KT to provide 360 degree VR for 2018 Winter Games

The South Korean telco says viewers of the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang will be able to watch the Games in 360 degrees through their 5G network.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

KT, South Korea's second-largest mobile carrier and largest wired network provider, has demonstrated fifth-generation (5G) technology in front of South Korea's organising committee for the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, including a feature that will allow 360 degree virtual reality viewing.

The company's "360° VR" will provide live multi-channels in real-time, allowing viewers to see the games in the direction and angle they desire at home, the company said.

Other technology includes "Sync View", featuring an ultra-small camera on a wireless network module that live streams ultra-high definition video using a 5G antenna. As the name suggests, viewers can load two screens at once -- one showing the view of the player and another of the regular game broadcast.

Holograms of players are also planned, and a face recognition tech called "5G Safety" will transmit videos taken by drones and cameras to the control centre for security purposes.

The upcoming Games, to be held at the city of Pyeongchang, east of Seoul, is expected to host 6,000 players from over 100 nations and be viewed by 380 million people worldwide.

KT said it will provide 35,000 wired lines and build a wireless network that can host up to 250,000 devices simultaneously -- twice the volume of networks provided during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. While the 2014 Games provided around 2,000 access points for wireless networks, Pyeongchang will provide 5,000, the company added.

A cloud datacentre will also be built specifically for the Games, with construction starting in May this year. It will be in addition to the company's datacentres already in Gwacheon, Busan, and Gunsan, and will be used to transmit data around the world for viewing.

As of February this year, KT has already built 30 percent of the necessary networks for the Games.

South Korean telcos SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus are planning to fully commercialise 5G by 2020 or earlier if possible. They also said they will use the Winter Games to show off 5G for the first time, before full deployment.

The country's largest carrier, SK Telecom, recently announced that it was building a pilot network for 5G with Swedish network giant Ericsson.

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