5G industry news Technologies | Augmented, Virtual & Mixed Reality

State-of-the-art immersive platform to transform football fans’ at-home experience

  • 4 minute read
  • Published by Crispin Moller on 15 Mar 2022
  • Last modified 14 Mar 2022
An audio innovation, driven by AI, has the potential to change the game for football fans forever. The groundbreaking innovation adds spatial audio to stunning 360 video and can improve the game experience whether watching on a device at home, in the pub or out and about with friends.
Vista AR image
With strategically-placed cameras and microphones, viewers can watch the game from their chosen point of view, whether that be from behind the goal, from the halfway line or even from the corner flag. But to add to this visual experience, the microphones are cleverly mixed using AI to only pick up the sounds that matter. Whilst triangulation is used to pan the sounds to the correct places in the scene. 

In addition to capturing the on-pitch sounds, special immersive audio microphones are carefully placed within the stands to provide a dynamic and immersive audio capture that can be rotated viewers change their visual perspective. That means, if someone is viewing it from behind the goal within their team’s half, they will be able to feel like they were actually in the stands at the event.

SalsaSound, the audio specialists behind the project, aim to develop an accessible experience for fans around the globe, no matter where they are. They are a key partner in the 5G Edge-XR project, funded by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and led by BT, alongside The Grid Factory, Condense Reality, DanceEast and the University of Bristol. Their audio technology automatically captures, mixes and renders audio using AI to create a spatialised sound that enhances immersion in the augmented and virtual reality experiences. 

Rob Oldfield - Salsa Sound

Rob Oldfield from SalsaSound explains exactly what this addition of spatial audio will do for a fan’s experience.

“It’s often the audio that helps people buy-in to immersive experiences and having spatial audio capture from a fan's perspective, which dynamically updates as viewers customise their visual perspective, is a gamechanger. This kind of sound will help viewers and fans better engage with the content and actually feel part of the event as they take on the role of a participant rather than a passive spectator.” 

Rob Oldfield from SalsaSound

5G Edge-XR looks to demonstrate how 5G and edge-based graphics rendering can be combined to support a range of high-end extended reality (XR) services that support a diverse group of industries. These sectors include dance education and sports broadcasting, alongside construction and retail uses - creating new opportunities for the UK and global businesses and cultural sector organisations. 

As the spectators see and hear the game in real-time, they also have access to a virtual-reality dashboard that contains stats on the entire match. Maybe they want to check if their team has the majority of possession, or even rewind and rewatch a goal, it’s all at their fingertips. The data is live and changes as the game progresses, allowing fans to remain in the know of the most crucial statistics. 

This is all building towards sport in the metaverse where viewers will be able to watch the action live from any vantage point and do so with fans, friends, family who could be geographically anywhere in the world. It is the start of the next media revolution for live sport. 

Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said, "We're proud to be part of this project exploring how 5G can immerse football fans in the spine-tingling atmosphere of a live game like never before.

"It's just one of dozens of innovative trials we've funded as part of our £200 million plan to seize the power of 5G to boost our economy and improve people's lives."

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