For many people across the world, live streaming is not just a preferred form of entertainment, but the very reason to be connected. According to Conviva, live streaming accounts for nearly a quarter of all global viewing time and is an industry still on the rise. The ability to record and rewatch are now greater than ever, but there’s something about being there or finding out first, which seems to have everlasting appeal.
Yet live streaming is a technology in its infancy. With the arrival of XR and 360 filming, live streaming can now support new dimensions of interactivity that will effectively transform the experience as we know it. With these technologies and the environments they create, people have near-limitless perspectives of media, and can interact with their hosts in new and engaging ways. All of this points to new commercial opportunities across multiple sectors.
Key to realising this kind of streaming at scale, are reliable, high-speed networks. Here, 5G is expected to play a key role in providing connectivity to support fully immersive, two-way live streaming experiences. However, the industry needs to ensure that 5G, and all of its associated infrastructure, is ready to accommodate demand. To accelerate deployment, the GSMA Foundry has helped facilitate the 360 degree Interactive Livestreaming pilot – a collaborative project between AIS, Bridge Alliance, Singtel and Summit Tech.
Using Summit Tech’s Odience platform, this award-winning project allowed users to experience an 8K, fully immersive virtual reality concert in Montreal, streamed across continents to participants in Singapore and Bangkok. Making this possible depended on the Bridge Alliance Federated Edge Hub (FEH), which interconnected each operator’s multi-access edge computing (MEC) cloud platforms in separate locations.
The result was a live production with near-zero delay, enabling viewers in Asia to seamlessly connect with performers in Canada. Streamed on mobile devices and VR headsets, people were able to interact in real time in multiple ways, such as asking questions and voting on music. The event’s increased engagement and interactivity was praised by the virtual attendees and has laid the basis for deployments elsewhere, and for other applications. Bridge Alliance, the leading mobile operator alliance in Asia Pacific with over 34 members, has established the FEH to enable application providers to seamlessly provision telco edge resources across many countries, greatly simplifying ultra-fast transfer of vast quantities of data, such as video for low latency immersive applications.
This technology has a broad array of applications beyond the pilot’s concert. In demonstrating high-quality streaming across multiple devices with various forms of engagement, a new medium has been opened for e-commerce, sporting fixtures, corporate events, e-learning and myriad other applications. Brands now have the power to engage with their customers with far more creativity, and have new opportunities to develop revenue streams through e-commerce plugins, personalised micro-services and enhanced digital experiences. Mobile network operators can accelerate these commercial opportunities by working together to share infrastructure, such as that in FEH.
As 5G continues to expand and become a commonplace technology for all, we expect innovations like this to enable the communication between many more people and geographies. But more than this, the near-instant transfer of high-quality data across a diversity of mediums gives people more power to choose how they interact in an increasingly connected world.
For more information on how to participate in cutting edge projects such as this, please visit: gsma.com/foundry
To find out more about the Bridge Alliance Federated Edge Hub, please visit: gsma.com/foundry/bridge-alliance-federated-edge-hub/
To find out more about Summit Tech’s Odience 360 8K Livestreaming platform, please visit: https://odience.com/