ESPN Teams Up With DMED, Accenture, Microsoft, and Verizon to Launch ‘ESPN Edge Innovation Center’
The virtual center will look to build upon ESPN innovations like PylonCam, MegaCast, and REMI productions
ESPN has launched the ESPN Edge Innovation Center, aiming to collaborate with other leaders in technology to explore how new technologies like 5G, Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) and mobile edge computing (MEC) can enable new ways for fans to experience sports. The ESPN Edge Innovation Center will include key partnerships in the categories of technology, consulting, connectivity and hardware.
The virtual center launches in collaboration with Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution and Founding Partners Accenture, Microsoft, and Verizon. Together, the companies will explore, develop, and potentially adopt emerging technologies and approaches to enhance and advance the experiences sports fans and athletes have with ESPN’s world-class storytelling.
“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,” says Mark L. Walker, Senior Vice President, Content Business Development and Innovation, ESPN. “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.”
Accenture and ESPN are forming an innovation lab where both teams will work together to imagine, explore, conceive, and prototype future sports entertainment experiences and production capabilities using emerging technologies. Together they will explore technologies and approaches that seek to enhance the production of live sporting events, consumer-facing products, and personalized fan experience.
ESPN and Microsoft are teaming up to explore innovative cloud-based solutions to deliver optimal content and services to customers when they want it. By using Microsoft’s cloud platforms and digital technologies such as automation, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, the companies will explore fan engagement with a focus on personalization and accessibility. Microsoft’s productivity tools and low-code/no-code capabilities will also help with greater speed and efficiency. Through this collaboration Microsoft Azure will also become ESPN Edge’s primary innovation cloud platform.
Verizon and ESPN are partnering to create new experiences powered by Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband, which is now available in parts of over 70 cities, and mobile edge compute (MEC). The companies will explore how 5G’s massive bandwidth, low latency and super-fast speeds can enable next generation sports fan experiences that are interactive and immersive. Fans could be empowered to select and view games from multiple camera angles, be transported via a 360-degree portal to view exclusive footage or have a retail experience enhanced by augmented reality. 5G and MEC can also transform sports broadcast production by allowing content providers to distribute live streams at low latencies in a more streamlined and cost-effective manner.
The ESPN Edge Innovation Center will be directed by an operating committee comprised of representatives from ESPN, the ESPN Edge founding partners and DMED. For more information, please visit ESPNEdge.com.