U.S. operator Verizon said that it has partnered with TV network NBC to use 5G to get people closer to the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York through an augmented reality and hologram experience. A 5G Portal can be experienced in the Verizon activation area at Bryant Park throughout the duration of the event.
The 360-degree 5G Portal experience puts viewers in control of the ways in which they view and focus on the balloons, floats and performers. This experience is made possible on Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network. NBC has been transmitting live coverage of the parade every year since 1952.
In addition to the 5G Portal, and for those who are not able to get to Bryant Park, viewers can again watch the parade as a multi-camera, 360-degree livestream. As part of this broadcast, viewers will be treated to Virtual Balloons that will animate and transform based on fan feedback, with fun facts that appear alongside physical Parade floats and performers. The livestream will also feature holographic celebrity appearances throughout the Parade route.
As 5G networks take shape and rollout gets underway, mobile operators are looking for ways to advertise the new high-speed service. Major public events such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade provide excellent opportunities to showcase what 5G networks can accomplish. Due to the large numbers of attendees, they can enable operators such as Verizon to reach a broad cross-section of potential subscribers.
Because of the nature of this particular event, one of the most popular in the United States, it is a particularly good venue for a 5G demonstration. The fact that many would-be parade-goers will, for space reasons, not be able to view the parade directly means that the 5G-enabled livestream will be especially valued as a way of viewing the event even though one is standing several blocks or more away from the route.
Beyond that, the AR and hologram experiences are sure to be relatively vivid ways of demonstrating to attendees the sheer power of next-generation high-speed signals. Given the immense amount of bandwidth necessary to transmit such effects to a large number of mobile users in a very congested network environment, the results will no doubt be impressive, and the unusual second-screening effects will solidify the impression in participants’ minds.
Of course, it should be borne in mind that these splashy special effects are not exactly representative of the ways in which users will experience 5G in their everyday lives. Nonetheless, for those who do not know what 5G is or have little awareness of its potential, bells and whistles such as AR and holograms at a mass public event will likely prove persuasive. Long after Thanksgiving is over, those who participated will not only remember the power of the network and its applications, but they will also remember Verizon and perhaps think of the operator first when contemplating getting their first 5G subscription and device.