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Sailing with Speed and Style: SailGP and T-Mobile Elevate Fans' Experiences with 5G-Powered, Immersive Racing Devices

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At big events, the fans’ experiences are everything. (And of course, the spectacle put on by the performers themselves; performers or – though I certainly can’t cover everything possible – specifically athletes, drivers, racers, singers, dancers, you name it.) Enhancing the experience is the name of the game in order to make it tremendously memorable for those in attendance and to drum up excitement for those who can attend whatever the next event may be. (Or for those watching online.)

In the vein of big events, we have SailGP.

For any unfamiliar (like I myself was, until I began penning this article), SailGP is a huge international sailing competition featuring high-performance F50 foiling catamarans. Teams compete across multiple sailing grand prix; “the fastest boats and the best sails in the world,” one fan wrote.

And now, SailGP fans’ experiences will be more hyped-up than ever, courtesy of new 5G and IoT-centric innovations from T-Mobile.

Thanks to what has been called “the secure, ultra-reliable, low-latency 5G connectivity from T-Mobile’s 5G Hybrid Mobile Network,” SailGP fans and athletes alike are already benefitting from this collab, with immersive views of the live-action racing (right from the catamarans themselves) for fans, and advanced on-water performance analysis for them and the athletes, in turn.

(Also, for what it’s worth, I’ve seen footage. As someone who isn’t a diehard for 50-foot catamarans racing at speeds up to 60 miles per hour, being able to view everything as it’s happening is still pretty dang cool.)

So, yeah, T-Mobile technology is now officially powering new action cameras mounted on SailGP’s 10 F50s. They’re 5G-connected with POV-detail cameras that stream what’s happening (with high-definition video). These wireless cameras are embedded with 5G modules and send video directly to SailGP’s London broadcast studio, and the cameras themselves are supremely ideal for F50s. (Given they can reliably track athlete and F50 movements at nearly every turn, showcasing all the action in as “real-time” of a way as possible.)

“We’re constantly pushing the boundaries of what 5G can do for our consumers and businesses,” said Callie Field, President, T-Mobile Business Group. “Delivering fast and reliable analytics along with immersion-focused viewing experiences in such a tough offshore environment is a literal game changer.”

“We’ve even got helicopters and chase boats to track more action,” said Warren Jones, CTO, SailGP.

“Before the involvement of T-Mobile,” explained Alex Reid, Head of Systems at SailGP, “we had real issues with latency and bandwidth. SailGP needs lower latency and high connectivity because we have to download over 300,000 data points per second. Now, it arrives to the studio as quickly as possible, and with as little lag as possible.”

SailGP already dabbles in augmented reality (AR) to capture what’s happening on the water, given that it is just that: It’s on the water. It’s not like football or baseball, where lines can be painted and the field’s limits are the field’s limits. This is the water. And so, having more on-the-fly metrics and analytics to capture on-boat and above-boat thrills is fantastic for SailGP.

Moreover, during last month’s Oracle Los Angeles Sail Grand Prix, the SailGP strategists involved were able to carry 5G-equipped handsets that provided live race data to help them make key tactical decisions. (All while flying over the water at legitimate highway speeds with nine other F50 catamarans in close proximity.)

So, the F50s have essentially become massive IoT devices that also happen to provide incredible entertainment.

I may just have to start watching some SailGP, readers.

In any case, on its 12-event Season 4 global calendar, SailGP will be headed next to the France Sail Grand Prix from September 9-10. U.S. fans can watch on SailGP’s YouTube channel and on CBS Sports Network.




Edited by Greg Tavarez
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