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5G might ride the remote wave

Jun 18, 2020 By Michael Darer

As the M&E industry begins to settle back into its rhythms disrupted by COVID-19, the power of remote production in sports broadcasting is more apparent than ever before. Buoying the return of live sports, remote production is proving to be one of the safest and most flexible ways to create content, and–although its benefits were gaining increased recognition prior to the outbreak–those advantages are perhaps the clearest they’ve ever been. This is good news for 5G.

Remote Production and 5G

Excitement (and some anxiety) around 5G has been a key part of the media conversation over the last year, and its remote production capabilities are further energizing the current discussion. According to an article published by IBC365 on June 3, “With 5G deployments now underway in many parts of the world, sporting events have led the way in utilising the new mobile technology for productions…The 5G platform has long been touted as a potential key link in the 4K video delivery chain thanks to its multi-gigabit speeds and latencies as low as a millisecond.”

Just days later, Nevion published the results of a recent poll during which they spoke with broadcasters about their confidence around 5G, and the answers were heartening. According to those surveyed 94% felt as though their country had the infrastructure to adopt 5G, while 92% felt as though they themselves would adopt fully within two years. When asked about potential use cases, remote production was clearly the most popular, with 65% of broadcasters identifying it as a reason they were looking at 5G adoption.

The future of remote work looks very good for 5G

Over the last two months, Signiant has spoken with a wealth of organizations in a variety of sectors of the media industry about their experience with coronavirus, remote production, and remote working. Among all of them, there is a constant refrain: things aren’t ever going to go back to exactly the way they were, and it’s likely that remote working will become an increased part of their strategy going forward. 

Among major sports broadcasting organizations, this is also true, with BT Sports noting that the remote production model they developed during quarantine is not only more dynamic than what came before, but also much more conducive to diversity and inclusion in the hiring process.

So, it’s fair to say that remote production and remote working aren’t going anywhere.

This being the case, 5G could not have begun to establish itself at a more fitting moment. For broadcasters and production companies that want to keep their teams safe and socially distant, build more flexible content creation strategies, and experiment with new technologies and resolutions, 5G provides clear support, making it easier to connect personnel and files.

While remote production is far from the only 5G application, it’s the one that feels the most relevant right now, and it’s possible that it could prove to be one of the biggest drivers for the technology. Though there are surely more developments on the horizon, from where we’re standing, the 5G/remote production partnership has the potential to make a major industry impact.

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