Verizon revs up 5G video tech for Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Wikimedia Commons)

Verizon is working with NBC Sports on 5G video technology for the Indianapolis 500, which will run this year without fans in attendance.

The wireless provider said its “5G Ultra Wideband” service will be used to give select fans a view of the race from the infield via a high-definition, 5G-enabled, 360-degree camera. The fans will be able to access the camera through an AR portal on their smartphones and will be able to control their view by choosing their favorite angles or perspectives.

The public driver’s meeting, which typically takes place the day before the race, will be held virtually this year. The event is being live streamed on Verizon’s recently acquired BlueJeans platform and will be available on Verizon’s Twitter and YouTube channels and IMS.com.

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Verizon is also working with NBC Sports on ways to use 5G for capturing and producing live sports broadcasts. Verizon will have a 5G-connected broadcast camera on the track near the start-finish flag stand. The video from the camera will be streamed over 5G to the broadcast compound where NBC Sports producers will incorporate select shots into the live broadcast. Verizon said 5G’s low latency and high bandwidth will allow broadcast quality video to be transmitted wirelessly to producers, whether onsite or offsite. The company said that 5G wireless connectivity means that cameras won’t be encumbered by cords and it could reduce setup time on the track.

“With so many sports fans unable to attend live events due to the pandemic, 5G can help bring them into the heart of the action and provide a new and immersive viewing experience using applications like augmented and virtual reality,” said Nicki Palmer, chief product development officer at Verizon, in a statement. “For broadcasters, 5G means no wires on the track giving camera people the ability to move around quickly and gather various shots. It also means producers don’t need to travel and be on-site at sporting events enabling them to produce broadcasts from anywhere in the world.”

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