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Telit lands 5G connected NFL helmet gig

A company that specializes in embedding cameras in American football helmets is using Telit to connect them via 5G.

Orbi has only been around for a few years and seems to be a kind of GoPro for professional sports, currently specializing in American football. This looks like a rare example of 5G potentially justifying its existence as it’s only now that we’re able to wirelessly stream enough bandwidth over distance, which is where IoT specialist Telit comes in.

Specifically we’re talking about 5G data cards, which are mini circuit boards containing, among other things, a Qualcomm 5G modem and antenna module. The partnership with Orbi allows the cameras embedded in the players’ helmets to stream a live 360-degree player’s eye view of the on-field mayhem. This represents a significant new perspective on professional sports, one which people may be prepared to pay a premium for.

“Imagine being able to experience Super Bowl LIV from a players’ point of view – live in 8K video at 60 fps – on TV or a VR headset,” said Iskander Rakhman, CEO of Orbi. “The Orbi 5G helmet is the only commercially available headset that enables those kinds of revolutionary fan experiences. When we needed to select a 5G solution, our design house partner recommended Telit, which had exactly the data card we needed – and before any other vendor we considered.”

“Orbi is a prime example of how innovators and disruptors turn to Telit when they need the latest mobile technologies to make their vision reality,” said Dennis Kelly, SVP Sales Americas at Telit. “With the Telit FN980 series inside, the Orbi 5G helmet can take advantage of the newly ratified 3GPP Rel. 15 standard and the rapidly growing number of football stadiums with 5G networks.”

“We’re excited to collaborate with Telit and ORBI to unlock this new and exciting 5G application powered by the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System,” said Gautam Sheoran, Senior Director of Product Management at Qualcomm. “The ORBI 5G Helmet, is an innovative example of how 5G is addressing bandwidth intensive applications like professional video broadcasting that require the unprecedented speeds of 5G mmWave.”

This might be a fairly niche use-case right now, but it could be big and at least provides a timely real-world example of the kind of product innovation 5G can enable. It’s easy to see how multiple wirelessly connected cameras could significantly enhance both the remote and in-stadium viewing experience and we look forward to seeing the footage produced.

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