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Telefónica and Ericsson reinvent live entertainment with the power of 5G

Guests at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona (Spain) experienced technology, music and art united in a unique live and holographic concert by renowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang – a first-of-its-kind event made possible by the harmonious union of an Ericsson Private 5G network configured for 5G Standalone and 100MHz of Telefónica’s mid-band spectrum.  

Feb 27, 2024

Video courtesy of Telefónica

The experience, which formed the kick-off for Telefónica’s 100-year anniversary celebrations, saw over 1,200 guests welcomed with an astonishing live five-minute drone show over Liceu’s stage. But for the headline, they entered a new immersive reality as Lang Lang – heralded as the greatest pianist of his generation – reinterpreted popular pieces by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelsohn on a fully holographic piano – while his own holographic digital representation played the real piano alongside, in perfect synchronization.

Technology also enabled Lang Lang to share more than just his music, but his own emotions and responses, as connected sensors in his jacket and illuminated LED lights allowed the audience to visualize his heartbeat with the rhythm of the music. The musician even directly involved the audience, asking for their collective collaboration to form chords on their mobile phones and become truly immersed in the performance.

The technology making magical experiences possible

This next-level live entertainment experience was made possible using the Ericsson Private 5G solution, configured for 5G Standalone (SA) and using 100MHz of Telefónica’s mid-band spectrum – all uniting to guarantee the link bandwidth, low latency and seamless performance this experience required.

For Lang Lang’s holographic twin, multiple cameras were used to film every detail of his performance. The images were then transmitted in 4K, leveraging the high sustained data upload capacity enabled by 5G to create a high-quality holographic representation in real time. Ultra-low latency connectivity of less than 10ms and zero jitter were also maintained throughout the performance, effectively minimizing any delays to a point that was imperceptible to the human eye, ensuring that Lang Lang and his digital twin – and their hands – moved in perfect synchronization.

5G SA enables transport of different data streams while ensuring the performance requirements of each. This makes it possible to guarantee critical data packets for requirements such as simultaneous video and audio, thousands of simultaneous connections or fully immersive viewer interactions with the show and the artist in real time.

Ericsson Private 5G is Ericsson’s next-generation private network solution, which provides secure and reliable 5G connectivity through Ericsson's dual-mode 5G Core solution running on a single server. Built for business operations, the product comes pre-integrated to ensure rapid time to service, delivering advanced and intelligent operations in any environment, all while keeping sensitive data secured on site. Ericsson Private 5G is able to support and adapt to a variety of use cases, industries, and levels of complexity for enterprises.

Taking live entertainment up an octave

Telefónica and Ericsson both showcased the historic event at Mobile World Congress 2024, exploring how they and their jointly developed 5G network – together with the valuable creative and technical contributions from partners Igor Studio and Musion 3D – managed to give audiences an innovative and memorable experience, the like of which can be recreated across the globe.

“This is a significant step into the future of live events, demonstrating how 5G connectivity can break the limits that fixed assets and cabling impose,” commented Andrés Vicente, President and CEO of Ericsson Spain and Portugal. “Mobility, multiple scenarios, physical and digital interactions with high-quality video and music are now possible, delivering never-seen-before immersive experiences. It paves the way for the entertainment industry to explore powerful new monetization strategies and innovative artistic representations, while also improving efficiency and sustainability.”

Telefónica's global CTIO, Enrique Blanco, stated: "On the occasion of Telefónica's centenary, we have worked with Ericsson to offer an innovative experience, merging music, video and immersive experiences through holograms in a single show. To do so, we relied on the unique characteristics of Telefónica's 5G network, its high capacity and reduced latency. We have shown how it is possible to combine technology and art, integrating the real world and new communication formats, such as holograms, breaking down barriers between the physical and virtual worlds.  The result has been an unprecedented experience that combines real and digital objects interacting with each other in an enriched reality show.”