Cowes Week Limited has been selected by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to participate in the 5G Test and Create project.
Covering sailing from a spectator’s 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 will beam 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.
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 is going on right across the Solent.
The new Cowes Week Spectator App will bring all of this technology directly to spectators both here in the UK and around 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 are exploring 5G’s uncharted waters through our £200 million test beds 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.”
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 television coverage to Cowes Week, to sailing worldwide and thereafter to other non-stadium sports through a new sports media delivery company.