In this article

Just as professional sporting events have evolved to feature more entertainment alongside athletic competition, so too has the fan experience transformed — from straightforward and singular to dynamic and multifaceted.

Likewise, the production quality of televised sports has made incredible strides, implementing useful graphics and mixed reality among many other innovations. But the package remains almost strictly a 2D affair.

That's all changing thanks to new technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), which are fundamentally changing how organizations and brands approach both sporting and fan experiences.

Take professional racing, for example. What if you could watch your favorite NASCAR or Formula 1 race with real-time diagnostics and engage with the location of race cars on your own screen? What if you could compete with other fans around the world and watch it all unfold live with your own eyes?

Augmented reality makes all this (and more) possible.

A new racing experience

WWT has partnered with forwARdgame, an AR gaming company out of Germany, to create a new racing experience app called RaceAR, which uses augmented reality to superimpose a race track anywhere in the real world via your smartphone. The app leverages IoT devices, placed around the physical race track, to deliver real-time race car telemetry to mobile devices. It also incorporates gaming aspects that allow users to compete on their own or with other fans watching the race.

The game was developed over three years by combining WWT's Converged Edge Platform with forwARdgame's in-house game, SCOAAR. The app debuted at VMworld and Mobile World Congress this year.

Screenshot of the RaceAR game
Screenshot of RaceAR using the World Wide Technology Raceway in Edwardsville, Illinois as a model track.

Using the Converged Edge Platform

Built with Unity, the RaceAR proof of concept (POC) operates on WWT's Converged Edge Platform and uses compute hardware with NVIDIA GPUs deployed at the far edge.

Converged edge solutions like this will play an increasingly key role in a the future of 5G strategy because they can deliver services and connectivity via a common infrastructure that makes the platform and services management less complex. You can think of tge Converged Edge Platform as a multi-purpose platform in a single box — a containerized approach that makes it simpler to deploy:

  • Edge-enabled applications and services, such as the RaceAR game;
  • Enterprise connectivity via Private LTE, which can be used at the race track; and
  • An NFVI platform to deliver virtualized services to the enterprise or RaceAR gamers.

RaceAR works on 4G/5G/LTE, WiFi and other network connections. And because our Converged Edge Platform can be deployed anywhere within a sports arena or stadium, the app can be accessed by fans attending the live event as well as those in region alike, with low enough latency to support the app running at optimal performance.

Additional edge locations can then be deployed through telcos and public clouds to deliver the AR experience anywhere in the world.

RaceAR reference architecture.
RaceAR reference architecture.

The initial game play is modeled from metrics provided by the World Wide Technology Raceway in Edwardsville, Illinois, and it includes race track details and a pre-recorded race. However, RaceAR is designed to use real-time metrics and can work on any sporting event race track.

Mini Game Selection

The RaceAR app includes several mini games that involve earning race points for you and your team:

  • BUBBLES: Collect floating tires as cars pass the starting line 5x to earn a sphere for DUNK'EM.
  • DUNK'EM: Throw the sphere into the hoop just before your racer passes under to earn race points.
  • MAGNETS: Catch drivers with the magnet trap to earn race points.
  • PIT STOP: Compete with other players to have the fastest time changing tires and fueling a race car to earn race points.
  • BETTING: Use the earned race point chips to bet on drivers, including their speed, RPM and more.

The mixed reality (XR) game is support by Android, iOS and NREAL XR Glasses. 

The current roadmap for RaceAR includes NVIDIA CloudXR to improve graphics through RTX-based hardware.

Screenshot of the DUNK'EM Mini Game

Additional use cases

While exciting for racing fans, the application of AR running on top of the Converged Edge Platform is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to additional use cases that span a variety of industries.

Optimizing workplace safety via training and diagnostics, enhancing patient and clinician safety in healthcare settings, and creating transformational shopping experiences for retail outlets are just a few examples of how AR can help drive business outcomes.

AR and VR have the potential to deliver a $1.5 trillion boost to the global economy by 2030, according to a report by PwC, which also notes that the time is right from a technology perspective to start investment.

AR/VR applications running on our Converged Edge Platform have the potential to make organizations more agile, aware, efficient, intelligent, safe and sustainable by combing key technologies that are all reaching peak maturity around the same time: 

WWT's ability to bring these technologies together, identify and drive business outcomes and deploy infrastructure and solutions at scale makes it easy to bring exciting new AR/VR solutions to market.

Our end-to-end enablement model allows operators to move from innovation to validation and deployment more rapidly than before. We can also accelerate your time-to-revenue by validating complex, multi-vendor solutions (such as the Converged Edge Platform) with speed in our Advanced Technology Center (ATC), then integrating them at scale in one of our global integration facilities, and then supporting you throughout the deployment process with professional services.