Nokia, in collaboration with the Wireless Institute in the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, has successfully tested Wi-Fi applications based on Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC).
The live tests were carried out at Compton Ice Arena with a vision of scaling the solution for the university’s iconic football stadium. The goal was to see how the technology can dramatically enhance the user experience of students and sports fans attending games and other events.
People attending sports and music events increasingly expect reliable mobile connectivity in order to access related content like player performance stats, view replays and multiple camera angles, and connect to social media. But in venues such as stadiums, high demand for content is often limited by inconsistent or overloaded Wi-Fi and cellular coverage leading to, at times, unreliable service availability.
Notre Dame stadium hosts more than 80,000 fans for Fighting Irish football games six or seven weekends each fall. With consistently high attendance and people frequently experiencing poor coverage issues, Nokia and Notre Dame’s Wireless Institute set out to test Wi-Fi with two MEC-based applications: Edge Video Orchestration (EVO) – provides options to view four video streams from different angles in real time, with a less than 500-millisecond delay and Augmented Reality (AR) – an AR-based gaming experience where information can be overlaid on devices over streamed video
The trial also tested the MEC applications with a feature enabling connective to multiple radios, optimizing data flow through Wi-Fi and cellular networks. Using Nokia’s Flexi Zone small cell base stations and AirScale Wi-Fi access points, the test found that the technology can significantly improve data throughput in venues such as stadiums where there is a dense concentration of mobile users all trying to access the network and content simultaneously.
J. Nicholas Laneman, Co-director of the Wireless Institute, University of Notre Dame said, “We were pleased to work with Nokia and excited to see their technology in a proof of concept that provides flexibility and power to enhanced and innovative applications.”
Joe Hammer, Global Alliance Director, Nokia said, “MEC enables exciting new marketing opportunities for venues, smart cities and retailers to provide digital advertising, customized services or enhanced user experiences. Nokia, with strategic partners such as IBM, can leverage MEC to analyze customers’ preferences and behaviors with cognitive analytics. By deploying applications at the network edge, rich, engaging content is brought closer to consumers, application response times are reduced while reliability is increased – all of these benefits offer a truly excellent user experience.”