A private 5G wireless network to reduce the installation of audiovisual equipment at sporting events is now a reality. A demonstration held during the Lausanne Youth Olympic Games from 9 to 22 January 2020 has been hailed a resounding success. It brought together the partners OFCOM, EPFL, SRG SSR, the HEIG-VD (School of Management and Engineering in Yverdon), the Neuchâtel-based company NuLink and Swisscom. The demonstration ran from 17 to 22 January at the Villars site and was designed to completely replace wired audiovisual installations with a private 5G wireless network connecting all the production equipment at the venue.
A wireless network for major events massively reduces the amount of installation equipment transported and the manpower required. “At large sporting events, there can easily be around 40 lorries of equipment, including lots of cables. As well as heavy loads and more pollution, this also requires considerably more personnel. Our aim would be to send just the cameras, microphones, timing devices, and scoreboards, greatly reducing the number of colleagues, vehicles and containers to be moved,” explains Laurent Zwahlen, director of NuLink. This reduction in staff and equipment would result in substantial savings and lessen the environmental impact of such events. According to Jacques Bähler, a project lead at Swisscom, these tests show that a “wireless event” could be envisaged in the medium term with the installation of a private 5G antenna via SIM cards dedicated to this private network. “This prospect offers considerable advantages in terms of speed of implementation, and for sustainability in particular.”
With venues spread across two countries and 1,837 athletes from 79 nations competing in 81 events, the Youth Olympic Games provided an ideal platform to demonstrate the potential of this new technology that could revolutionise the world of sporting events in the future. The Villars site was chosen for infrastructure reasons.
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