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Digital Catapult and Formula 1 rev up for 5G

UK technology provider Digital Catapult and 5G accelerator 5PRING team up with Formula 1 to explore how 5G can elevate the experience of motor racing fans and unlock new commercial opportunities for F1 stakeholders

Advanced digital technology provider Digital Catapult has announced that as part of 5PRING, the UK’s first 5G commercial application accelerator, it has embarked on a project with Formula 1 to explore the potential of 5G to revolutionise the events of the future.

After one of its most exciting seasons, which ended up in rancour and confusion, and the untimely crowning of Belgian-Dutch racing driver Max Verstappen as champion, Formula 1 is on the hunt for solutions to enhance event experiences for auto racing fans, making the viewing experience more inclusive and interactive for audiences wherever they are. It believes this can be achieved through the use of 5G and associated innovative technologies. Formula 1 will work alongside a cohort of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to jointly explore 5G solutions to events industry challenges.

Working with Digital Catapult on the 5PRING Live Events programme, Formula 1 will set out to test the latest emerging technologies and quantify the value through Digital Catapult’s 5G lab and demonstrators, exploring new fan engagement opportunities alongside startups and scaleups.

Kicking off this month, the 5PRING Live Events Accelerator brings together users and industry experts to develop innovations in the events sector using 5G. The programme is designed to provide startups and other small businesses with support in developing and scaling innovations that harness the power of 5G to enhance and encourage sector growth. The challenge will provide entrants with opportunities to undertake transformative use cases and explore solutions from across the events industry, covering topics such as audience experience, venue management and improving interactivity of exhibits.

As part of the programme, a number of organisations – including the NEC Group, The O2 (owned and operated by AEG Worldwide), Coventry Transport Museum and the Herbert Museum – have contributed their own challenges to the call for “disruptive and innovative” companies in the events sector to put forward 5G-enabled solutions.

Applicants with 5G-enabled solutions which leverage augmented reality (AR), computer vision, internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and robotics are encouraged to apply. Startups and scaleups on the programme will gain access to cutting-edge technology and private 5G networks, a tailored acceleration curriculum, coaching, mentoring and expertise provided throughout the programme from experts at Virgin Media O2, Deloitte, Wayra, West Midlands 5G and Digital Catapult.

“Formula 1 is excited to work with 5PRING to explore exciting new ways of providing fans great experiences using 5G,” commented Pete Samara, Formula 1’s director of strategic technical ventures. “F1 is thrilled to be exploring with the startups and scaleups focused in this area, knowing that 5G is a technology that will transform and hugely impact event experiences globally.”

“Bringing together the repute and expertise of Formula 1 with the entrepreneurialism of the startup community will result in powerful collaborations that can stimulate exciting new solutions for the events sector”
Jeremy Silver, Digital Catapult

5PRING was launched in 2020 through a collaboration between West Midlands 5G (WM5G), The O2, Deloitte, Digital Catapult and Wayra as one of the UK’s first commercial accelerators and to develop the first region-wide 5G testbed.

It is one of several programmes involving Digital Catapult that explore 5G’s potential to revolutionise live events. Others include 5G VISTA, a project delivering a more interactive and broader range of contents to sports fans; 5G Festival, creating a “festival of the future” where artists and audiences can gather and connect in person and online using the power of 5G; 5G Testbed Accelerator, a programme where startups used 5G to enhance products and services; and Sceenic-developed Watch Together, a multi-platform solution that puts content and conversation in one place, so that people can simultaneously enjoy and interact with the same content in different locations.

Commenting on his company’s participation in the project, Digital Catapult CEO Jeremy Silver, said: “The 5PRING programme is firing on all cylinders to unlock 5G’s potential, and now industry heavyweights from the events industry are turning their attention to how advanced technologies can take their events to the next level.

“It’s brilliant to welcome Formula 1 on board to explore how 5G can help to elevate the experiences of auto racing fans and unlock new commercial opportunities for their stakeholders. Bringing together the repute and expertise of Formula 1 with the entrepreneurialism of the startup community will result in powerful collaborations that can stimulate exciting new solutions for the events sector.”

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