5G-equipped cameras will ride under racing catamarans

T-Mobile US will be supporting a high-speed sailing race in New York City this weekend with a hybrid 5G-Advanced network that includes network slicing capabilities, in order to ensure high-performance data transfers for live broadcasting. 

The Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix at Governors Island, otherwise known as SailGP, is being held this Saturday and Sunday, and T-Mo said that it will be providing its 5G Advanced Network Solutions (ANS) in the form of 5G private and hybrid networks plus network slicing, in support of event connectivity from fan engagement to data for participants.

Callie Field, president of T-Mobile Business Group, said that 5G-powered cameras will be capturing video from the underside of the 10 boats, “moving at breakneck speeds” and transferring the footage for live broadcasting so that viewers have a unique vantage point which captures the speed of the vessels. SailGP boats can reach speeds of more than 60 miles an hour on foils, which enable the hulls of the boats to rise above the water. Additional, high-definition wireless cameras will also provide more views of the race for at-home viewers. “This is just our latest step in setting a new standard for how data and 5G can improve fan experiences and live event operations,” Field added. 

The event will include a 5G network slicing pilot, the carrier said, in order to increase reliability of bandwidth for the 5G-equipped cameras, and well as data from the F50 racing catamarans that will be provided to coaches and athletes. T-Mobile US will also be trying out a new project to stream live race audio for the first time, which is billed as a premium fan experience in which fans on “chase boats” that are following the catamarans can hear chatter from the on-board sailors during the event, through headsets equipped with 5G.

“The maritime environment presents some of the most demanding engineering challenges on the planet. Add to that the intricate network topology of New York City, and the complexity increases exponentially,” said Warren Jones, SailGP’s CTO. “With each race, T-Mobile helps us raise the level. Testing new ideas under such challenging conditions fuels our creativity to help us give our fans, athletes, coaches and operational teams the best possible experience in any condition.”

In terms of the data from the ships themselves, Mike Buckley, U.S. SailGP team athlete and team CEO, commented in a release that SailGP “is unique in that the league has an open data policy – every team has access to every other team’s data, which is incredibly valuable intelligence that ensures we are all competing at the highest level.” He called T-Mo’s network “an incredible asset that furthers critical real-time data sharing and decision making between our head coach and race engineer on the pit wall and our athletes on the F50 while racing.”  

The race will be streamed live to SailGP’s YouTube channel and on CBS Sports.  

T-Mobile US previously implemented network slicing for remote video production at a Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series event in early June 2023 in Boston.

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