NTT Powers Tokyo 2020 Real-time Remote Cheering Project


Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation will provide ultra-low latency communications technology to the Tokyo 2020 Real-time Remote Cheering Project, which delivers real-time cheers from the people of Tokyo to the marathoners in Sapporo on August 7 and 8 by the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sapporo, as part of the marathon event in Sapporo.

Based on the results of this project, we will aim to realize a new style of watching the games in which people who have become unable to support them in the event venue due to the COVID-19 pandemic can experience a sense of presence and unity that is unique to the venue in a safe and secure way.

At this event, cheers are received from the venue in Tokyo, but in the future we will spread this technology widely and accelerate research and development so that real-time remote cheers can be provided from each house. This project will be carried out only by those concerned after ensuring sufficient measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.

The Real-time Remote Cheering Project is an initiative that aims to create a world in which not only spectators in remote areas but also athletes in the event venue themselves can feel the excitement, emotion and sense of unity by utilizing new technology, even though many people are unable to deliver support to athletes due to the COVID-19.

As a Gold Partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, NTT aims to contribute to the realization of the most innovative Games in history through the provision of cutting-edge communications technology. In particular, in view of the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to provide technology for this project considering it as a new proposal for a new form of sports viewing using communications services and make them legacy.

In the remote viewing experience, one of the biggest challenges in bringing cheers from remote venues to the game venue is latency. Particularly with the marathon, even tiny delays can significantly impact the ability to deliver cheers to the runners, who are running at 5 meters per second.

However, in conventional remote viewing, the total delay time, which includes the transmission processing delay, compression delay processing and the optical propagation delay, is several seconds round trip, making it impossible to reliably deliver cheers to athletes.

In this project, NTT uses “disaggregation configuration technology”, which can directly collect SDI signals in communications devices and send uncompressed video and audio in SMPTE ST2110 format over a long-distance optical transmission path. As a result, uncompressed video and audio at the 4K video level can be transmitted directly to a long-distance optical transmission path in the SMPTE ST 2110 format. By realizing ultra-low-delay transmission that reduces the delay from video input on the transmitting side to video output on the receiving side to about 1 msec, the one-way delay time including distance delay between Tokyo and Sapporo is reduced to about 20 msec.

In addition, in this project, in order to convey the power of the marathon, 8 cameras installed and recorded at both the Sapporo marathon course and the Tokyo 2020 Real-time Remote Cheering Project site in Tokyo, and an LED display with a width of approximately 50m will be installed to display the images in real size. In this case, “ultra-low latency media processing technology” is used to capture video from multiple cameras installed at the competition venue or remote site, cut out the display area, and then combine and transmit the video.

The receiving side then breaks down the received video and displays the video on multiple LED displays installed at remote and competition venues. Since each video processing is performed at the video signal level, the frame latency required for conventional video processing is reduced, thereby achieving low latency.

In the August 7 and 8th marathon events, NTT’s “ultra-low-latency communications technology” minimizes the transmission processing delay to about 200 msec round trip. In Sapporo, cheering from the Tokyo audience will be surely delivered to the athletes running at a speed of 5 m/s. The movements of the faces of the Tokyo audience as they follow the athletes will be conveyed as if they were actually in Sapporo. It demonstrated the sharing of space beyond distance.