BT presents a straightforward use case for 5G at live sports

BT 5G stadium

UK telco group BT used the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Saracens v Northampton Saints as a showcase for an understated but practical sounding bit of private 5G.

BT Media & Broadcast (the media focussed bit of BT) installed its Vena network and hooked up cameras in the stadium to a private 5G network, and these cameras’ feeds then formed part of the live BT Sport coverage of the match.

What’s the presence of 5G bringing to the table? BT says that broadcast cameras usually connect to the outside broadcast solely using radio (RF) signals which rely on proprietary equipment, and 5G allows for a range of camera devices in more places to be used for broadcast, which opens up ‘new creative and operational benefits to broadcasters.’ This is apparently a UK first since ‘never before have key matchday cameras, as part of a customer broadcast, been enabled in this way.’

“These pioneering collaborations demonstrate how our new smart broadcast network, Vena, along with private 5G and cloud technology, can make a huge difference to the way broadcasters produce coverage of rugby, football and other sports, and can provide a number of creative, sustainable and operational benefits,” said Faisal Mahomed, Director of BT Media & Broadcast. “BT continues to innovate and harness the power of 5G and cloud production to introduce new products and services for our customers and partners.”

Jamie Hindhaugh, Head of BT Sport added: “We are proud of our role in the track record of recent broadcast innovations across BT. This weekend’s innovations at Saracens continue to highlight the key role 5G will play in the future of sports television.”

It’s not going to set the world alight of course, but it does sound like the sort of practical deployment of a technology which might make someone’s job easier or provide some added value for the customer. And it wouldn’t be very fair to criticise the pie in the sky 5G use cases (robot shavers, anyone?) and not acknowledge the more rational sounding applications.


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