Verizon Claims 5G Will Bring Us Closer

Be there... On your phone

Key Takeaways

  • 5G will power technologies that will bring sports and culture home to people without having to visit stadiums or museums, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said at Monday’s Consumer Electronics Show. 
  • The pandemic is creating a new urgency for the speed offered by 5G technology, Vestberg said. 
  • A "SuperStadium in the NFL" app will let viewers see the game’s different camera angles and use augmented reality features that show player stats.
Group of students using virtual reality glasses as school.
SDI Productions / Getty Images

Ultrafast 5G wireless technology will help bring sports and culture closer to people even while they are forced to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said at Monday’s Consumer Electronics Show. 

The rollout of 5G has been slower than expected and hasn’t always delivered the speeds promised. But Verizon is ramping up its networks, and the capabilities will allow new uses for augmented reality, virtual reality, and deliveries by drones, Vestberg said in a virtual keynote address. The pandemic is creating a new urgency for the speed offered by 5G technology, he added. 

"Our world has experienced significant change since we last took the keynote stage at CES in 2019," Vestberg said.

"There’s been an extreme acceleration in the digital revolution, and at the heart of that transformation is 5G technology. The future of work, learning, telehealth, retail, and streaming are very much our current realities. And we are just getting started. 5G isn’t just another tech innovation; it’s the platform that makes other innovations possible." 

SuperStadium Lets You See Different Camera Angles

Sports is one area where 5G will allow people to feel like they are at a game even when they are home, Vestberg said. He pointed out that Verizon will deploy 5G Ultra-Wideband, or the super-fast type of its 5G network, in NFL stadiums this year. A "SuperStadium in the NFL" app will let viewers see the game’s different camera angles and use augmented reality features that show player stats. 

"5G isn’t just another tech innovation; it’s the platform that makes other innovations possible." 

"Sports have brought people together even when we couldn’t be together in a stadium," Vestberg said. "Now with 5G ultra-wideband, we can transform the way people watch sports on the go with a mobile device."

Music venues are another area that will get a boost from 5G, Vestberg said at the conference. Verizon has partnered with 15 Live Nation venues to deploy 5G Ultra Wideband to access multiple camera angles. 

Students also will benefit from 5G by being able to view museums remotely, Vestberg said. He announced partnerships with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and Washington, D.C.’s Smithsonian Institution to produce high-definition scans of exhibits.

Students will be able to view the images and see information about them using 5G networks. "At the Smithsonian, when you can’t get to the museum in person," virtual visitors will be able to explore things like the Apollo 11 command module, Vestberg said. 

Screenshots from The Met Unframed.

The Met Unframed is a virtual art and gaming experience, with Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband’s enhancements. The exhibit displays about 50 works of art from The Met's collection.

The Met Unframed is accessible from any 4G or 5G smart device and is available for free for a limited five-week run. Within the experience, four augmented reality works of art are enhanced with activations accessible to Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband users. 

Drones Phone Home

Vestberg also announced a collaboration with UPS to deliver packages with drones connected to Verizon 4G LTE and 5G testing and integration for delivery.

The companies aim to provide retail products via connected drones at The Villages in Florida. "We will need the ability to manage and support multiple drones, flying simultaneously, dispatched from a centralized location, operating in a secure and safe environment," Carol B. Tomé, CEO of UPS, said in a virtual appearance at the CES news conference.

"To do this at scale, alongside Verizon and Skyward, we’ll need the power of 5G."

Tomé said that the drone deliveries could help alleviate the effects of the pandemic. UPS already has operated more than 3,800 drone delivery flights, and future drone services will "help healthcare reduce the amount of time in transit for medications," she said.

Want more? See all our coverage of CES 2021 right here.

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