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Sports and Entertainment Become More Immersive via 5G and T-Mobile Accelerator Program

By Greg Tavarez

Attending events such as football games, soccer matches and concerts used to be a more passive experience with no significant advancements beyond basic observation and cheering. There’s no real immersion. But, as most know, immersive experiences are crucial; they allow fans to feel more involved and invested in the event, thus enhancing their overall satisfaction.

New introductions of innovative technologies are set to deliver that very experience. With 5G-enabled drones offering unique perspectives, first-person cameras providing real-time insights, and AR/VR experiences, fans can now immerse themselves in events like never before.

And T-Mobile is looking to take this immersion a step further. To accomplish this, T-Mobile selected nine companies worldwide to participate in this year's T-Mobile Accelerator program to drive innovation in sports and entertainment. Companies are APP CATS, CUE Audio, FansXR, ForwARdgame, Immersal, MeetMo, Mindfly, PixelFly and Ydrive.

The task T-Mobile has for these companies is to create innovative experiences that leverage 5G to take spectators out of their seats and into the action:

APP CATS is based in Minneapolis. Its CrowdSOLUTIONS creates unique opportunities to interact with fans through its 5G enabled live-streaming platform, audience-surveying tools and fan engagement rewards, which are available as turn-key plug-ins or as a custom standalone platform.

CUE Audio, based in Denver, develops fan-first technology that uses in-venue speakers and fans' mobile devices to routinely synchronize crowds to capture simultaneous selfies, choreograph cellphone light shows, host multiplayer trivia games and more. CUE's technology is adopted across the NFL, MLB, MLS, NHL, NBA and NCAA as a way to coordinate thousands of cellphones in-venue to create synchronized fan engagement experiences that otherwise would not be possible.

FansXR, based in Las Vegas, delivers an XR streaming platform (featured above) using augmented AR, XR and 360-degree video distributed to any digital device or metaverse portal powered by 5G and edge compute technology. To use sports as an example here, FansXR geolocates athletes in stadiums and offers an AR overview of their performance stats, game data and more.

Berlin’s ForwARdgame leverages the newest technologies (featured above) to infuse the real world with virtual experiences and make mobile games social, complex, evolving and diverse, played outdoors through physical activity. In other words, fun, engaging and addictive like more mainstream mobile games, but also healthy with the feeling of “playing for real.”

Immersal, based in Helsinki, Finland, converts any city, venue or area into a spatial map that can support a variety of AR experiences, commercial functions and can be used by autonomous vehicles and robots servicing the area. This is all done with its Visual Positioning technology that allows users to create a digital twin of a real-life environment and add any kind of data, interactive multiplayer elements and real-time navigation.

Los Angeles company MeetMo is a cloud-native platform that seamlessly connects devices, people and ideas. It enables real-time, remote collaboration in high resolution and with ultra-low latency. The MeetMo Mobility App uses enhanced 5G networks to securely connect on-set teams, remote collaborators and post-production services.

Mindfly, based in Tel Aviv, is a fully automated first person-view solution that lets fans see, hear and feel exactly what pro sports players and referees do during official games, exhibition games and behind-the-scenes training. This was used during a soccer match between FC Koln and AC Milan, where you could see and hear exactly what the players see and likely feeling. Additionally, Mindfly captures, processes and distributes post-game highlights to social platforms and replays for live TV.

Minneapolis company PixelFly specializes in live FPV drone coverage for broadcast events and marketing activations leveraging custom drones developed in partnership with brands, featuring the latest technology to deliver footage and experiences that aren't possible with traditional drone platforms.

Seattle-based Ydrive empowers everyone to capture the world in photorealistic 3D with just a few smartphone images. Its AI platform generates lifelike digital twins and 3D maps. Compatible with popular 3D applications, Ydrive is ideal for content creation, immersive gaming, movie production, architectural preservation, real estate, robotics and more.

"The Accelerator program gives innovators a platform to bring their ideas to life using our technologies,” said John Saw, EVP and Chief Technology Officer, T-Mobile. “By leveraging T-Mobile 5G, this year’s group will have all the tools and support they need to expand their solutions and bring spectators at any event brand new immersive experiences.”

The T-Mobile Accelerator program continues to allow startups, as well as long-time developers and innovators, to aid and introduce developing technologies that alter the way individuals live and companies function.

Edited by Alex Passett

SmartCity Editor

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