A consortium of locally based media and technology companies, including Ooredoo Qatar, Al Jazeera, beIN SPORTS and Microsoft, played a leading role in an International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) accelerator programme aimed at fostering collaborative innovation between the broadcasting and technology sectors to push forward new technologies and use cases.
The programme explored ways in which 5G can accelerate advances in cloud-based remote production for live sports, combined with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), to enhance the fan experience both in the stadium and at home. With the world’s biggest and most prestigious football event, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, on the horizon, learnings from the programme will be key to developing exciting new broadcasting capabilities.
By combining Ooredoo’s 5G network and Microsoft’s Azure Cloud technologies, coupled with beIN SPORTS and Al Jazeera’s broadcast expertise, the partners tested ways to dramatically improve the flexibility, speed and scalability in the delivery of live sports and news production.
The trials were conducted during the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 and at football matches hosted at Doha College to explore how new technologies can enable fans to curate their own experience of the game, from any seat or angle, and share their experiences in real-time with anyone, anywhere.
A total of16 different camera feeds, including AI-enabled cameras, drones and stadium spectators’ mobile phones, were used to create a significantly richer choice of content accessible by broadcasters and fans alike.
Ooredoo 5G mmWave was also trialled for the first time to address the challenges of high-speed and high-quality broadcasting.
The feeds that were delivered through Ooredoo’s 5G network from the match were carried over Microsoft ExpressRoute to the Microsoft Azure Data Centres, where they were digitally processed using Media ISV applications while employing Azure Kubernetes, video analytics, storage and networking services.
The final processed output was then distributed using Azure CDN. The project, part of the IBC’s acclaimed Accelerator Media Innovation programme, was presented on the IBC’s online platform, IBC Digital, where the industry convened virtually due to the physical event being cancelled in December.