Advanced Television

Industry majors explore 5G live event potential

September 16, 2021

By Colin Mann

Harnessing 5G technology at live events will result in more interactive content for fans, deeper audience engagement and lucrative new commercial opportunities according to executives from leading sporting, broadcast and tech companies participating in the 5G VISTA (Video in Stadia Technical Architecture) project, which aims to take full advantage of 5G New Radio, enhanced Mobile Broadband, and 5G broadcast services, trialled with LTE feMBMS, to showcase new and exciting in-stadia digital experiences.

Representatives from organisations including O2, Rohde and Schwarz and TOCA Technical updated selected media at the O2 Blueroom on the potential of 5G technology to transform live events by enhancing viewer experience, allowing venue owners to disseminate crucial event information and unlocking new advertising and sales opportunities.

“By harnessing 5G, a project like VISTA delivers on two fronts,” noted Sam Riches, Technical Officer, British Touring Cars. “It delivers on the technical need for sharp connectivity and high-quality broadcast in-stadia or on a racing circuit. Meanwhile, from a consumer perspective, something like this completely catapults events getting people into venues, giving them value for money, and allowing them to feel like they’re part of the action.”

“Like we’ve seen today with the example of ITV and British Touring Cars, there is a brilliant opportunity to level up the terrific work broadcasters do – giving them a chance to have a deeper presence on site, and deliver a richer experience to audiences,” added James Wilson, Commercial Director at Cloudbass. “A project like 5G Vista also gives a nod to a generation used to engagement on devices, by developing solutions with ‘generation screen’ at front of mind.”

According to Ciaran Doran, Director of Marketing at Rohde & Schwarz, the 5G VISTA consortium has managed to identify an all-round problem at live events, and turn this into an opportunity. “We’re so excited to be involved in a project which is pushing boundaries to deliver more – and higher quality – content for fans.”

“The 5G VISTA project has today demonstrated the value of 5G to the media and entertainment industries,” stated Alex Buchan, Strategic Technologist, DTG and Project Lead. “The consortium brings together a convergence of mobile and broadcast expertise and has shown how 5G Broadcast can bring fans closer to the action. DTG are proud to be leading the project and we look forward to continuing the success into our final showcase in early 2022.”

“With its ultra-fast speeds and capacity for higher quality streaming, 5G still has incredible potential to elevate audience experience at live events – unlocking dynamic new experiences such as multi-camera views, while increasing accessibility and engagement,” advised Kostas Katsaros, Lead 5G Technologist, Digital Catapult. “Today’s demo at O2 Blueroom took us one step closer to making that a reality and was a useful platform for expert discussion around the emerging opportunities in this area. I look forward to working with our fantastic partners to take this project over the line.”

“The Project VISTA team has made real progress over the past year, and it’s great to be able to showcase this exciting project at such an iconic venue,” declared Rob Searle, Head of 5G at O2. “This trial paves the way for numerous 5G-powered opportunities, not only in live entertainment and broadcasting but wider fan engagement. Something that’s very close to our hearts at O2.”

“5G has well and truly landed,” said Paolo Pescatore, TMT Analyst at PP Foresight. “Live events are the next frontier, with potential to be completely transformed by the high-speeds and sharp quality delivered by the latest broadcast technology. From today’s event, there’s a huge appetite to elevate the audience experience and participation. Personalisation and further collaboration will be key, which underpin the ongoing efforts being made with the 5G VISTA project.” 

The demo event took place ahead of a full demonstration at a live sports event in February 2022.

The 5G VISTA project was awarded £1.3 million (€1.5m) of Government funding in January 2021 as part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) 5G Create Competition. 5G Create is part of the government’s £200 million investment in testbeds and trials across the UK to explore new ways that 5G can boost productivity, grow existing businesses or spark new ones.


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