December 10, 2022

China Unicom Beijing: Bringing Smart & Digital Multimedia to the 2022 Winter Olympics


As a former partner of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China Unicom has now become the sole communication service partner of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. During the 2018 Olympic Expo, China Unicom stated that the core objective for delivering a smart Winter Olympics was to enable safety, multimedia formats, artificial intelligence (AI), energy reduction, and technology.

The Winter Olympics will mark a milestone in the network world for sporting events by applying emerging intelligent technologies, big data, and cloud computing. China Unicom will be providing quality multimedia digital information services for both organizations and individuals and applying digital technologies and information channels to bring a new quality of experience (QoE) to the public.

Augmented network O&M

China Unicom Beijing is introducing augmented reality (AR) technology into its solution stack for the games to build a powerful tool for local O&M. Frontline O&M teams can access a full range of background information and receive support from experts remotely with just one click.

Real-time AR display implements 3D panel identification and tracking, high-precision positioning, and the digital modeling of devices, boards, and ports to bind background service information to physical boards in real time. Engineers can scan devices with a phone camera to identify a panel, associate NEs, synchronize resource management data, work orders, fault alarms, and performance and other types of data. Data is displayed on or next to the device panel, and fault alarms are visualized in real time, helping onsite engineers quickly locate faults.

AR remote assistance enables onsite engineers and remote expert teams to share information in real time. Experts can obtain onsite information from a first-person perspective, and remotely mark the ports to be connected or the boards to be replaced through real-time images.

SmartLink private lines: Bringing 4K/8K multimedia digital services to life

The Winter Olympics will be broadcast using 4K high dynamic range (HDR) imaging technology, and the opening and closing ceremonies, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, and other events will be produced using 8K UHD signals.

8K UHD live broadcasts will display sports on ice and snow in a more realistic way, providing unprecedented clarity and an unforgettable experience for the audience. This will also heap great bandwidth pressure on the network: 8K UHD features 33 million pixels and requires 48 Gbit/s bandwidth for transmission. During the Winter Olympics, data transmission from stadiums to the International Broadcast Center (IBC) will adopt the ST.2022-6/7 standard. The signal compression ratio is 1:4, which lowers the bandwidth requirement to a certain extent, but Gbit/s-level bandwidth is still required.

To ensure high transmission quality, China Unicom Beijing is using Huawei’s advanced packet-enhanced OTN (PeOTN) and all-optical cross-connect (OXC) to build an all-optical base and SmartLink private lines. Powered by these technologies, China Unicom Beijing has constructed an 8K UHD bearer network with high bandwidth, high reliability, zero packet loss, and low latency. 4K/8K UHD video signals sent from stadiums will first be slightly compressed and sent to the IBC in Beijing or Zhangjiakou Broadcast Center (ZBC). Multiple ultra-high-bandwidth PeOTN SmartLink private lines are reserved between each outdoor television studio (or local integrated production system) and the IBC (or ZBC) for bidirectional and active/standby redundancy transmission of video signals.

Digital O&M enabled on the intelligent distributed access network

The accelerated digital transformation of industries and the advent of the Internet of Everything (IoE) mean that the scale of telecommunications networks is constantly growing. Against this backdrop, traditional experience-based O&M is no longer applicable, as it is difficult to manually locate and analyze network faults and root causes and O&M efficiency is low. To address this problem, China Unicom Beijing uses Huawei’s next-generation intelligent distributed access network solution, which features intelligent technology and big data. We have deployed Huawei’s intelligent network management and control system iMaster NCE to enable the automated and digital transformation of network operations. This system uses intelligent technology and big data platforms to digitally present boards, devices, sites, and services. It can also accurately identify poor QoE and automatically analyze and locate root causes.

iMaster NCE also coordinates cross-domain network resources, dynamically adjusts bandwidth, and visualizes performance data in various network scenarios. This helps the operator make decisions, formulate accurate fault location and rectification processes, and develop precision marketing strategies for potential customers. It enables precise and proactive network operations, which in turn maximizes operations efficiency and improves user experience.

The operator will also use intelligent technology to evaluate whether active and standby fibers are in the same cable, analyze the health status of optical networks in real time, and predict faults to prevent potential network risks and enhance network security.

The network supports smart speed-up and, based on big data analytics on traffic, the network can automatically identify traffic bursts. When traffic volume reaches a specified threshold, the private line rate is automatically increased.

We are entering the era of everything being connected and online in real time, and that is the case with the Winter Olympics: multimedia digital services and big data will be everywhere. Various industries are undergoing digitalization: networks are being digitalized to enable real-time control of network performance and prevent potential risks. Digital modeling and AR are used on devices, making device installation and maintenance easy. And in stadium digitalization, digital twin stadiums are generated on a simulation platform, giving audiences an immersive experience in virtual stadiums.

At the games, intelligent technology will translate broadcast content, Olympic news will be delivered by digital broadcasters, and digital currency will be piloted in Olympic parks. To achieve the full array of multimedia digital services, PeOTN-powered technologies and solutions will provide ubiquitous premium connections for the media, audiences, Olympic organizers, and participants.

Let the games begin!

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