he Covid-19 pandemic has put a stop to sporting events around the globe with many competitions forced to cancel or postpone to a later date. However, in the recent weeks, several sporting events are resuming with shortened seasons and without fans in attendance. To help to recreate the in person look and feel of the sporting event for both players and fans, many organisations are relying on a number of cutting edge technologies.
The 104th annual Indianapolis 500 was postponed earlier this year, with the original date being the 24th May, but the race took place yesterday, on the 23rd August without any fans in attendance. To enhance the fan experience from home on race day, Verizon announced a series of 5G-enabled features.
Race Day In Augmented Reality
As fans are not able to attend the historic race in person this year, Verizon used AR to virtually transport a select number of fans to the raceway using the company's 5G Ultra Wideband service.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield featured a 5G-enabled, high-definition, 360-degree camera allowing fans to use their smartphones to access the AR portal. Within the portal, fans could select their preferred perspective and view for greater control over the experience.
In a recent press release, Verizon’s Chief Product Development Officer, Nicki Palmer stated:
"With so many sports fans unable to attend live events due to the pandemic, 5G can help bring them into the heart of the action and provide a new and immersive viewing experience using applications like augmented and virtual reality,"
5G Broadcast Footage, Past Races, and Streaming
Verizon used its 5G Ultra Wideband capabilities to enhance the live broadcast. In partnership with NBC, Verizon used a 5G broadcast camera placed near the finish line. NBC producers incorporated "select shots" from this camera stream into the broadcast.
This wasn’t the first time 5G has been used at the Indy 500. Last year Team Penske used 5G Ultra Wideband to examine their performance as cars entered and exited the track's first turn, which then allowed the team to analyse the drivers performance and assist them to make real time changes as the driver speeds around the track.
Palmer Concluded by saying:
"For broadcasters, 5G means no wires on the track giving camera people the ability to move around quickly and gather various shots. It also means producers don't need to travel and be on-site at sporting events enabling them to produce broadcasts from anywhere in the world."