Olimpia Milano trials an immersive basketball experience
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Olimpia Milano trials an immersive basketball experience

Spectators transported to the sidelines by 5G technology and 360° cameras

Olimpia Milano trials an immersive basketball experience
By Eugenio Petrillo -

Numerous studies over recent years have shown that average attention spans are gradually decreasing. It’s therefore become necessary to find new ways to spark interest and curiosity. This is true in all kinds of situations, including watching sporting events. To achieve it, computer scientists and engineers are experimenting with alternative and innovative applications of new technologies.

An example is the ambitious project that the Olimpia Milano basketball club is trialing in partnership with Sky, Fastweb, and NVP to give its fans an even more immersive experience at its home games at Mediolanum Forum in Assago. Dubbed the “Immersive Basket Experience,” this experimental project uses ultra-fast 5G technology to give fans unique angles from which to view games.

Mediolanum Forum Courtesy Olimpia Milano

 

An immersive basketball experience

The project uses millimeter waves to ensure greater bandwidth and extremely light cameras that can be placed anywhere. It’s based on using 5G technology to connect a series of cameras that cover the entire court at high speed and low latency. During this trial phase, there are seven wireless cameras installed at strategic points.

The cameras are connected by antennas positioned on the ceiling of the arena using 26 GHz technology to create a 5G bubble. Different from the 5G network we use on our cell phones, this is a private 5G network (provided by Fastweb) that provides maximum performance. A key feature is that it uses millimeter waves between the cameras and 5G antennas. This technology makes it possible to broadcast extremely high resolution video streams as they are transmitted, while minimizing lag between capture and delivery.

The cameras are 360° models (Insta 360-Pro 2, which record omnidirectional images and sounds) to provide a more immersive perspective compared to conventional video. The cameras have been installed at points to give spectators new and groundbreaking vision of the game, such as from behind the basket, near the benches, or even in the middle of the crowd.

Mediolanum Forum Courtesy Olimpia Milano

 

Choose your perspective for watching the game

The project is still in its trial phase, which is expected to last at least three years. This will make it possible to add to the system as needed, including following the development of new technologies. For example, a study is currently underway to develop body cams to give viewers the chance to experience the game from the point of view of the players.

At present, the Immersive Basket Experience requires an Oculus Quest headset, which gives remarkable results. In the future, though, it will also be possible to use a smartphone. This brand new experience lets you choose your point of view simply by turning your head to any angle to see, for example, the audience, the coach, or the bench. You can even follow the game as if you were sitting over the basket and watch the players land after scoring.

This is an innovative and unique way to follow Olimpia Milano matches. It’s also a cutting-edge project that’s already won the 5G Audiovisivo 2022 tender, announced by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. With the Immersive Basket Experience, Italian basketball has taken two steps forward. Enjoying matches will never be the same.

 

>>> The English club​​​​​​​ Manchester City, in partnership with Sony, is working on creating a virtual version of Etihad Stadium in the metaverse

All images courtesy Olimpia Milano

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