5G boost for watching Wimbledon tennis

5G boost for watching Wimbledon tennis

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Visually impaired spectators at the finals of the Wimbledon tennis competition this weekend will be to see much more of the action with a 5G technology demonstrator.

Live footage is streamed from local TV cameras around Wimbledon over 5G to a headset developed by London-based GiveVision. This enhances the footage to suit the person’s specific sight profile.

The company was started in 2014 to develop technology based on smartphones which has been integrated into VR headsets. 

The technology is being trialled on Centre Court and No. 1 Court and allows fans to watch the match live from anywhere in the stands. Previously, sports fans using the headsets could watch the live broadcast feed but they would need to stay within 10-20m of a transmitter box in a pre-determined ‘accessibility’ area, with each box only able to support a limited number of headsets.

Vodafone 5G covers an entire court or stadium, in unlimited numbers, so visually impaired fans can enjoy the action from anywhere in the crowd alongside friends and family.

As well as accessing the live feeds, people testing the headsets can switch between modes and use the camera phone in the headset to focus on whatever action they like.

“Providing opportunities like this really helps to open tennis up and make the whole experience more inclusive. The technology is brilliant – the clarity, the option to change modes, the ability to see whatever I want – it gives me such a sense of freedom,” said triallist Rosie Pybus.

As each individual’s sight loss varies, the headsets can be adjusted to fit the specific requirements of each person, allowing the wearer to tailor the experience to their personal needs and independently follow the on-court action. This includes features like amending the zoom, brightness and contrast of the footage.

“At GiveVision, our mission is to redefine accessibility standards for visually impaired spectators at all UK sports and entertainment venues. By working with Vodafone and using their 5G network, we’re improving stadium accessibility without any infrastructure changes, giving visually impaired tennis fans an immersive experience at the prestigious Wimbledon Championships,” said Elodie Draperi, France-based CEO of GiveVision.

After a successful trial, Vodafone is exploring the possibility of making the 5G headsets more widely available at future Championships, as well as at other live sporting events across Vodafone partners.

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