The huge mobile data requirements of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will mandate the use of 5G, and prove a platform for operators looking for standout use cases for the burgeoning technology.

An example of the data consumed came from Patrick Adiba, COO and CEO of Olympic and major events, Atos, who said at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, only one per cent of the interactions – from people running the games, the spectators and so on – went via a mobile phone.

“This rose to between 30-35 per cent in London in 2012; 60-70 per cent in Sochi [2014], and almost 100 per cent in Rio.”

“The Games are effectively consumed almost all on the mobile. Because of that, people not only want competition results, they want a lot more information – data compared to previous Games, for example, maybe look at video. That’s a huge amount of data multiplied by the number of spectators. It’s a total change of paradigm,” said Adiba in the keynote session: Connecting the Main Event.

The Atos exec highlighted the switch by consumers from watching Olympics content on TV to the mobile handset. “However, this means enormous amounts of data being consumed and the current infrastructure will be unable to cope, and what’s needed to meet this demand is 5G together with NFV.”

This combination of 5G and NFV was emphasised by Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware. “There’ll be two kinds of 5G deployments. Those that are done with an NFV architecture, and those that fail.”

“We will be entering a new world driven by 5G and NFV which will bring about a transfer in the value chain. While the use case for 5G haven’t yet been invented, it’s clear that there will be fundamental change as the industry moves from a silo-based approach to a platform that is horizontal, cloud-based and using NFV.”