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BT Sport on its vision for augmented live sports broadcasting becoming reality with 5G

  • 3 minute read
  • Published by Lucy Woods on 16 Sep 2020
  • Last modified 16 Sep 2020
Written by By Heather McLean, Editor of SVG Europe

BT Sport recently became one of the winners of the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) funding boost for 5G, under the 5G Create competition.

BT Sport Edge-XR

Boxing with a 3D AR version of the match on your coffee table could become a reality with BT Sport

Named 5G Edge-XR, the consortium led by BT’s Media and Research teams alongside TheGridFactory, Condense Reality, Bristol University, Dance East, and Salsa Sound, will develop virtual and augmented reality experiences for live sport, working closely with BT Sport.

5G Edge-XR will enable people to view immersive sporting events from all angles, across a broader range of devices including smartphones, tablets, AR and VR headsets and TVs.

The project is worth a total of £2,558,494, with £1,486,004 of that figure coming from the DCMS out of the 5G Create competition fund. The project will run over 20 months, using 15 full time employees.

Immersive sporting experiences

Speaking to SVG Europe, Matt Stagg, BT Sport’s director of mobile strategy, explained the idea behind 5G Edge-XR’s goal: “We’ve been looking for a long time at how we can provide more immersive experiences as technology evolves. We had a vision for how we can use 5G for doing exactly that, around how we can take the value we have as a broadcaster for people within stadiums and then using the technology and our capabilities [to work out] how we can bring that stadium experience into the home for people who can’t go.

“Already, we’ve got a lot of interactive and immersive things on the BT Sport app, but it’s [about] how do we take that to the next level, and that’s all around volumetric capture, augmented reality, and virtual reality,” he notes.

“This is the most exiting area of sport technology I’ve ever been involved in, the vision for 5G and augmented experiences for sport is coming to life”

BT Sport is pushing everything within this vision under the mixed or cross reality (XR) banner, “because XR really changes your actual reality to increase the experience either through immersive means or access to content and experiences you wouldn’t have had otherwise, with the ability to be able to turn that on and off, to be the curator of your own experience in the home and outside of the home,” notes Stagg.

Stagg wrote the vision for this project at the beginning of 2019.

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