Jun 14, 2023

ITN and Vodafone Team Up with LiveU to Bring 5G-Powered Live Broadcasts from the Coronation

A network slice on a public 5GSA network was created for the first time in the UK by Vodafone for ITN's Coronation coverage

A network slice on a public 5GSA network was created for the first time in the UK by Vodafone for ITN’s Coronation coverage

LiveU, the IP-video company, played a key role in ITN’s coverage of HM King Charles III’s Coronation, the first broadcast enabled in the UK using network slicing on a public 5G Standalone (5GSA) network, powered by Vodafone. In the run-up to the event, Vodafone and ITN announced a partnership to create an exclusive network slice on Vodafone’s public 5GSA network for the Coronation. 23 ITN cameras in front of Buckingham Palace and along the Mall were delivered back to the Green Park media compound and from there were transmitted back to ITN’s London HQ via LiveU’s cellular technology, leveraging the dedicated network slice.

With thousands of well-wishers attending the event, many eager to share the experience using their mobile phones, available cellular capacity could come under pressure. The 5GSA, used here, allowed the LRT™ (LiveU Reliable Transport) IP-video camera feed to be transmitted over a dedicated slice of the network, helping ensure dedicated bandwidth, low latency and high video quality while the rest of the bandwidth remained available for public use.

The LiveU EcoSystem with the multi-cam LU800 unit was deployed prior to the event to add efficiency and shorten the workflow. The unit was ready to go live with Vodafone SIMs dedicated to the 5G slice on their public network. By using these dedicated SIMs and the enabled slice of the network, premium quality coverage was guaranteed. The LiveU team on-site conducted extensive testing, preparation, and validation of the broadcasting solution at various locations – both private and public sites – to ensure the highest quality experience for viewers.

By combining the LU800 and public 5GSA network, ITN avoided the expense, hassle, time, and technical constraints of using a cabled or RF camera.

Jon Roberts, Director of Technology, Production, and Innovation, ITN, said, “We were delighted to be part of this successful pilot with Vodafone and LiveU, and it was truly exciting to see the undeniable capabilities of 5GSA network slicing technology so clearly demonstrated on such an iconic event. Being able to reliably use the public cellular network to bring back coverage of the balcony appearance while the crowd filled The Mall was a perfect test and a suitably memorable moment. We are looking forward to seeing what we can do next with this groundbreaking technology at ITN.”

Danny Kelly, Head of Innovation at Vodafone, said, «I am very proud that through this partnership, Vodafone has enabled another 5GSA UK first for the Coronation of King Charles III. End-to-end 5G powers creative technology solutions like network slicing, which offer a wealth of possibilities for businesses. Vodafone’s Innovation team is continually exploring 5GSA use cases in order to help set UK businesses up for the best possible success once this technology is fully deployed.»

The King’s, Queen’s, and Royal Family’s first balcony appearance, as well as the fly past and coverage throughout the day, were broadcast via ITN using the LU800. Steve Wind-Mozley, LiveU’s Chief Marketing Officer, said, «The late Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation was the first to be televised, so it is fitting that the Coronation of King Charles III also pioneered the use of cutting-edge technology. In this case, it is the first UK use of a public 5G standalone network slice for a live broadcast. All of us at LiveU are honored to have helped share these historic first images of the King and Queen to viewers all around the world.”

The testing of the capability for this network-slicing partnership was supported by Vodafone’s technology partner Ericsson together with LiveU. This was done at Vodafone and Coventry University’s 5GSA Media Innovation Lab in Coventry – the first of its kind in the UK. LiveU has previously been involved in in-depth and successful network slicing trials using IP bonding, proving the vital relationship between the two for ultimate quality and reliability, with users also benefiting from all the established benefits of LiveU’s IP EcoSystem. Network slicing is a key next-gen 5G capability for the Media and Entertainment sector and is one of the main benefits of 5G networks.