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Create, innovate and accelerate: How 5G technology will forever alter the audience experience

Posted 18 Feb 2021

In the search for better audience engagement, the creative industries are on the cusp of a new generation of technologies like 5G that will transform how people interact with brands, sports, entertainment and even work.

The rollout of 5G technology will offer speeds that are 10 times faster than 4G with almost no latency at all, and the capacity to handle 100 times more traffic. In the future, the same technology will be 100 times faster than 4G, so it is difficult to fully emphasise the potential in the creative sphere, but let’s have a go.

Immersive live experiences of any event

Because 5G networks will soon carry around 45% of global mobile data, mobile users will be able to live stream 4K UHD video, eventually rising to 8K UHD. This offers the chance for users to engage directly with live events as they happen, from sporting spectacles to celebrity launches and film premieres, all from a mobile device.

But it’s the immersive possibilities of 5G technology that are most intriguing. Through 5G, AR and VR experiences can be created in the cloud and sent instantaneously to tens of thousands of users via a headset, allowing them to interact in 360 degrees, in real-time with no buffering, loading or lag.

Transformed sports broadcasting

This has a particular appeal to sports fans, allowing them to experience games in complete immersion. Already in Qatar, football supporters have been able to view matches remotely in VR, switching between angles and camera selections for an intensely personal experience.

And in Korea, baseball fans have been treated to a pre-game AR display featuring a dragon that settled in the middle of the stadium.

The 5G VISTA project will provide enhanced interactive viewing experiences direct to devices in stadia and at other select locations, using 5G broadcast, to deliver content and ways of watching which open the possibilities for collaborative viewing and interplay between venues meaning that watching a sporting event becomes a social occasion, even if you cannot leave the house.

Untethered live broadcasting in general

One of the inherent limitations of live programming is the need for a wired connection for high quality broadcasts. 5G frees producers to move closer to where the viewers want them to be, with lower production costs, more broadcast options and the ability to provide a completely immersive experience, attracting new viewers and providing new options for existing audiences.

But beyond the viewer experience, 5G also offers broadcasters advantages such as the ability to ‘slice’ portions of the 5G network to ensure exclusive use, preventing disruption during moments of high traffic. This is particularly important within a stadium or area of high internet usage as it will allow every user to get the same experience.

New forms of video advertising

The value of interactive content has been well established by marketers for a very long time. However, the limitations of network speeds mean that brands have shied away from video marketing on mobile devices. 5G speeds will allow 4K UHD interactive content to be streamed directly to consumers, with messaging and narratives that evolve according to how users engage.

Smarter remote working

If you have been somewhat sentient over the last 12 months, you may have noticed a slight change in the way the working world has operated. Better broadband and improved remote working policies have allowed employees to still be effective while away from the office. But 5G will take this a step further, allowing creative industries to offer high-performance, collaborative remote work from any location. Just as with other aspects of the technology, this can include AR and VR interactive working, or cooperating across new media.

Mobile gaming in ultra-high definition

Mobile gaming via the cloud will also become far more ubiquitous, allowing users to stream ultra-high-definition games instantaneously. With platforms like Google Stadia already offering users the option to play high-spec games on any device, 5G technology will allow players to enjoy the same level of graphic quality outside the home as well.

Interactive live entertainment

Imagine living in Edinburgh and being able to experience your favourite artist live in LA, as they collaborate with an orchestra in London in real time. This is the goal of the 5G Festival, a project which will showcase a blend of creative talent with the power of advanced digital technologies, broadcast live directly to audiences at remote locations from world-leading venues, as well as producing novel cross-technological immersive in-venue experiences.

To learn more about our 5G Testbed Accelerator programme, register your interest now. And to discover further innovation opportunities, sign up to our newsletter.