Hello, my name is Paul Carter. I am the CEO of Global Wireless Solutions, and a member of the Project VISTA (Video In-Stadia Technical Architecture) consortium. The consortium’s objective is to test, trial and ultimately showcase new and exciting digital experiences at sports and music venues by taking full advantage of advanced 5G broadcast capabilities using FeMBMS (Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service).
5G is based on a feature-rich, flexible architecture—and 5G broadcast, through the use of FeMBMS, is capable of supporting an entire stadium of fans. We’re using it to deliver next-generation viewing experiences for event spectators by providing live multi-angle HD video streams and interactive content from the event directly to their devices in stadiums and across the UK.
Our end goal is to demonstrate consumer interest and potential business models to enable 5G-powered live-streaming at sporting and music events across the UK. Soon, hopefully, if you’re watching a football match and you miss an exciting tackle, you’ll be able to select the camera angle that you prefer, then rewind and rewatch it on your phone. Imagine that!
Global Wireless Solutions, founded 25 years ago, is conducting focus groups and market research surveys to understand what customers care about, and how they could benefit from this 5G-based service. In general, we will recruit from a range of demographics and ask consumers about their habits and interests (what they like, what they don’t like, how often they attend events and which one, how much they would pay for such a service, and so on), and then we listen to what they have to say.
Project VISTA offers a fascinating journey into understanding people’s passion for sports and music and how this new technology could enhance their experience. And, for GWS, it’s also about collaborating with other companies that are on the leading edge of this new technology in terms of introducing new, innovative applications and services.
1. What do you enjoy most about working on your 5G project?
Bringing a consumer-centric perspective to the development of new technology while working with consortium members that are at the forefront of this game-changing technology.
2. What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve done in the name of 5G?
In addition to conducting consumer research, we do performance testing of wireless networks. In November 2019, we spent several days walking the streets of London searching for 5G coverage to test. While testing we carry loads of phones and equipment and people can become very suspicious – so we received countless strange looks, and, perhaps most ridiculous of all was the amount of walking we did as there was little 5G coverage to find. We have even been approached by security personnel, who were nervous that we were planning something threatening!
3. What excites you most about the project?
I really enjoy that Project VISTA will give people control over how they watch live events – offering very tangible benefits including choice and control over content such as which camera angle they want to see, background information about the teams and more. In addition to the “close to the action” viewing features, there is also the possibility of in-app opportunities for enterprising companies to provide something special, something helpful to fans. Whether it’s live information about local travel, venue offerings, or other relevant content, it’s all about introducing a digital platform of unique, consumer-focused services.
4. What would you like people to know about the project?
That we want to enhance people’s experience! Lots of people have game and concert rituals, and our goal is to make that experience even more enjoyable and memorable. This is about celebrating what exists today and making it even better.
The technology will enable high-definition viewing and superior network capacity at events, resulting in reliable live viewing and enabling more spectators at the event to stream live video via an app – ultimately resulting in a higher quality experience. Today, at events, these are stumbling blocks using current mobile technology.
5. What’s the biggest benefit you think 5G will bring to the UK?
I think it could greatly narrow, if not close, the digital divide and bring resolution to “no-service” areas. It should, hopefully, be for everyone and not just a few. This will change how we live, work and play. As my company conducts tests of the mobile networks in cities, towns and along major roads across the UK, we are seeing notable performance improvements as a result of the deployment of 5G. There is good reason to be optimistic about the benefits of 5G.
We have all come to rely on our 4G wireless networks for many activities in our daily lives, and 5G promises to integrate itself into our world in an even more profound way. If 4G enabled us to arrange a ride from our phones and track its progress via a ride-sharing app, 5G could bring the car to us without the need to even have a driver.