Testbeds & trials

Connected Cowes

  • Started on 13 Jan 2021

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  • Government funding: £826,915
  • Total project value: £ 1,654,389
  • Location: South East, Isle of Wight

The Connected Cowes project is looking at how 5G technology can create an immersive yacht racing experience for the sailing community and spectators in Cowes and online, and to widen the audience and appeal of the sport.

5G technology will be used to stream real-time, virtual reality video from on-board yachts racing at events from Cowes across multiple classes throughout the summer. This will be used to create engaging content and enable an immersive teaching experience using 5G-powered VR as a gateway to the sport.

Laurence Mead, Regatta Director at Cowes Week said: "We are thrilled to be able to take sailing into a new age. It's such a diverse and inclusive sport and we can't wait to be able to bring it out of the water and onto the internet via 5G.

“This funding is going to enable us to showcase world-beating, non-stadium sports coverage. Our event takes place over 20 square miles of water and will test 5G to the limit.”

About Connected Cowes

Led by Cowes Week Limited (CWL) with partners aql and 1851 Trust, the Connected Cowes project will explore the use of 5G at one of the oldest and most respected regattas in the world, Cowes Week. The project will see the sailing event go digital to drive awareness of marine impact, science in sailing and marine technology to engage the next generation of innovators and sailors.  
 
5G technology will be used to stream real-time, virtual reality video from on-board yachts racing at Cowes Week. This footage will then be used to create engaging content and an immersive teaching experience using 5G-powered VR as a gateway to the sport.  
  
High definition 360° cameras will be fitted to 50 boats in 2021’s regatta, each of those cameras beaming back real-time, high-definition pictures to the Cowes Live TV presentation which will be shown on big screens around the town, as well as being available on the internet worldwide. 
 
A virtual reality lounge on the Parade in Cowes will enable spectators to don headsets and be transported out to one of the 50 boats to see exactly what’s going on across the Solent.  
 
The new Cowes Week Spectator App will bring all of this technology directly to spectators, both in the UK and around the world, further enhancing Cowes Week‘s global reach as one of the most famous sailing regattas in the world. Race organisers will look use the new technology to enhance their race management capabilities of the 700 boats circulating on 42 different racecourses every day. 
 
aql, a long-term sponsor at Cowes Week, are providing the technical infrastructure to make the project a reality, and after the regatta the 1851 Trust will put together a 5G STEM learning package. 

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