It’s 2019. Technology has become more sophisticated, serving as an ally in the transformation to a better world and changing the landscape of not only business, but also sports.
One of the most impactful technology changes we will see this year is the rise of fifth generation (5G) wireless technology. 5G will play a significant role in major sports leagues from the NFL to the NBA, and in large-scale sporting events such as the Olympics. This new and improved technology will reshape the way fans engage with their favorite sports teams.
What is 5G?
5G is the wireless technology of the next generation, expected to bring faster speed, lower latency and higher connectivity, according to NBC News. With faster speed, users can download images and videos 10 times faster than with 4G technology, and can even download a high-definition movie in an instant. Lower latency means shorter delays. Therefore, the time between when data is sent and when users receive it is cut significantly. With higher connectivity, multiple devices can communicate simultaneously.
How 5G Will Change the Face of Sports
By 2020, users will be able to get their hands on 5G devices. But what does that mean for sports fans? Higher engagement.
According to techrepublic.com, major events like the Super Bowl will be one of the first times we will see 5G in action. Although fans used 4G devices at this year’s Super Bowl, the use of 5G devices will become more widespread by 2020. The technology will be able to handle massive amounts of data being transferred by massive groups of people. According to Nicki Palmer, chief networking officer for Verizon, demos of 5G technology were showcased at Super Bowl 53 in the Experience Zone. Furthermore, Palmer said that during the first half of 2019, Verizon will have two 5G consumer devices, a Samsung and a Motorola.
In addition, the NBA is taking advantage of 5G technology as a way to provide fans with unprecedented experiences using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). For example, Verizon and the NBA’s Sacramento Kings worked together to put 5G to the test by providing local students with VR goggles, allowing them to watch games as if they were actually there. Even when the NBA regular season kicked off last fall, the use of augmented reality was apparent. According to a CNET article, a new app called NBA AR Basketball allows fans watching the games from home to enjoy an AR experience featuring 360 Portals, giving them a glimpse into pregame, postgame, and warmup moments from the Conference Finals and the NBA Finals. This is a great way to ensure that fans never feel left out, even when they are unable to attend the games. The app is available for IOS and Android devices.
Moreover, 5G will have an impact on one of the biggest sporting events in the world – the Olympics. Low internet speed will not be an issue for the tens of thousands of people attending the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, thanks to the 5G wireless connections developed by DoCoMo, Japan’s largest mobile operator, and Nokia. The partnering companies previously demonstrated an increase of data transmission speed on 5G radio equipment versus 4G, according to a Futurism article.