In this article

WWT and Intel solve a critical IT challenge in virtual reality

What makes WWT's alliance with our longtime partner Intel work so well? A lot has to do with the strong culture of innovation we share, as we both strive to constantly make the world a better place through technology.

That alliance is showcased in our Advanced Technology Center (ATC), where we design, build, educate, demonstrate and deploy emerging solutions based on Intel® technology for our global customers. Technology evaluations in our ATC ecosystem benefit from a kind of "multiplier effect" of knowledge, speed and agility, often reducing evaluation times from months to weeks or even days.

WWT and Intel enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship of collaboration. In one such joint engagement recently, our two companies teamed up to overcome a critical IT challenge in the world of virtual reality (VR), collaborating to create the delivery platform that brought a complex VR experience to life.

VR puts viewers in the action

For a thoroughly immersive spectator experience, nothing rivals today's virtual reality technology for viewing sporting events. Better than just "viewing," really: captured in 8K resolution and a 360-degree choice of viewing angles, VR is the next-best thing to actually being in the game.

But, the process of delivering virtual reality to a large audience can present enormous technical challenges. For example, multiple 8K video streams add up to hundreds of gigabytes of data per second that must be moved without error. Every part of the delivery system must work together perfectly at every moment – no do-overs possible. And, the difficulty level ramps up dramatically when that VR data stream must travel over a great distance.

For one particular virtual reality event, producers needed to aggregate data from up to six remote VR cameras into a single stream, and then transmit those hundreds of gigabits of data instantly to a faraway production facility. And, the producers needed the entire production to be ready to go in just a few weeks.

WWT and Intel were tasked with building an IT solution that would meet stringent metrics. It had to:

  • Provide the required resiliency and scalability.
  • Ensure an absolutely stable infrastructure.
  • Meet requirements around delivery and latency.

One of WWT's first actions was to upgrade the infrastructure from the existing ad hoc network platform, installing carrier-class optical equipment and data-center-class switches. Intel provided the raw processing power and overall architecture, as well as certain enabling products and technologies.

For our part, WWT's engineering team brought specialized knowledge of how to leverage Intel® technology to make the system perform predictably, establishing a platform capable of moving the immense volumes of data required for virtual reality. Prior to deployment, we also designed, tested, validated, and secured the solution in Intel's Santa Clara facilities to ensure its stability and troubleshoot any potential challenges.

A small part with huge importance

Of the 40-person engineering team involved in the production, we had only a few people onsite. But, it was their specialized knowledge that made the crucial difference in making the solution happen. Running on the ultra-high-performance switching and optical platform designed and deployed behind the scenes, the event was captured in immersive 3D and transmitted back for virtual reality display without a hitch, enabling VR to literally go the distance.

The stars of the show were the athletes, as well as the coolness of the virtual reality experience itself. But, behind the scenes, the massive production became possible because of the strong collaboration between WWT and Intel. Through our solution-building partnership with Intel as well as our ATC innovation ecosystem, we will continue to bring more ideas to outcome – in virtual reality, and in the real world.