Verizon's new 5G Ultra Wideband is giving hockey fans a window into action on the ice

In a new partnership with the NHL, Verizon's 5G and mobile edge computing are teaming up to deliver fans an AR experience, the company announced Thursday.

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Image: Verizon

As the race to deliver 5G across the nation continues, Verizon is now testing how its 5G Ultra Wideband network can be harnessed to improve live experiences—this time, for hockey fans. In an announcement on Thursday, the mobile giant unveiled a new partnership with the NHL. As part of this collaboration, the company will test out immersive experiences, via 5G and real-time edge computing, for fans attending live hockey games. 

In practical terms, the partnership means that Verizon will install 5G Ultra Wideband in select NHL arenas and will test out how 5G and edge computing work there, via in-venue applications. In a similar fashion to how Verizon is using this technology to give basketball fans real-time access to information, NHL fans can use the new technology by pointing their phones at what's happening on the ice and discover "real-time stats overlaid in AR, such as how fast the player was skating, time on the ice, historical data and more," the press release notes.

"The company has been using 5G and mobile edge compute to power select trials for in-venue, interactive applications with the National Hockey League (NHL), such as real-time access to video highlights and player tracking data using augmented reality (AR)," the release states. For instance, the company recently tested an AR experience with 5G Edge at a New Jersey Devils game, to give direct access to this kind of information. In the experiment, two 5G phones were placed together—one with 5G Edge and one with stats from the cloud—and compared.

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According to the release, "with 5G Edge, testers saw a roughly 35% improvement in end-to-end latency, meaning, stats could be viewed virtually instantaneously with minimal staggering or lag and stats were updated in real-time as the game progressed."

"Hockey is such a fast-paced game that only 5G and edge compute can provide real-time stats or multiple camera angles personalized to each fan in the stands on their phone," said Kyle Malady, CTO at Verizon, in a press release.

 "NHL fans are extremely tech savvy, they love the speed of the game and they're always looking for cool ways to get as close to our players and the action as possible," Dave Lehanski, NHL executive vice president, business development and innovation, added in the release.

"The tremendous capabilities being demonstrated by Verizon 5G and edge compute are paving the way for us to provide fans with new experiences and unprecedented ways to consume live game content. These types of advancements are only possible with a world-class partner like Verizon, and we're thrilled to be developing new innovations to enrich the live game environment through our collaborations. This is where the fun begins." 

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