Technology has brought some extraordinary enhancements to live events in recent years. Go and see the Rolling Stones and you could see a fretboard-mounted camera projecting rock music’s most famous fingers onto a 30m high-resolution screen at the back of the stage. Alternatively, sit in the cockpit of a Formula 1 car for a real-time ‘driver’s eye’ view of the race, while listening to live ‘ship to shore’ discussions of final-lap tactics with the team manager.
Whilst these examples are now well-established developments which have increased the intensity of the experience of live events, they were nonetheless key milestones which whetted the technological appetite to further increase fans’ engagement. And as we stand on the threshold of a new era, the possibilities presented by 5G to immerse spectators and fans yet further in the experience are almost beyond imagination.
It also raises another important subject which the world has been forced to confront in recent months. With ongoing restrictions to live gatherings, and no clear end to COVID-19 in sight, creating innovative new propositions for live entertainment may prove critical in ensuring their long-term survival.
Members of the FreeMove Alliance are at the forefront of exploring the potential of 5G in live entertainment. They are committed to ensuring that the benefits can be exploited as widely as possible to bring new experiences, and new audiences, to sport, music, the arts, and a host of other live events.
Bringing the beautiful game even closer
Deutsche Telekom and world renowned German soccer club FC Bayern Munich are collaborating on an initiative which is bringing the fans closer to the action than ever before. Visitors to the stadium can enjoy augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) apps on 5G-enabled devices, creating an immersive in-game experience that must be seen to be believed.
Michael Hagspihl, Head of Consumers at Telekom Deutschland commented “Deutsche Telekom is working with FC Bayern Munich to open up the world of 5G technology to soccer spectators. Fans visiting the Allianz Arena can now explore a whole new dimension in soccer through VR and AR. We’re helping bring the club and its fans even closer together, which is of course in keeping with our motto – ‘Life is for sharing.’”
As well as real-time AR and VR applications, visitors to the ground can now stream videos even faster and with higher resolution. Since May 2020 5G has been available in the Allianz Arena, thanks to the installation of 11 5G antennas offering data speed of an incredible 1GB. In support, a further 40 LTE antennas have also been installed. As a result, fans can become a virtual twelfth team member, running alongside their heroes or joining in goal celebrations. Virtual competitions among the spectators, for example a penalty shoot-out, are also possible, with the other spectators looking on. And fans can take advantage of cloud gaming functions to test their own skills in a quick half-time game.
These are just some of the many features that are allowing Deutsche Telekom, FC Bayern Munich, and 5G to bring soccer into the information age.
Singing a new song
Live music has also been affected the pandemic. But in Norway Telia have teamed up with the Oya Festival to revolutionise the fans’ experience, creating some of the fastest, sharpest, and most sophisticated coverage ever seen. For over 20 years the Oya festival has built a reputation as an unmissable event in Norway, and the young audience are hungry for innovation and new live experiences.
Together with equipment manufacturer Quine and production company Trippel-M Living Pictures they launched the first-ever commercial media production with 5G.
“There is no denying that we think it’s a challenge to be the world’s first to use this new and innovative 5G technology in the video production during the festival. We are proud of this,” says Oya festival manager Tonje Kaada.
The cameras use the 5G network to transmit live video files in real time, allowing editing to begin immediately. This is an important benefit in building on the momentum of the event since it dramatically speeds up the release of high quality event footage to the fans. It allows finished content to be viewed and shared online, used in social media, or provided to the media and the audience while the concert is taking place. Meaning guests can re-live incredible moments while still soaking up the live atmosphere.
“With 5G, we get completely new opportunities to tailor-make communication solutions for specific purposes, such as what we are doing during the festival,” says Jon Christian Hillestad, Director of Telia Business. “The 5G network used in the production is lightning fast, has high capacity and is not affected in any way by the festival participants’ mobile use. We use our own frequencies and bandwidths for the 5G signals. The speeds we get during the festival are more than ten times faster than the speed most people have in the broadband at home. We’re seeing a good example of how mobile technology enables a significantly more efficient work process.”
5G is the world’s new stage
The exploitation of 5G technology for enhanced audience experiences in live sport and entertainment is limited only by creativity and imagination. Members of the FreeMove Alliance continue to build pioneering collaborations with sports clubs, event organisers, broadcasters and other partners aimed at exploring the limits of 5G technology, and bringing the intensity and exhilaration of live events to an ever wider audience.