These views of tomorrow are based on conversations with industry leaders at the forefront of creating the 5G future, as shared in iHeart Radio’s This Time Tomorrow podcast sponsored by T-Mobile for Business.
View 1: Putting power in the fans’ hands
The way we watch, play, and coach our favorite sports and games is changing as sports become more and more integrated with technology. Krishna Bhagavathula, chief technology officer of the National Basketball Association, shares how new technologies powered by 5G will increase engagement and viewership, and enhance the fan experience.
In the future, fans may be able to actively create their own unique experience of a sporting event, from choosing what camera or perspective to watch the game from to augmenting real games with live stats or other personalized information.
Bhagavathula contends that “at the end of the day, what 5G does is … improve the reliability of the connection and it's going to improve the speed of the data. That translates to a better experience for the fan.”
View 2: Gaming for everyone
Arguably the first company to really bring augmented reality mainstream is Niantic with Pokemon Go, the global phenomenon that sent wannabe trainers across the physical world to “Catch ’em all!” Diana Hu, head of the Augmented Reality Platform at Niantic, speaks about mobile gaming’s ability to cross generational divides and how 5G may revolutionize the gaming and sports worlds alike.
“Pokemon Go was the game that put augmented reality in the vocabulary of your six-year-old to your sixty-year-old,” says Hu. “The fascinating thing about Pokemon Go and the games that we build is that they're intergenerational.”
According to her, while AR is incredible now, the next step will be sharing that AR and experiencing the real and digital world with others. The ability to see a personal augmented reality is cool, but what if your friends could see and interact with this overlay as well? This future may only be possible through the increased speed and capacity of 5G, and if today’s games are a good example, 5G will have the power to foster technology that may be as revolutionary as the smartphone.
With 5G, Hu believes, “We can take advantage to really get that experience of really low latency, so that sharing with your friends... feels natural.”
View 3: Through the HoloLens
So how will the world experience these new realities? Right now, like with Niantec’s Pokemon Go, the answer is through a smartphone. But the true promise of AR comes when we imagine it as a seamless overlay on top of our existing world. Charlie Han, from Microsoft’s HoloLens team, is working on creating just that.
HoloLens 2 is the second-generation mixed-reality headset built by Microsoft. This wearable device has a kind of transparent visor that projects a hologram onto your eyes, allowing you to see both real and virtual worlds at the same time. This ability could give workers more information on the job, coaches more information on the playing field, and even fans more information when they’re watching their favorite team. Right now the HoloLens isn’t ready for the public, but 5G could help get it there.
“Think about the last time you've been to a 75,000-person football stadium and [you’re] trying to use your phone, right?” says Han. “You start bringing in things like 5G and suddenly you can start actually serving a wide number of customers in a particular location.”
This, combined with the ability to connect devices together, could create a truly transformative future.
“The thing that actually really sits in my mind is this notion of not just what you can interact with on your own, but that as everything becomes networked, everything becomes interconnected,” says Han.
Want to hear more about the connected future of gaming and sports? Listen to “Changing the Game with 5G,” part of iHeart Radio’s This Time Tomorrow podcast sponsored by T-Mobile for Business.