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Features | 20 Dec 2019

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiere lights up Leicester Sq

Vodafone Business co-sponsored the European premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, giving several lucky customers the chance to enjoy the bright lights and glamour of a film launch.

Vodafone customers, Sarabjit and Bahinder Ratour were in dreamland this week after attending the London premiere of the latest Star Wars film.

“I’ve been a massive Star Wars fan ever since David Prowse, the actor who originally played Darth Vader, came to our primary school in 1978!” says Sarabjit, who jointly runs a small family retail and property development business in Leeds, Yorkshire.

“Like Star Wars, the prize is out of this world – I couldn’t believe it when they told me,” he enthused at a pre-premiere event for Vodafone Business customers.

Sarabjit had won tickets through Vodafone’s VeryMe Rewards competition. The couple were given free travel to London and put up in a swish Leicester Square hotel, before enjoying the glitzy premiere atmosphere as the film stars arrived on the red carpet.

“I must’ve been using Jedi mind tricks when I clicked on the link,” said Sarabjit. “It’s absolutely brilliant. My wife’s a big fan as well.”

Credits: Matt Wall

Credits: Matt Wall
Competition winners Sarabjit and Bahinder Ratour say they are lifelong Star Wars fans

At the event, Vinod Kumar, chief executive of Vodafone Business, hosted a discussion on the impact a new generation of technologies, such as 5G and internet of things devices, will have on businesses. The panellists included a Portuguese ice cream maker, an East African fortified maize flour producer, a UK engineer, and a UK sports industry educator.

All shared the belief that 5G and IoT will have a profound impact, whether helping them to monitor and adapt their businesses in real-time, or giving them superfast connectivity while on the move.

For example, Jordan Wright, managing director of LLS, which focuses on “training the next generation of sports industry leaders”, said that the low latency of 5G would enable his firm’s 40-plus teachers and trainers to hold virtual classes and training sessions simultaneously in different parts of the world without any delay or loss of image quality.

“For us, it’s definitely the future,” he told Vodafone News. “It’s next-generation technology for the next generation of sports industry leaders.”

Fan dressed up as Star Wars starfighter

Credits: Disney

Credits: Disney
Heads-up displays similar to Microsoft’s HoloLens featured in the original Star Wars film in 1977

One such technology on display at the event was the Microsoft Hololens 2 “mixed reality” headset wirelessly connected to Vodafone’s 5G network. The headset superimposes digital imagery onto the real world, making it useful for a variety of tasks, from machinery maintenance to training and teaching.

While Sarabjit doesn’t claim to be a techno whizz, he agreed that this next generation of technologies could also help his family business – jointly run with his brothers and son Vijay – to grow beyond Leeds and replicate its business model elsewhere in the UK.

“Star Wars is a family, we’re a family, and we want to grow as a family,” he said.

Vinod concluded: “For businesses to grow, innovate and compete in this new world, they need access to cutting-edge technology, powered by fast and reliable connectivity that matches their ambition and vision.

“This is where Vodafone Business steps in.”