The 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games may just be coming to a close today but Intel is already looking forward to the 2020 games and planning to bring 5G to life at that event in a big way. The company already delivered on a 5G network of sorts in South Korea but the chip manufacturer's plans don't end there. It has not only promised a fully commercialized 5G buildout in partnership with Japan's NTT Docomo but will also be using that network as a platform for some very big improvements to Olympics-related media. While this year saw huge improvements in VR-driven Olympic experiences for viewers, Intel plans to support 8K 360-degree video streaming in 2020.
That's a big deal because even though the company's 5G network was present in PyeongChang, the vast majority of devices weren't able to take advantage of it at all. In fact, its use was effectively limited to field tests that ran at gigabit speeds. By the time the Tokyo Olympic Summer Games roll around, 5G should have some degree of presence elsewhere in the world as well, so visitors to the games be able to take advantage of that network, even if they don't happen to have a 5G network at home. Intel's rollout with the Japanese telecom will still likely be the largest 5G network rolled out at the time of those games, even if most user devices support the technology at that point. Meanwhile, many viewers may also be able to take advantage of available fiber networks – 5G or otherwise – to watch content at a much higher quality than this year's games. So, if Intel or any other company utilizes 4K or even 8K cameras as part of its VR experience offerings, the future networks should be able to support that, live-streaming or not.
Intel has plenty of time to work out the finer details of its promises, too. That's true whether it's building partnerships to shoot that footage or broadcast it, or finalizing hardware needed to make the 5G network itself happen. The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games aren't set to start until mid-2020, running from July 24 through August 9.