American cable sports channel ESPN has officially launched the ESPN Edge Innovation Center to bring viewers new ways to experience sports.
The initiative is spearheaded by founding partners Accenture, Microsoft, and Verizon, and will see the companies collaborate on 5G, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), and mobile edge computing (MEC).
At the ESPN Edge Innovation Center, Accenture and ESPN will form a joint innovation lab where they will explore technologies and approaches that seek to enhance the production of live sporting events, as well as consumer-facing products and personalized fan experience.
The collaboration with Microsoft, on the other hand, will see the computing giant aid ESPN in the exploration of cloud-based solutions to deliver on-demand content and services to customers, together with fan engagement driven by personalization and accessibility.
Following the beginning of this partnership, Microsoft Azure will also become ESPN Edge’s main cloud platform.
Finally, ESPN’s joint efforts with Verizon will focus on the delivery of the company’s 5G Ultra-Wideband and mobile edge computing solutions, including viewing games from multiple camera angles, being transported via a 360-degree portal to view exclusive footage, and having access to AR-powered retail experiences.
The two technologies will also reportedly enable content providers to distribute live streams at low latencies in a more streamlined and cost-effective manner.
“The sports media landscape has always been a sandbox for groundbreaking uses of technology and ESPN has a long history of being the pace-setter for creating new sports media experiences,” commented Mark L. Walker, Senior Vice President of Content Business Development and Innovation at ESPN.
As part of the new initiative, the company will also reportedly collaborate with the technology team in Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED).
“Combining the remarkable capabilities of our founding partners, Accenture, Microsoft, and Verizon with The Walt Disney Company’s technological expertise, ESPN Edge will be at the forefront of exploring new technologies and how we can continue to bring innovative firsts to sports fans everywhere,” Walker concluded.
The ESPN Edge Innovation Center will be directed by a committee comprised of representatives from ESPN, Accenture, Microsoft, Verizon, and DMED.
A virtual event to inaugurate the new initiative will be held on Wednesday, September 29, and you can learn more about it here.
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