Amplifying and improving both participation and interaction of professionals, visitors and tourists in events related to tourism businesses, resources and destinations is an area of great potential and interest for the tourism industry. Simultaneous organization and demand of events by a large number of users requires easing its organization and assistance, something that is already possible thanks to the new qualities of VR technology and real-time 360-degree video, and which results in an upgraded immersive experience for the attendees.
Validation test have been fully carried out, in two stages: on 22 January 2020, for the downlink distribution of 360-video over 5G, also demonstrated live at FIRUR 2020; and on 23 June 2020 at 5TONIC premises, for the validation of live 360º video production and transmission over 5G.
Trial implementation, execution and validations has involved SEGITTUR, YBVR (subcontractor), Ericsson Spain, Telefónica, UC3M, IMDEA Networks, Telcaria Ideas, Nextworks and Wings.
The trial has validated technical and business feasibility for streaming up of 360-degree live video being recorded at touristic events and locations over a 5G Access network to a remote server (in AWS) responsible, in turn, for world-wide rendering to end-users who enjoy an immersive experience of such event, through VR glasses, connected to the network also via 5G.
To enable global market reach for this solution, its architecture bases on three pillars: standards-based protocols and devices for both 360-video recording and visualization, distributed SW architecture for the vertical application fully leveraging internet and public cloud scale, and relying on 5G networks for both uplink and downlink communications. So, the beauty of the introduced architecture for this E2E vertical solution lies in its easy to scale Over-The-Top deployment model, compatible with exploiting 5G eMBB service potential at the performance levels expected to be readily available for all early 5G commercial deployments and subscription fees. That secures a huge addressable market for this service, provided that 5G can really live up to the uplink user data rate demands for distribution of live 360 video recorded and transmitted over a 5G. And that is indeed the case for several access network configurations tested for this service at 5G EVE project, delivering superior QoE of 360-degree video.
Accordingly, 5G CSPs can also claim their key role in the value chain, as the actors who can configure, deliver and assure the required uplink user data rate, and offering a premium service.
Trial #1: Showcased at FITUR 2020. For providing 5G NSA network coverage, a backpack containing the 5G Radio Access and Core equipment was deployed and the required indoor antennas were installed in SEGITTUR booth at the fair. During the demonstration, activities carried out in an auditorium were visualized through virtual reality glasses connected to the 5G network, and also broadcasted live. In parallel, people who attended the 5G experience point at SEGITTUR booth, were also able to travel, virtually, to destinations such as Toledo and Málaga (Spain), Santa Cruz (California), Geneva (Switzerland) or Melbourne (Australia).
Trial #2: Completed in June 2020 and demonstrated at 5G EVE Webinar held on 23 June. A 360-degree camera and YBVR production and ingest serve were installed in 5Tonic lab and connected to the existing 5G network in the lab and over to the 5G EPC and to the internet. The available radio band for this trial was TDD 3.5 GHz, using 50 MHz of spectrum. The TDD pattern was configured to 7:3, as it was needed to maximize the UL throughput. The recorded video was both stored in an Internet server and broadcasted live. The users connected to the live video streaming could virtually look around the room, feeling a superior QoE for this immersive experience.
The trial has involved extensive validation at 5G EVE site in Madrid (5TONIC lab) proving how 5G network performance enables the delivery of optimal QoE for immersive experiences:
5G technology supports this Smart Tourism system trialled at 5G EVE platform in two complementary ways:
5G high-reliability and high-throughput performance of over 50 Mbps for uplink communications (for 50 Mhz bandwidth available in mid bands spectrum) are the key enablers for this solution, since it allows for transmission of the vast amount of data being recorded with 180 or 360 degree cameras. This differential KPI of 5G removes the painful dependency of this type of remote live production video with wired infrastructure (not flexible and very expensive, if available at all at the location) or satellite communications. It also overcomes the limitations of previous mobile communication standards, which were not designed for allowing the high uplink data rate demanded for this solution in standard coverage models.
5G eMBB not only copes with the capacity and downlink user data rate needs for distribution of 360-degree video to users enjoying it in a variety of devices, but also secures a rapid market uptake and viable business model for this type of services being the standard service available to all subscribers of 5G commercial networks.