Spectators at the Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea are witnessing the most high-tech Olympic Games ever in history. At the helm of it all is 5G, the wireless network technology that mobile carriers around the world are using.
Major companies like Samsung and Intel are showing off their technology, including self-driving cars, virtual-reality viewing stations and super-fast video streaming. Pyeongchang has emerged as a vital testing ground for Intel and South Korean mobile carrier KT and they are using it as the tech industry’s largest 5G showcase yet.
Intel is hoping to dazzle fans with the technology by offering new ways of watching Olympic athletes. It’s set up 5G stations to track cross-country skiers, deployed dozens of cameras inside an ice arena, and made this the first Winter Olympics to be broadcast live in virtual reality. 5G networks are still being developed, but the technology is expected to eventually be at least 10 times faster than 4G.
Intel is using all that firepower for the Games to roll out 4K and even some 8K video, which offer image quality many times higher than that of HD, but he stressed that what’s available in Pyeongchang is still “an early showcase” of the technology’s capabilities. And guests walking into arenas won’t see the internet automatically speeding up on their phones because to access 5G, they’ll have to use Intel’s tablets at certain “spectator zones.”
Other companies are also using the Olympics to demonstrate the possibilities of 5G. Hyundai, South Korea’s top automaker, is letting visitors test out its autonomous Nexo SUV. The car successfully carried out a test drive all the way from Seoul to Pyeongchang, a journey of several hours, earlier this month without any human intervention.
The SUV is the world’s first self-driving electric vehicle to be powered by a fuel cell, according to Hyundai. That means that instead of running on gas, it uses electricity produced from a combination of hydrogen and oxygen.
The next Summer Olympics will feature even more advanced technology. Intel says the demonstrations in Pyeongchang are “a backbone” for what will be on show at the Tokyo Games in 2020.
PICTURE CREDIT: Hyundai