The PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games 2018 were both a spectacular sports event and a live stage for cutting-edge IT technologies. This was an opportunity to highlight the commercial capability and application for 5G technology.
Samsung, Intel and Korea Telecom collaborate to bring 5G service experience to the public
5G services are still at the early stage of development, however, at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, Samsung, Intel and Korea Telecom (KT) collaborated to realize the world’s first 5G mass service operation, where visitors could experience 5G services directly.
The partners provided a 4K streaming video service via a 5G network to highlight the massive high-volume and high-speed data transmission potential of 5G. KT provided the 5G data network through a collaboration led by Intel with partners including Ericsson, Nokia and Alibaba, while Samsung unveiled its 5G mobile tablet device to deliver a 4K streaming video via Intel’s base stations.
This is Samsung’s first 5G mobile device. The device worked well for the 4K video streaming service and, at the same time, offered other smart device standard functions. And it was designed to support seamless interworking between 4G and 5G services to expand its service environment even under 4G. The 4K streaming service played smoothly on the test. We did a play-back test on the 4K streaming video. While 4K streaming worked, there is still a long way to go for commercialization. High-frequency transmission loss and the service distance issues have not been fully resolved. In the showcase center, Intel’s base station was installed in the ceiling to provide the 5G network, based on 28GHz. However, the city diorama structure (shown in the photo above) had to be placed on the floor directly below the device to avoid any potential interference between the base station and the device. This suggested to us that the limitations of millimeter wave continue to be an issue.
Samsung’s 5G mobile device delivers a significant move towards miniaturization, although it has not yet achieved smartphone size. However, there are other significant drawbacks besides the size. The device is heavy in comparison with other, similar-sized, tablets, and the device became hot in use. The power source in the device was an 8000 mAh battery, suggesting low power technology for the 5G chip has not been developed yet. Nevertheless, it was operating with a download speed of around 3.7 Gb/s.
5G VR/MR Broadcasting Enables Immersive Media Service at Olympic Games
The service expected to grow most rapidly in the early stages of 5G adoption is VR/MR broadcasting. The PyeongChang Olympic Games demonstrated the feasibility of VR/MR broadcasting via 5G.
With the simultaneous scene capture of numerous cameras in PyeongChang and Gang-neung Olympic park, Intel could utilize its close-to-real time VR rendering technology to deliver VR video. This could potentially provide end-users with a 360 degrees interactive view of sports events in near-real-time. At the PyeongChang Olympics, the VR video service was not displayed to the public, but it was used for record judging and for replay on the display board inside the stadium. Although the service was only available at short-track games due to technical and budget limitations, it is easy to see how its application could be expanded in the future. This could bring to life the concept “as good as being there” as a future revenue model for 5G technology application.
Sync-view, Bobsleigh and 360° Camera
The bobsleigh event provided the opportunity for another enhanced broadcasting method enabled by 5G. The camera installed in the bobsleigh provided a real-time view of the athlete’s angle of vision. In addition, the 360° camera installed at the race track captured the entire race successfully without missing any moment. 5G made it possible to transmit this massive data in a real time, providing an even more satisfying viewing experience for TV viewers than for the live audience at the scene.
UIYAJI, Wind Village – 5G Applications for Rural Services
UIYAJI, a mountain village above PyeongChang was the site of a 5G installation built by KT, Intel, Samsung and Nokia to test the viability of 5G for rural applications. UIYAJI Village was transformed from the countryside where no prior internet connection was installed. 5G brought connectivity to the village for the first time.
The 5G network was installed in a fixed wireless mode by using the café and the educational center in the village as two major access centers. In the café, users can enjoy 5G related services, such as a tourist information service based on AR, a media wall where the gesture recognition is applied as a user interface, supporting previously filmed village image through a drone.
In UIYAJI, 5G technology is also used for a pest control system. The system can detect animals using dispersed embedded sensors and then activate a defense system that uses sound, voice, or scent to repel unwelcome animals. In UIYAJI, radar and CCTV devices are used to detect pests such as wild pigs and take appropriate actions to reduce or prevent crop destruction.
Augmented Reality (AR) services on 5G technology create another potential application – that of enhanced remote shopping experiences. The use of a 360-degree camera with an overlay of information can create a shopping environment for the buyer that is similar or even better than being physically present. This kind of service could be adjusted to suit auction type transactions with multiple buyers. Possibilities for remote auction capabilities include agricultural livestock, fish auctions, and house sales. The benefits of remote auctions include more participants and more easily verifiable information than being physically present.
Beyond PyeongChang, what next for 5G?
Korea Telecom is working with partner companies to achieve early commercialization of 5G in 2019. Through the PyeongChang / UIYAJI Village projects, KT has gained the experience to build and stabilize a 5G communication network and broadcasting network.
One of the most important challenges for KT has been to change people’s perception of the need for 5G services. Before the installation in UIYAJI, villagers were dismissive of the new technology. However, when the residents started to use the 5G services they began to realize the potential benefits to their way of life. The participation of residents has also helped the partners develop the service offering beyond the original plans.
We expect 5G to start to be commercialized by early 2020 – likely among the first adopting countries. However, we expect it will take until around 2022 before 5G-based lifestyle-changing services become available in Korea and more broadly.
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