Innovations and Disruptions: Passing the Torch to 5G Technology


The Olympics have become the modern-day World’s Fair for the demonstration of game-changing technological advances.

As the world turns its focus to PyeongChang to cheer their fellow countrymen in their pursuit of gold, they will also witness the passing of the torch to the next generation of mobile wireless technology, known as 5G.

This year’s winter Olympics represent the first time that a broad-scale 5G network has ever been deployed for commercial use. While this technology is not anticipated to roll-out globally until 2020, KT Corporation, South Korea’s largest telecommunications company, is using technology from Intel, Ericsson AB and Samsung Electronics Co to give us a glimpse of 5G in action, and the results are game-changing.

The 5G technology in PyeongChang is fundamentally transforming how spectators both at the games and at home see and experience events like figure skating, cross-country skiing, and bobsledding. Viewers can pause an ice skater in mid-air to switch between 40 different camera angles to evaluate the intricacies of the maneuver, track a skier and see the course from a first-person perspective, and participate in a 360-degree, virtual reality bobsledding experience.

In-person attendees can even use KT-provided tablets to check out ice skaters augmented-reality biometric statistics, including competitors’ blood pressure and heart rate. Have you noticed the monitors on snowboarding competitors? They are actually altimeters to communicate the speed of performance and height outside the half-pipe for judges. All of this is powered by the next generation wireless network.

How else is 5G playing an integral role in the Winter Olympics?

Self-Driving Shuttle Busses: At the Games, shuttle buses use 5G to run without a driver behind the wheel and instead of windows, the buses feature interior video screens showing live coverage of events. Wireless connectivity is the backbone to the success of this technology.

Wild Boar Monitoring: 5G technology will be used in used in rapid response systems that shoot rays, spew gases and emit tiger roars to keep wild boars from roaming the Olympic grounds. 5G’s ability to quickly relay information is the driving force behind the success of these systems and their ability to keep spectators and athletes safe.

Olympic Views: This Olympics will feature several new 5G-enabled viewing options, including:

Time Slice: This Matrix-style interactive technology allows users to stop the footage and switch between the best angles of action. Video is dramatically slowed down while the camera appears to move around the action.

Sync View: Streams live video from a camera mounted on the athlete’s helmet giving spectators a first-person point of view in competition.

Omni-View: Uses multiple live-feed videos at once to provide biometric data on the athletes while enabling fans to choose the broadcast angle they want to view from, including personalized views of each athlete.

360 Virtual Reality: Through 360-degree immersive VR, at-home viewers are transported to the front row of the games from the comfort of their living room. The 2018 games will see the most use of 360-degree VR cameras of any major global sports event to date. View the fully immersive experience on the NBC Sports VR app.

The possible evolution of 5G technology beyond the Olympic games is inspiring. 5G is the next generation of wireless technology, and will empower a revolution in the way we do business, how our healthcare facilities operate, the way we live and interact with our homes and community surroundings, and the way connected devices interact with users and each other.

In Texas, we should put 5G on the medal stand and make it a priority to lead the world.