The explosion of smart devices, applications and consumer demand for bandwidth is driving investment in 5G and network transformation. Consumers want to access unique, immersive entertainment experiences from any device, at any place and time and at the highest possible quality of service.
5G networks will offer media companies and brands an unprecedented opportunity to meet customers where they want to be, and deliver new experiences that make their lives better and more exciting. These experiences can deepen customer relationships and create new revenue opportunities.
At Intel, we help companies rethink how they capture and create content, and architect networks that deliver those new experiences. Specifically, we drive innovation for the 5G future, from devices and the network edge to the cloud and data centers.
Connecting Sports Fans and Brands with 5G
Disney, parent company of ESPN, recently announced its own over-the-top (OTT) solution, signaling a strategic shift to create direct consumer relationships. While the company will continue to work with MSOs and others, it is clear that ESPN and Disney believe consumers will pay a premium for unique, sports content. 5G offers companies the opportunity to connect with mobile consumers around a variety of entertainment experiences.
Let’s look at how 5G technology will shape the way companies and consumers engage around live sporting events. Imagine arriving at the Nou Camp in Barcelona or Wembley Stadium in London with your device in hand. It’s a big game and you don’t want to be late. Do you need directions to available parking in real time, adjusting as spaces fill up? Just follow the prompts. Once inside the stadium, follow the directions to your seats, shopping or non-busy restrooms. These are basic location services consumers expect, but what else might they want?
During the match, how about connecting to real-time content? Do you want to see plays from every angle on the Jumbotron or watch interactive highlights and replays on a variety of devices? Would you rather listen to a particular broadcast team (home vs away)? What about accessing exclusive, behind-the-scenes content only available to fans in the stadium? Would you enjoy more interactive games whether you play them from your seat or in a pavilion with other fans? What about special offers from in-stadium sponsors?
5G will be necessary to connect the hundreds of thousands of devices to fans, employees and the applications that surround the stadium. Communication service providers are deploying high-powered computing resources as close to the fans and these devices as possible.
Intel is currently working with China Unicom Shanghai, Nokia and Tencent to deliver a multi-access edge computing solution at Shanghai Mercedes Benz Arena. Customers of China Unicom who visit the arena are able to enjoy multiple view angles of the event, powered by Nokia Edge Video Orchestration (EVO) Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) solution. With MEC, China Unicom customers can also enjoy significantly improved real-time viewing experience by taking advantage of shorter latency in the arena.
Packaging Live Sport Content for Millions of Fans
With technologies such as those provided by Intel Sports, brands, teams, leagues, content and service providers can empower fans to deeply engage with immersive media and breathtaking experiences that lead to new services and monetization opportunities. If Disney is courting consumers for live sports experiences, there is an opportunity for sports teams, content providers, MSOs and others to do the same. How much would a consumer value a premium, interactive experience for an NFL, FIFA or other event, and how much is it worth to them?
Legos* and Cartoons and Heroes - Oh, My!
Media companies can leverage original programming, gaming and other content to deliver immersive experiences to strengthen and monetize direct consumer relationships.
Entertainment brands can forge deeper connections with their customer with immersive, 5G experiences across TV, movies and games, just as Universal extended its owned and licensed brands, such as DC Comics and Lego. If the majority of a cartoon’s audience is connected through a digital platform or device, that audience is ripe for an immersive, virtual reality experience or game. Why is a cartoon from Turner Broadcasting’s Cartoon Network or Adult Swim any different from a mobile app with in-game purchases?
Network Transformation for 5G
5G networks must be designed with the intelligence, flexibility and speed required to support these immersive consumer experiences from inside stadiums to wherever fans want to engage with their favorite teams or brands.
New technologies, such as software defined network (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV), are fundamental to the delivery of 5G. Network operators must deploy high-powered computing and intelligence resources at the edge of the network in order to power applications with tremendous bandwidth requirements.
While service providers invest in network transformation, they will also deploy new capture and encoding technologies that minimize bandwidth requirements for the creation, transmission and consumption of video content. Advances in video capture technology are required to render stunning, 360 degree environments, individuals and objects. Intel® True VR, for example, offers a flexible platform for more personalization, giving the fans the choice of creating their own experience. In addition, Intel works with ecosystem partners to develop support for 10-bit high efficiency video encoding (HEVC) on Intel® Xeon® processor platforms. This means companies can process video files more efficiently – translating into lower latency without a loss in video quality.
Intel & the Ecosystem: Shaping the 5G and Media Future
I’ve outlined a few emerging business opportunities in the early application of 5G, but there will be developments we cannot anticipate today.
Intel is working with communication service providers, MSOs, content companies, broadcasters and technology partners around the world to prepare for 5G and the network transformation required to support it. We are in 5G trials with AT&T in the United States, smart stadiums in China and other tests in between. These companies are ramping up 5G deployments and network transformation at costs that are scalable and sustainable.
Early adopters will learn from these tests and be prepared to win in the 5G world. The technology is available, and there are real opportunities to monetize these services beyond operational savings. The time is now for communication service providers and other network operators to put the infrastructure in place.
Don’t miss your window of opportunity.
Learn More at IBC2017: Keynote, Panel
I am honored to lead a keynote panel discussion, titled, “Leading the Digital Media Transformation in 5G Network Era.” Please join me on Monday, September 18 from 9:45-10:15 local time.
What: Leading the Digital Media Transformation in 5G Network Era
Where: In the Forum, Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Congress Centre
When: Monday, September 18 from 9:30-10:15 local time.
Participants: Steve Plunkett, CTO Media and Broadcast business, Ericsson; Chris Carey, CTO and chief of strategy, Verizon Digital Media Services; Emili Planas, CTO and Operations Manager, Media Pro.
Hear industry experts talk about:
- Sports AR Experience: opportunities & Impact
- Business Transformation: Opportunities for new business
- Technology Enablers: How capture and VR/AR technologies will drive the industry forward