This innovative and time-saving initiative has also proven highly relevant to the media, social media influencers, and sports-related brand marketing teams. Combining the advantages of 5G (sending photos in real-time without the need for travel or computer connection) with artificial intelligence made it possible to index athletes’ photos during a match in near-real-time. This collaborative experiment between Orange and Newsbridge has opened up a whole new range of possibilities, once again showcasing the potential of this powerful partnership.
In 2022, the 5G Lab team at Orange Velodrome joined forces with Sony to conduct an experiment titled “Take a Smile.” The primary objective was to evaluate the advantages of the 5G network for professional photographers, simplifying the seamless sending of high-quality photos. The results were successful, as the experiment enabled instant transmission of HD photos directly from a Sony Alpha 1 camera connected to the 5G network. This groundbreaking milestone demonstrated that thanks to 5G, professional photographers could liberate themselves from their computers’ confines and the need for local network connections for photo sharing. However, the Orange 5G Lab team did not rest on their laurels; instead, they continued their research, firmly convinced that 5G holds countless additional benefits for professionals and content creators.
“We thought this was a great development, but the story was missing a sequel,” states Solene Verdier, Partnership Success Manager for Orange Business. “With the exceptional capabilities of 5G, such as its high bandwidth and minimal latency, photographers can now send their photos instantly. However, this progress has sparked further inquiries. Is it impossible to devise a solution that leverages this real-time capability when it comes to photo selection? By harnessing the advantages of 5G, could artificial intelligence accelerate the process of selecting photos transmitted in real-time by Social Media Managers while simultaneously enhancing the overall relevance of the captured images?”
“Today’s challenge revolves around the photographer positioned near the pitch, who captures images of all the players. Subsequently, during halftime, the photographer retrieves his computer, inserts the SD card, exports the recently taken photos, and shares them with content creators and the press. As explained by Guillaume Chabas, Director of Innovation and Partnerships at the Orange Vélodrome’s 5G Lab, this repetitive process presents several drawbacks for various individuals within the stadium.
Firstly, photographers face the limitation of being unable to broadcast their photos in real time. The images are only accessible after a 45-minute delay at halftime.
Secondly, content creators, such as the press and social media influencers responsible for managing the Olympique de Marseille and Orange Velodrome social network accounts, find themselves inundated with a massive influx of photos all at once. Consequently, they spend considerable time sifting through the collection to select the optimal image. The chosen photo must meet various criteria associated with sports marketing, including the visibility of players and logos, the presence of partner endorsements, and more.”
To offer a more comprehensive solution compared to the findings from the previous Sony experiment, the Orange 5G Lab team conceptualized the entire workflow involving photographers and the accompanying media team responsible for publishing and distributing visuals.
Recognizing that the sorting of professional photos emerged as the weakest link in the process, the team embarked on optimizing the system to enable real-time utilization of 5G by devising a solution capable of swift and precise photo sorting. The objective was to empower media outlets and content creators to promptly share the visuals, aligning with the photographers’ rapid transmission facilitated by 5G and Sony.
The team reached out to Newsbridge, a company specializing in leveraging artificial intelligence for image and video indexing, to establish a partnership.
Experimentation was conducted under real-life conditions during an OM-Lens match at the Orange Velodrome. On-field photographers were equipped with Sony’s 5G-enabled Alpha 1 cameras, akin to the “Take a Smile” experiment. Each photographer could instantly transmit photos to a dedicated server, leveraging the camera’s capabilities.
Sébastien Letemple, Key Account Manager at Newsbridge, elaborates:
“Our artificial intelligence, facilitated by Edge computing provided by the Orange 5G Lab, acted as a bridge between the cloud-based environment where Newsbridge‘s platform operates and the field where the photographers were situated. Upon receiving the photos, our AI swiftly indexed and identified various elements.”
When referring to “indexed,” it implies the identification of players (front and back), sponsors, and team logos. The AI was also put to the test by being tasked with recognizing three distinct models of shoes worn by the players during the match. In essence, by combining three different technologies (5G, Edge computing, and AI), many professional photos could be retrieved in real-time. Furthermore, the most relevant photos for each media outlet could be pre-selected, reducing the distribution time. These photos were distributed accordingly: to the players, enabling them to share on social networks through the Newsbridge mobile app; to the respective team sponsors for marketing campaigns and social media utilization; and to the shoe brand present at the match, which could organize in-stadium marketing initiatives based on the captured photos.
