Photo shows the Beijing 2022 presentation during the closing ceremony for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, PyeongChang, South Korea, Feb. 25, 2018. (Photo: Xinhua/Lan Hongguang)
Virtual reality video streaming and facial recognition technologies will be used in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, as China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd, the country's second-largest telecom carrier by mobile subscribers, scrambles to help build the event into a smart sports gathering enabled by cutting-edge communication technologies.
"As the official telecommunications service provider for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, we will support the much-anticipated event with a secure, smart network that allows superfast internet speeds. We will also deploy pioneering applications to inject new vitality into the Olympic Games," said Wang Xiaochu, chairman of China Unicom, at a ceremony in Beijing on Friday.
The Beijing-based company hopes to leverage the 2022 Winter Olympics as another strategic opportunity to grow its business amid stiff competition from rivals such as China Mobile Communications Corp and China Telecommunications Corp.
As part of its overall services, China Unicom will set up a robust telecom infrastructure to enable 4K to 8K video transmission, as well as virtual reality and augmented reality live broadcast of competitions.
Voice, image, position and behavior recognition technologies will also be deployed to better engage audiences, organizers and athletes, the company said in a statement.
To live up to such goals, China Unicom is conducting 5G, or fifth-generation mobile communication technologies, scale tests in 16 cities including Beijing and Zhangjiakou, Hebei province.
Juan Antonio Samaranch, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, said the rapid advancement of mobile communication technology has satisfied people's demand for "faster, higher, stronger" networks, and also provided more possibilities for the development of the Olympics. He said the world is looking forward to a wonderful Winter Olympics in four years in Beijing.
China Unicom said earlier that the core features of a smart Olympics include safety, multimedia formats, artificial intelligence technologies and energy reduction. The company was the official telecommunications service provider when the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics was held.
The company is furthering its mixed ownership reform by strengthening partnerships with private investors.