17 February 2019
Rangu Salgame, chief executive of Tata Communications' Growth Venture Group, says his company plans to enter Hong Kong this year.
Rangu Salgame, chief executive of Tata Communications' Growth Venture Group, says his company plans to enter Hong Kong this year.

Keep your eyes on your mobile phone for live World Cup matches

For the first time ever, hundreds of millions of football fans all over the world will be able to watch the World Cup matches live on their smart devices as the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has allowed internet and mobile video providers to broadcast the live events.

“If you watch the football games from Brazil this summer, you will probably watch them live on TV, but those who will be watching them on their smartphones and tablets will also have more real-time statistics and interactive methods with friends,” Rangu Salgame, chief executive of Tata Communications’ Growth Venture Group, told EJ Insight in an interview. “The phenomenon is global.”

New media technologies have disrupted traditional ways of delivering and consuming media content, offering the audience flexibility they never had before to enjoy global contents anytime, anywhere and on any devices, Salgame said.

Sports like Formula 1 racing are also evolving because of “cloud” technology.

“When the game goes on, there are hundreds of engineers sitting in remote operation centers, located maybe thousands of miles away from racing sites, doing real-time decisions for the driver, such as stop at the pit and change the tires, based on the massive amount of data fed live by sensors and video cameras on the cars.”

For such an intense game, even a split-second of downtime can make a huge difference.

But now the players and others involved in the game can benefit from data transmission speed that is 10 times faster than before, Salgame said.

Since last year, Tata Communications has been the official connectivity provider of Formula 1, delivering connectivity to all 20 Formula 1 race locations across its global fiber network.

And sports fans are turning online to watch major events live.

According to FIFA, there was greater distribution and usage of online and mobile media during the finals of the South Africa World Cup in 2010, compared with 2006. Meanwhile, official data from Formula 1 showed its global television audience dropped to 450 million in 2013 from 515 million in 2011, but the teams received more income as a result of better sales of broadcasting rights to subscription-based content providers, according to a Guardian report.

In China, video streams of National Basketball Association games jumped 169 percent to 3.2 billion during the 2012-13 regular season, compared with the previous season, China Daily reported last August.

While pay TV companies, such as Netflix, and set-top box providers, like Xiaomi Box, are creating booming demand through non-linear programming, traditional linear TV is moving towards high-definition content. In short, broadcasters are adopting alternative technologies other than expensive and limited satellite channels to meet rising demand for video feed transporting, and fiber network has been a popular choice in recent years.

Testing HK waters

Salgame said the company is planning to enter Hong Kong this year, and later take a share of the mainland market.

Being an international financial center, Hong Kong presents great opportunities for the company, he said. Its financial industry needs better data storage and global transmission services, while its developed telecommunication infrastructure, including broadband and fourth-generation mobile technology, creates further opportunities, Salgame said, adding that the city also provides an important source for talent resources.

In a media conference last week, Hong Kong academic Thomas Chan said existing advantages of Hong Kong’s high-end service industries will be further strengthened, benefiting from faster network speed in the coming years as China gradually upgrades its communications networks with 4G and 5G technologies. Chan is the head of the Public Policy Research Institute at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Meanwhile, Salgame said online education businesses will benefit from streaming video technologies, which will allow more people to acquire high-quality education at very low prices.

– Contact the reporter at [email protected]


EJ Insight reporter

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