With £825,000 of Government funding as part of 5G Create – a competition exploring how 5G can improve people’s lives and help the UK build back better from the pandemic – Cowes Week Ltd and its partners, aql and the 1851 Trust, will deliver the ‘Connected Cowes 5G Project’ and showcase its capabilities at the Cowes Week regatta in the first week of August 2021.
Covering sailing from a spectators viewpoint has always been difficult but the Connected Cowes 5G Project will see high definition 360° cameras fitted to 50 boats at this year’s regatta, each of those cameras beaming back real-time, high definition pictures to the Cowes Live TV presentation, which will be shown on big screens around the town, as well as being available on the internet worldwide.
A virtual reality lounge on the Parade in Cowes will enable spectators to don headsets and be transported out to one of the 50 boats, literally seeing exactly what’s going on right across the Solent. Turn your head and the camera will show you what the crew are looking at right that second!
The new Cowes Week Spectator App will bring all of this technology directly to spectators both here in the UK and around the world, further enhancing Cowes Week’s global reach as one of the most famous sailing regattas in the world. Race organisers will use the new technology to enhance their race management capabilities and with 700 boats circulating on 42 different race courses every day that is an enormous challenge in its own right.
Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure said:
“Connected Cowes is just one of the ways we’re exploring 5G’s uncharted waters through our £200 million testbeds and trials programme. I look forward to seeing it demonstrate how 5G can allow anyone, even those hundreds of miles from the coast, to experience the thrill of yacht racing.”
aql, who are long-term sponsors at Cowes Week, are providing the technical infrastructure to make the project a reality and after the regatta the 1851 Trust will put together a 5G STEM learning package which will complement the already significant work that the 1851 Trust is doing in this area.
An event like Cowes Week relies on sponsorship but in the past sponsor return has sometimes been difficult to quantify without the ability to put the sport on television. Using the Connected Cowes 5G Project as a test bed, however, CWL aims to bring exciting and engaging television coverage to Cowes Week, to sailing worldwide and thereafter to other non-stadium sports through a new sports media delivery company.