Vodafone looks to lead 5G revolution in sports - Mobile World Live

Vodafone looks to lead 5G revolution in sports

09 OCT 2019

Vodafone UK continued a push to offer regional innovation centres, opening a new facility in Coventry which aims to highlight the potential benefits next generation technologies hold for local businesses.

In a statement, the operator explained its Vodafone Business Lounge aims to enable businesses to collaborate on innovative new services using 5G, IoT and high-speed fibre.

Vodafone is targeting innovations in fields including entertainment, healthcare and social services, with businesses also offered access to industry experts offering insights on the benefits 5G offers.

The opening of the Vodafone Business Lounge follows the inauguration of the operator’s Digital Innovation Hub in MediaCityUK, Salford in June, which has similar goals in terms of technology and attracting corporate users.

Broad use cases
Vodafone’s Coventry centre is located in the Ricoh Arena, which houses business facilities alongside the sports ground of Wasps Rugby Football Club.

Anne Sheehan, director of Vodafone Business UK (pictured, right), told Mobile World Live 5G can be used to support sports clubs and players, while also transforming the fan experience.

“We’ve got some fantastic ideas about how we bring the fan experience, both for the fans who come to Ricoh Arena to see Wasps play but also for the fans who don’t get to come to the stadium and bring it to life at home,” she said, adding new innovations in this regard will be announced in the coming weeks.

The operator provided some cues at a launch event yesterday (8 October) with demonstrations of a VR rugby drop goal and a haptic suit which simulates a tackle.

Sheehan added Vodafone believes 5G will change the way sports organisations can operate commercially and “revolutionise how athletes improve their fitness and how they train”.

Network
While the focus was on next-generation technologies, Sheehan emphasised Vodafone was not overlooking 4G deployments, as part of a broader strategy to encourage economic growth in Coventry and the surrounding West Midlands region.

Businesses and politicians in the area “genuinely have an ambition to make this a digital hub that could really be a platform globally for innovation for the next big organisations to come out of the regions”, she explained.

Sport
During the event, Vodafone also released a study showing more than 75 per cent of business leaders from UK sports organisations will use 5G as a platform for fan experience innovations.

The same proportion believe the network will allow them to improve fan engagement with services includin live-streaming video, mixed reality experiences and real-time access to information.

Vodafone’s current investment in 5G is £2 billion, spanning 12 sites in the country. It aims to double the number of sites by the year-end.

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Yanitsa Boyadzhieva

Yanitsa joins Mobile World Live as a Reporter based in London. She has more than 5 years’ experience at various media outlets in her home country Bulgaria. She started her career as a political reporter, followed by taking editor roles...

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