The BBC is the winner of the 2023 EBU Technology & Innovation Award with its ‘Private 5G Network for Contribution and Distribution’ project, while Jaime Sánchez Roldán University Politechnica de Valencia takes the EBU Young Technology Talent of the Year Award.
The EBU recognizes, encourages and supports outstanding technical solutions developed by Member organizations with the Technology & Innovation Award. Now in its 8th year, the Award attracted a record 23 entrees in 2023.
The Young Technology Talent award highlights engineers at student or graduate level who have achieved concrete technical demonstrations, proofs-of-concepts or solutions relevant to broadcasting organizations.
The winner and runners-up are selected on the basis of scores assigned by each of the elected members of the EBU Technical Committee across a range of relevant criteria.
5G technology brings the prospect of higher bandwidths via mobile data links. Publicly available 5G mobile networks, however, are subject to unpredictable public demand and thus are currently too unreliable for professional content providers.
The BBC has created and used a private 5G network in the UK that has the quality and reliability needed. The network can be deployed where needed and has been used successfully for news contributions at national events such as The Coronation, which involved multiple crews, a large aggregate number of cameras, and video signals in UHDTV.
The candidates in 2023 were all extremely strong, and the scores given to the leading projects were very close.
One of the runners-up is the SRG project ‘SLS (Self-directed Lighting System) for broadcast studios and event locations’. SRG has developed an automated system that controls the highlights, guide lights, and fill lights for a programme, automatically taking into account the relative positions and movements of the cameras, objects, and people.
Another of the runners-up is the RAI project ‘5G Audio-Visual Broadcast Network’. Led by RAI Way with project partners RAI/CRITS, Politecnico di Milano, Rohde & Schwarz, OpNet, Nokia, Mainstreaming, Kinecar, and Impersive, the project developed a ‘cooperative network’ of 5G-Broadcast and a CDN to carry a programme, with the user’s reception adapting to whichever is the most reliable component. For programme production, a 5G private network was used to carry near time-synchronised contributions from different sources.
Another of the runners-up is the ORS project ‘Nakolos - leveraging 5G Broadcast and Broadband for unlimited high-quality distribution’. ORS, together with partner Bitstem, developed a lightweight middleware for the Android ecosystem that allows application designers to integrate 5G-Broadcast compatibility with fallback from and to CDN broadband directly in their application.
Jaime Sánchez Roldán from the University Politechnica de Valencia won the 2023 EBU Young Technology Talent Award for his development of an ‘Open Source LTE-based 5G Broadcast Platform’. Through the development of this platform, Sánchez Roldán has contributed significantly to the advance of 5G-Broadcast technology in Spain and Europe. The platform is also notable for the new algorithms used and features included that improve performance. Sánchez Roldán has also made a major contribution to the 5G-MAG project, which is encouraging the development and use of 5G systems.