"Newsbridge has revolutionized our ability to enhance photo relevance and maximize their utility by harnessing 5G-powered real-time metadata creation from photographers' submissions."
Guillaume Chabas, Director of Innovation and Partnerships at the Orange Velodrome 5G Lab.
Orange’s Edge computing, much like 5G technology, played a crucial role in utilizing the sent photos. Guillaume Chabas highlights, “We no longer had to wait for all the photos to be exported and individually analyzed to assess their relevance and interest.” Sébastien Letemple echoes this observation from Newsbridge, who emphasizes the speed facilitated by 5G during the experiment. Letemple explains,
“With 5G, an image captured by a professional photographer carries a significant file size. However, the transfer time between the photographer, the indexing machine, and intended recipients such as media outlets or sponsors was accelerated while preserving the image quality. Additionally, Edge computing played a pivotal role in expediting visual processing. We were able to initiate image processing directly at the stadium, bypassing the need to upload them to the cloud first. This involved retrieving high-quality images, generating low-quality versions, and swiftly indexing them while awaiting the arrival of the high-quality images in the cloud.”
The optimization of timing was perfectly achieved through these techniques.
“Both Orange’s public 5G network and the dedicated experimental 5G network exclusively for professionals piqued our interest. These were novel technologies for us at Newsbridge. It presented a unique opportunity to accomplish two objectives simultaneously: testing our AI in a 5G and Edge computing environment, and assessing the practical relevance and added value of each of these technologies for our AI-based indexing service. The goal was to determine whether the image indexing service we currently offer our customers, specifically sports organizations, could be further enhanced by integrating 5G and Edge computing. Until now, we relied on either 4G or fiber connections within the stadiums. The outcomes have been unequivocal: 5G significantly improves image retrieval times. Moreover, connecting a camera to 5G brings significant advantages for photographers like us. Sending photos directly from the field becomes effortless, leveraging a reliable and stable connection speed (unlike Wi-Fi) and eliminating the constraints associated with wired connections,” explains Letemple.
The unexpected outcome of the experimentation was the ability to instantly send photos and index them throughout the entire match, enabling photographers to receive real-time guidance. This shift transformed the approach from a passive “let’s see what comes out of the shoot” to an active “here’s what’s happening as we go along” as the Director of Innovation and Partnerships at the Orange Velodrome’s 5G Lab explained. This substantial change has profound implications. It allows photographers to readjust their focus during the match, avoiding unpleasant surprises and eliminating the need to wait for the next match to capture different or complementary shots. The real-time adjustment not only saves significant time for operations but also has a substantial impact on marketing activities.
Thanks to the collaboration between 5G and Newsbridge, the media and content creators gained a comprehensive overview of all the photos captured by the photographers. They no longer had to wait for everyone to submit their photos, either at halftime or the following day. Furthermore, Newsbridge‘s artificial intelligence facilitated the sorting and organizing of the photos based on predefined criteria such as the ball, shoe, logo, smile, face, name, and colors. The AI automatically created folders and updated them as new photos were received. This pre-selection process ensured that the professionals responsible for distributing the photos didn’t stop at the first image that only partially met their expectations. Instead, thanks to this integration of artificial intelligence and real-time capabilities provided by 5G, professionals gained access to a curated batch of photos that precisely aligned with their expectations, criteria, and constraints. This facilitated the swift and efficient selection of the best photo from a pool of excellent options.
The streamlined process of automatically indexing and sorting files enhances workflow efficiency while facilitating seamless collaboration on real-time feeds during transmission.
With the real-time capabilities of 5G and the advanced functionalities offered by Newsbridge‘s artificial intelligence, professional photos taken during a match acquire a whole new level of significance and usefulness. This opens up possibilities for future use cases for the Orange 5G Lab!
“Without the 5G Lab team, this real-life experiment would have been significantly more complex! The 5G Lab at Orange Velodrome is pivotal in facilitating connections within the venue and among all the participants involved, including football teams, players, and photographers. They are also an invaluable resource for leveraging the power of 5G, such as different types of 5G networks, camera integration, and Edge computing. The team provides comprehensive technical support and guidance throughout the experimentation process. It’s an incredibly comfortable experience that allows us to evaluate the true potential of 5G,” concludes Letemple.
This article was originally published by Orange 5G Lab.