Spark unveils 5G-powered America’s Cup sailing experience to public

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Spark New Zealand Logo

Spark has launched its 5G Race Zone, an immersive multi-sensory experience that gets New Zealanders closer to the America’s Cup than ever before.

The ultimate preview of Spark’s 5G network, a month out from its launch in Auckland, the 5G Race Zone gives visitors the opportunity to feel, create, learn and even smell all things sailing – without getting on the water – by bringing together the best of sailing and technology in seven fully interactive zones.

Powered by Spark’s 5G technology and created alongside partner Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ), the 5G Race Zone is located at the ETNZ base in Wynyard Quarter, Auckland and is due to open to public on the 1 October.

Spark Technology Director Mark Beder says from now until the America’s Cup in March 2021, Spark’s 5G Race Zone will provide Kiwis with the opportunity to get up close to the America’s Cup action, thanks to the unique applications of 5G technology.

“Emirates Team New Zealand has been leveraging Spark’s 5G network to gain an edge in its America’s Cup preparation for several months now and while much of the team’s technology remains top secret, they have agreed to give the public a taste of how they’ve been preparing to defend the America’s Cup at our 5G Race Zone,” says Beder.

“Using our 5G network we will give visitors the chance to feel what it’s actually like onboard the team’s boat, Te Aihe, during a 4D virtual experience, where they will hear the sounds of the boat racing through the water, feel the breeze and even smell the sea air.”

Each of the seven zones at Spark’s 5G Race Zone tap into the different benefits of 5G: speed, low latency and mass connectivity.

Sailing fans can build their own AC75 and test their design skills in a 5G streamed gaming environment. They can even take the helm of an AC75 through the same multi-crew simulator ETNZ use, or capture selfies with the crew and the America’s Cup through Augmented Reality.

Visitors will also be able to see daily visual representations of the wind particles on Waitematā Harbour and Hauraki Gulf, collected from NIWA. They can also familiarise themselves with the America’s Cup course through a high-res projection of the Waitematā Harbour, showing wind, ocean currents and weather patterns that ETNZ analyse to make the boat go faster.

ETNZ CEO Grant Dalton said technology and innovation have always been critical elements of successful America’s Cup campaigns, and this year the team is pushing the boat out further, innovating and testing harder than ever before with the help of Spark’s 5G.

“We’re excited to offer our supporters the chance to experience the buzz of the event off the water and see first-hand how the America’s Cup is as much a technology race as it is a yacht race. Spark’s 5G Race Zone is a place for anyone who wants to get closer to how we’ve been preparing our America’s Cup defense.”

Visitors will receive a RFID lanyard on arrival at Spark’s 5G Race Zone to use as their digital companion to capture shareable photos and content from their tour.

The family-friendly experience is free to the public and bookings can be made at www.spark.co.nz/racezone

Spark worked with key technology partners Nokia, Huawei, Cisco, HP and NIWA to deliver the Spark 5G Race Zone experience, with a shared goal of educating New Zealanders about the powerful potential of 5G technology.


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