Telefónica, in collaboration with the European Tour, will deploy 5G coverage at this week’s ACCIONA Open de España (7-10 October, Club de Campo de Madrid), making it the first professional golf tournament in Europe to use this technology for its communications and television broadcasts.
This use case will provide a test bench for what a golf tournament or sporting event can look like with 5G, a technology that will improve the fan experience and its broadcasting. Specifically, several connected drones will be positioned on various holes and will transmit their video signal via 5G technology, providing new camera angles for viewers.
Telefónica’s infrastructure will also relay the video signals from the broadcast cameras through the mobile network with 5G encoders, AVIWEST’s AIR-5G series, its StreamHub, receiver, decoder and cloud distribution platform deployed on Telefónica’s edge computing specifically for the event.
In addition, Telefónica’s installation of a mobile unit and 5G antennas, broadcasting in the 26 GHz band, will ensure high-performance WiFi coverage in areas of the venue where Internet traffic is highest, such as the grandstands on the 18th hole, the media centre, and VIP hospitality areas.
The 5G technology will also be trialled as a means of simplifying the operation of the event – which sees the Club de Campo Villa de Madrid turned into a small town every year. This includes a significant reduction in the amount of cabling required across the golf course, with technologies such as ball tracking radar devices and communications in the media centre using wireless 5G technology.
Telefónica has also worked with Ericsson, which has provided its latest generation technology such as baseband solutions and 5G TDD active antennas in 3.5GHz and 26GHz, which provide high performance and lower consumption..
This project is also an important step in the European Tour’s sustainability strategy as 5G connectivity solutions are 90% more energy efficient than 4G and use 100% renewable energy for their deployment.
As Mercedes Fernández, Innovation Manager at Telefónica Spain, said: “After several use cases in which Telefónica has been a pioneer in 5G TV broadcasting and in the use of millimetre bands, we are taking another step forward with a coverage with a real application in an event of this magnitude, both for wireless communications and for TV production and broadcasting. We believe that this type of experience, together with pilot use cases with real customers, contribute to laying the foundations for the promotion of the new generation of 5G mobile telephony. On this occasion, we have worked closely with Telefónica Global Solutions, which has provided the global vision for a client who operates golf tournaments across the globe”.
Michael Cole, Chief Technology Officer of the European Tour, added: “The European Tour has been on a significant technological innovation drive in recent years, and we are always assessing the latest technologies that will enhance the experience for our fans – both on the course and watching remotely – and will also further improve the energy efficiency of our operations. The opportunities afforded by 5G technology are evident, but a golf tournament provides a uniquely challenging environment for its roll-out because of the scale of the site – we are not one field of play, we are eighteen fields of play surrounded by significant temporary infrastructure. With Telefonica’s help, this week’s tournament will be a significant milestone in our ambition to deploy 5G technology at all of our events in the future. “