Verizon has outfitted the Super Bowl stadium with 5G and Mobile Edge Computing
Last year’s Super Bowl, which took place at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, was pretty different than what’s in store for this year’s event. On February 7th, the Kansas City Chiefs will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to a slimmed down audience of just 22,000 people, putting the venue at 25% capacity.
While the crowd size at Raymond James Stadium might be lacking, Verizon Vice President of Device Technology Brian Mecum assured RCR Wireless News that this year’s Super Bowl will have impressive network capacity thanks to 5G and mobile edge computing (MEC), which will lead to a fan tech experience that is “off-the-charts cool.”
“This is the most blown-out stadium ever,” Mecum continued. “There is more capacity, more mmWave, and the first-ever Super Bowl with mobile edge compute.”
5G successfully added much needed network capacity at last year’s Super Bowl so that fans could experience fast and reliable connectivity despite congestion. In fact, the 62,000 fans present at last year’s event used more than 26 terabytes of data during the game period, which, John Brams, director of sports and entertainment at Extreme Networks, said at the time is the most data ever transferred at any public venue for any event.
At this year’s Super Bowl, however, the addition of Verizon MEC will build off of what 5G brings, delivering the ability to run advanced computing applications, such as facial recognition ticketing, thermal scans and enhance crowd management solutions, including the ability to check wait times for restroom or concession stand lines from your seat in real time.
“5G brings a ton of capacity—meaning, prior to 5G, we couldn’t handle everybody in the stadium watching multiple camera views. This year, now you can [implement applications]for a high volume of people,” Mecum explained further. “We have so much [content]sitting on the edge, we are reducing your need to learn to patience.”
One fan feature that Mecum highlighted is the Verizon Super Stadium Multi-Cam View, which frees an at-home viewer from the whims of the production and camera crew.
“We give you at home seven in-stadium camera angles straight off the production truck,” said Mecum, adding that this will come in handy when settling disputes and disagreements either with a referee call or your buddy sitting next to you. “You don’t have to wait anymore for the camera crews to do their thing. You can do it yourself. You hit the replay and you look at all those seven angles. You get to be a part of the game it a way that’s never happened before.”
In order to make all of this work, Verizon invested more than $80 million and upgraded the stadium’s distributed antenna system (DAS). It also deployed 70 miles of fiber and installed 281 new small cell antennas. In fact, Verizon’s network enhancements are so pervasive, that nearby areas, such as Downtown Tampa, Ybor City and the Tampa Riverwalk, will benefit from them.
“We’re excited to bring 5G to Raymond James Stadium, home of Super Bowl LV,” said Kyle Malady, CTO, Verizon in a press statement. “As the number of arenas and stadiums with Verizon 5G continues to grow, we’re seeing how our technology brings a new dimension to all aspects of the fan experience, from public safety to how fans interact with the action on the field.”
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