By Hui Fang, VP, ZTE Corporation
New Game-Watching Experience in 5G Smart Stadiums
ZTE’s MEC based Multi-Angle Video Instant Dissemination Service
5G is going to be the major driver of edge deployments. Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) has strong potential and benefits in terms of reduction of network latency, localised video/data processing, and improvement in performance of video delivery and consumption, and delivery of high-quality services.
The multi-angle video instant dissemination service is designed for a typical use case where visual content is produced, processed and consumed locally, for example in a stadium environment, by considering how to maintain the low latency requirement for local video delivery and new user experience under deployments of video processing with capacity at the edge. The visual content may include video from a specific viewing angle, multiple viewing angles, slow motion replay, analytics and statistics, et cetera.
Large public venues are good candidates for MEC. In this use case, video is captured from multiple sources. There may be multiple stationary cameras mounted throughout the stadium, and users may also be uploading their own captured content. Video produced from different resources are served to on-site consumers from the MEC platform, and do not require backhaul to a centralised core network and to then be returned to the user at the venue.
End users inside the stadium are provided with an APP to connect to the local video servers (vCDN) running on the edge. Consumers can select tailored content using the APP and may request a viewing angle or a shot from a location which is not available from their seat or section. Their request is directed to the MEC platform, running video applications in the stadium and at the network edge. This is especially relevant for events distributed over a wide area such as skiing, cycling, et cetera. Such a case can also be events including, concerts, public meetings or conferences.
The MEC platform also offers local computing capacity which executes real-time processing of the captured video streams. The video processing allows, for example, editing and composing of videos from multiple sources. The MEC system may also convert the composed video in multiple video formats in order to support the wide range of media players present in end user devices. Statistical and analytical data about a player, actor, et cetera can be fetched from a MEC server where data are locally stored, or a cloud server across the Internet. Typical scenes, such as goals, corners or penalty kicks, red or yellow cards in a football game, can be recognised by using related Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and consumers are offered auto-generated video clips of the typical scenes. The edge video applications may be scaled up or scaled down dynamically, based on demand.
The APP can be integrated with other social media APPs, or have its own social function in order to share video clips, comments or user-generated videos with people outside the stadium. Apart from the video-related services, several value-added functions using edge capacity can also be added to provide convenience to on-site consumers or support venue service, for example location-based services including drink and food ordering. These functions also bring benefits and new business model to the operators or APP owners.
The multi-angle video instant dissemination service enhances the mobile experience and offers consumers with limitless video consumption. It combines multiple technologies such as MEC, IP transformation in the video production industry, low latency encoding/transcoding, video processing and editing using AI, et cetera into one application. It grows up with the 5G technologies and pushes the maturation of part of the new technologies. An example is 5G broadcasts, which may be the next evolution in media delivery for mobile, as the service benefits from 5G broadcast adoptions via offloading the network loads.
Together with the operators, ZTE is embracing edge computing for both its fixed and mobile networks. Early this year, ZTE and Migu demonstrated together the design approach, with the APP installed on smartphone and pad during MWC19 Barcelona. The demo has attracted the attention of operators, video and MEC professionals around the world.
More recently, the focus of this work has extended to an on-site trial during China’s Second National Youth Games, running from 8-18 August, using several competition and non-competition venues in Shanxi Province. The edge video applications will be provided by ZTE. The use of MEC will help bring more immersive and unforgettable experiences to the games, to experiencing how the world watches sport under the new 5G network. Multi-angles, virtual reality, and 360-degree panoramic live videos will bring fans closer to the action than ever before.
The 2022 Winter Olympic Games are now two-and-a-half years away. China's Ministry of Industry and Technology and the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are working together to apply 5G technologies and applications during the games. The use of MEC for on-site video applications is going to be an important part of the “5G enabling smart Winter Olympics”.
Supreme simplicity, supreme intelligence, supreme experience
To meet the challenges of 5G deployment, ZTE has built a "supreme simple" network deployment, "supreme intelligent" network operation, and "supreme excellent" user experience. By virtue of high-performance chips, core technologies, a series of end-to-end products, network convergence and long-term evolution, ubiquitous artificial intelligence applications and 5G application exploration advantages, ZTE has overcome the technical difficulties such as precise and seamless 5G network coverage, coordinated development of multi-frequency and multi-mode networks, enhanced O&M efficiency, and vertical industry expansion, helping operators to gain competitive advantage in the 5G era.
The coexistence of 2G/3G/4G/5G calls for site resource reuse, multi-frequency and multi-mode coordination and smooth long-term evolution. ZTE's UniSite solution features high integration, high performance, and multi-frequency and multi-mode series of base station products, making site deployment simple, economical and efficient. The UniSite solution provides differentiated match solutions for various scenarios such as urban hotspots, urban areas, suburbs and indoor environments. This ensures seamless coverage and high network performance with the most economical investment in all 5G scenarios.
Simplifying the network architecture is imperative. ZTE NG BBU supports 2G/3G/4G/5G, CRAN, DRAN and other networking modes to achieve multi-mode network integration and smooth long-term evolution. The first commercial 5G Common Core in the industry, which is based on the service-based architecture (SBA), supports full access and integration of 2G/3G/4G/5G/fixed, is compatible with 3GPP R15 SA and NSA, and reduces the investment cost by 40 per cent.
With 5G, network operation and maintenance is becoming more and more complicated, and fragmentation imposes extremely high requirements on network capability and response speed. ZTE introduces a series of self-developed AI Engine in the full 5G scenario, including fine network management based on RF fingerprint, Massive MIMO weight self-adaptation, mobile load balance to increase capacity, and intelligent shutdown to save energy and reduce consumption, thus the unattended and self-evolution network can be realised.
The supreme experience comes from seamless network coverage and supreme performance. With the industry-leading high-performance and highly integrated self-developed chips, ZTE provides the industry's most powerful NG BBU and the industry's smallest 5G AAU. ZTE has five years' experience in Massive MIMO commercialisation. With continuous product performance optimisation, ZTE provides commercial performance optimisation solutions in various typical application scenarios (such as CBD and stadium) to provide users with optimal experience.
ZTE launched the industry's first AI-based commercial 5G slicing operation system, light edge cloud and intelligent acceleration solutions to meet the requirements of vertical industries for low-latency services.
While planning 5G network construction, operators are also exploring 5G killer services for commercial rewards. ZTE focuses on large-scale fields that have urgent requirements for 5G development. Firstly, the industrial fields, such as intelligent manufacturing, smart grid, V2X and smart Port. Secondly, social governance and people's livelihood, including public security, telemedicine, water management, and smart education. Finally, the entertainment field, including UHD live broadcast and AR/VR. So far, ZTE has worked with operators and partners to implement 5G+ vertical industry applications in more than 15 fields.
By virtue of end-to-end product series and rich experience in commercial network construction, ZTE is actively participating in the commercial construction of global 5G. ZTE will work with industry partners to promote the commercial deployment of 5G to facilitate a win-win 5G era.