The introduction of 5G offers a world of new opportunities for businesses. Orange Business and Olympique de Marseille (OM) joined forces to get ahead of the curve and experiment with 5G at the Orange Vélodrome. Let’s take a look at the first tests conducted at the legendary Marseille stadium in the south of France.

Orange Vélodrome, a connected stadium

“Our objective is to enrich the experience inside the stadium but also for millions of supporters worldwide via broadcasters” explains OM’s Head of Technologies and Innovation, Frédéric Cozic. Supported by Orange Business, the Orange Vélodrome has gradually become an ultra-connected stadium, covered with high-density fiber and Wi-Fi.

An exciting milestone was reached at the end of 2019 with the signing of an innovation partnership contract to install 5G at the venue, with tests on new applications. These initial tests involve not only offering spectators new visual and audio experiences, but also improving the stadium’s operational and energy performance through the ability to process data in real-time via the Internet of Things (IoT). Research groups, engineering schools and start-ups are also able to take advantage of these experiments to develop new applications.

We work, we think, we experiment together. The Orange teams take as many risks as us. And in the end, it’s win-win.


Frédéric Cozic, Head of Technologies and Innovation, OM

Offering spectators more immersive experiences

On a Sunday evening in November 2019, during a match between OM and Olympique Lyonnais (OL), the system was tested for the first time, based on three key applications.

Guests were able to experience a full 360° immersion in the match using virtual reality headsets linked to three cameras provided by Kariba Productions offering exceptional definition (two 360° 8K devices and an 11K mobile device). Augmented Acoustics, a start-up supported by Orange Fab France, provided a tailored audio stream: spectators had access to a selection of commentaries and different sounds (noise of the ball, fan noise from the stands) from their 5G smartphones. The service can also provide audio description for the hard of hearing and sight impaired. The Orange IoT solution can collect real-time data from sensors inside the venue (humidity, temperature, etc.) to improve operational performance and the environmental balance within the stadium for the comfort of the guests.

“Being able to conduct real-time tests with 67,000 people on match evenings is a unique opportunity to enable us to anticipate future applications,” explains Guillaume Chabas, Head of Business Innovation and Partnerships at Orange Business.

Co-construction, a driver of the user revolution

“As part of our innovation partnership with Orange Business, we are very proud to have deployed 5G at the Orange Vélodrome, making this the first 5G stadium in France,” Frédéric Cozic says. “We work, we think, we experiment together. The Orange teams take as many risks as us. And in the end, it’s win-win.”

A logical choice: the technology promised by 5G is meaningless if not transformed into useful services adapted to each person’s needs. More than a supplier, companies are looking for partners able to support them with their problems and share risks. To be relevant and inventive, the deployment of new 5G applications requires an innovation partnership between Orange, its customers and partners. The ability to unite an ecosystem to help develop new applications is key.

With considerable challenges, as underlined by Guillaume Chabas: “The first person to release leading 5G innovations for their own business will have forged ahead and will definitely be a leader when the others are just waking up. It’s an ultra-competitive advantage.”

5G promises to totally reinvent the experience of supporters and sports fans, athletes and sporting industries. It is a technological revolution, which promises numerous new innovations creating value in all sectors.

“At Orange Vélodrome, we have imagined and devised these new applications through innovating together with our start-up, business and other organization partners. For several months, the Orange Vélodrome has been a platform for multiple experiments. Since 2019, we have supported an increasing number of start-ups and businesses who have created new services directly within the Orange Vélodrome,” concludes Chabas.

spectators at the Orange Vélodrome during the first 5G test