industry association. The technology is very exciting and we are proud to be at the forefront of global VR broadcast innovation. However, it’s important to note that this innovation is as much about providing a robust and reliable global connectivity infrastructure as it is about the exciting technology that we utilise to capture VR streams at such events. The success of VR broadcasting relies very much on the flexibility and resilience of global networks such as ours.”
Judges agreed that PCCW Global’s VR solution is “genuinely innovative” and “highly exciting”. “Finally a service that moves the needle, where VR and sports broadcasting are combined,” one member of the judging panel said.