football stadium

A new Verizon 5G stadium offer intends to target sports and entertainment venues with a potentially “safer in-person experience” – and hopefully a more fun one. The offering relies on a combination of two technologies that Verizon has been touting – millimeter wave 5G, which the company markets as “Ultra Wideband,” and mobile edge computing.

Accordingly, the service should provide a real-world test of how well the technologies can deliver on expected benefits and how well received those benefits will be.

A Verizon spokesperson confirmed in an email to Telecompetitor that the offering is currently in pilot tests with music and entertainment spaces and will have future trials with professional sports teams. “We expect fans to see these services in the coming year,” the spokesperson said.

According to a press release, examples of the capabilities that the Verizon 5G stadium and arena offering can support include:

  • Leveraging analytics to estimate wait times at check-in locations, restrooms and concession stands and interfacing with digital signage and mobile applications to direct fans to alternative locations with shorter lines
  • Identifying crowd density and managing crowd flows by using digital signage and messages to venue staff to help maintain social distancing standards

Verizon 5G Ultrawideband provides exceptionally high speeds over relatively short distances. 5G services also are designed to provide low latency to support real-time or near-real-time communications. Mobile edge computing puts cloud-based resources near the network edge to also help service providers minimize latency.

Our Questions About the Offering

At least two technology heavyweights also are involved in supporting the Verizon 5G stadium and arena offering. Through a previously announced partnership, Amazon Web Services (AWS) will provide technology underlying the mobile edge computing (MEC) offering, which Verizon now offers in five markets. And Cisco will provide capabilities that are part of the company’s Sports and Entertainment portfolio, which relies, in large part, on Wi-Fi deployed within a sports or entertainment venue.

Fans do not have to have 5G devices to experience the benefits of the Verizon 5G stadium and arena offering, the company spokesperson said.

“Verizon 5G enables the delivery of real time data and analytics to Cisco’s suite of sports and entertainment solutions, which are deployed by the venue,” the spokesperson explained. “Fans benefit through the next-generation experience delivered at the venue.”

Considering that Verizon 5G Edge is only in five markets as of now, Telecompetitor asked about sports and entertainment venues wanting to use the service but located outside those markets.

“We’re continuing to expand the number of 5G Edge cities,” the spokesperson said. “We already have five announced and anticipate that number to double by the end of the year.”

The spokesperson added that, depending on the application/use case, venues may benefit from connecting to a 5G Edge location even if that location is not in the immediate market. Performance could still get a boost in comparison with a traditional cloud-based approach in which the cloud might be hosted hundreds of miles away, the spokesperson said.

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