The combination of 5G, Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC), and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) offers enormous opportunities for creating new multimedia services with deeply engaging experiences. Faster data speeds and increased capacity provided by 5G support high-density traffic in large venues like stadiums and arenas and, when coupled with MEC and AI, 5G enables new experiences like live in-stadium multi-view switching (live with sub-second latency), live game analytics, multiplayer location-based gaming, and increased depth of immersion and interactivity via augmented/virtual reality. Global technology intelligence firm ABI Research identified and evaluated several key developing market opportunities that are location-based, leverage enabling technologies like 5G and MEC, and will generate a market potential exceeding US$8.5 billion by 2026. This figure includes in-venue (stadiums, concerts, airports) premium content, services, and location-based gaming.
“5G, edge compute, and AI make content and multimedia services more contextualized, interactive, and accessible wherever it is deployed and enables more innovative and immersive experiences. Solutions based on these technologies can create additional value for location-based data, services, and marketing. Not only will they empower enhanced experiences in public venues, but also engender new ways of monetizing content,” explains Michael Inouye, Principal Analyst, Next-Gen Content Technologies at ABI Research.
Worldwide, facility and network upgrades have been ongoing the past few years but have ramped up considerably in the past two years. Verizon, which to date, has brought 5G mmWave to over 60 stadiums and arenas in the United States and, in partnership with AWS, offers 5G Edge with MEC (AWS Wavelength) to 10 cities. By leveraging these enabling technologies, companies like YBVR, Immersive.io, Intel Sports, ZTE, Huawei, etc., are already showcasing new experiences that allow fans to reach new depths of engagement and experience live events in more immersive ways like 360 videos, augmented reality, and virtual reality.
However, opportunities for deploying 5G and MEC are not confined to offering innovative content and services in-venue. “These technologies could open the window for wider business prospects, including advertising, new ways of broadcasting, and support of localized services city-wide, not just in the venue where the infrastructure is hosted,” Inouye points out.
In the near term, these innovative experiences will not be judged on their abilities to generate revenue independently, nor will they need to justify the spending on enabling technologies. “Market opportunities for 5G and MEC extend well beyond a direct monetization of applications and services offered in-venue. Instead, these experiences will need to ensure participants have a memorable experience and, in the case of stadiums, for example, perpetuate the excitement about the team and the sport and, in doing so, helping with merchandising, marketing, and the ever-important broadcasting rights negotiations and contacts. In the longer term, these experiences will see even more significant revenue opportunities through, for example, the spread of wearables like smart glasses,” Inouye concludes.
These findings are from ABI Research’s Location-Based Media, Entertainment, Content, and Services application analysis report. This report is part of the company’s Next-Gen Content Technologies research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Application Analysis reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and factors for a specific application, which could focus on an individual market or geography.
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