The starting point for this scheme, led by Al Jazeera, was to assess the current potential of 5G production for live sports ahead of two major global sporting events in 2022 – the recently-concluded Winter Olympics in Beijing and the FIFA World Cup, which will take place in Qatar at the end of this year.
Introducing the session, IBC Innovation Lead & Adviser Mark Smith highlighted the intensive “six months of planning and network architecture” work on 5G and content production that had taken place prior to technology trials at the FIFA Arab Cup in Doha last November and December. From the innovative use of drones to AI-enabled cameras, the Accelerator was “really showing the way through for the future of broadcast production,” said Smith.
Grant Totten – who is Head of Cloud, Analytics & Insights at Al Jazeera Media Network – said that the Accelerator team wanted to explore how “5G could potentially enable multiple coverage opportunities and make the logistics of events ever-easier. And we wanted to set this up with remote production, AI and edge computing as they really work together to provide that experience.”
Ultimately, the Accelerator made progress on several key fronts: the trialing of state of the art contribution technologies, including video compression from Net Insight; the assessment of new live remote 5G production workflows; and the development of immersive fan engagement experiences via a dedicated app.
Fathi Albatie, Broadcast Services Engineer at Al Jazeera Media Network, said that the ability to purpose-build a 5G network at Doha College was especially useful: “It would have been difficult to do this in a public space, [especially in terms of] using drones, but at the college we had the necessary permits. It was very beneficial for the project.”