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Press Release | 07 Sep 2020

Vodafone powers world’s first 5G piano duet with Lewis Hamilton

  • In a world first, Vodafone uses the power of its super-fast 5G to make two pianos in different places, play a duet in real-time.
  • Accomplished piano player and six-time Formula 1 World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, is the first to test new technology that lets him play simultaneously with renowned musician, Jay Keys.
  • Vodafone’s 5G network is available in 44 UK cities including London, Birmingham and Manchester, and has today been named most reliable and fastest 5G in London

LONDON, UK: Vodafone and six-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton have once again teamed up to showcase the exciting potential of 5G with the world’s first 5G piano duet.

For the one-off performance, two pianos in different locations in London were connected, allowing Lewis to show off his piano playing skills live with one of the UK’s most exciting musicians and producers, Jay Keys. Thanks to the real-time (also known as low latency) speeds of 5G, it was as if both Lewis and Jay were together in one place at the same time.

Specially developed technology* meant Vodafone could send data relating to the touch and pressure on Jay’s piano keys to Lewis’s instrument, using magnets in the keys and pedals. This resulted in the keys and pedals of Lewis’s piano moving simultaneously with the one Jay was playing, creating one synchronised instrument.

Vodafone 5G ambassador Lewis commented: “I’ve always loved music and was drawn to the piano from a very young age, however it’s challenging to find time to practise with my career. I was blown away by how 5G can allow me to keep learning in such an interactive way – especially when I am on the road or in another country.”

“For me, music is all about connecting with people and seeing the piano keys move without touching them, as Jay played from somewhere else, was amazing. The immediacy and possibility to learn in real-time when you are thousands of miles apart is a game-changer, and inspires me to continue practising and playing this beautiful instrument.”

Talented musician and producer Jay Keys, known for his work with Liam Payne, Stormzy, J Hus and Naughty Boy, said: “Technology like this is going to be game-changing for the music industry. It opens up more opportunities for musicians globally to collaborate in real-time. Imagine 5G-powered writing/production sessions, music lessons and duets happening between musicians everywhere. It will give us the opportunity to be more productive/creative and connect with each other regardless of where we are in the world.”

Nick Jeffery, CEO, Vodafone UK, said: “Music has a way of bringing people together and for the first time, using our 5G network, we have been able to demonstrate how two separate pianos and musicians in different locations can play together as one.  The past few months especially have highlighted how important 5G technology will be in bringing more people, places and things closer to what they love – even when they have to be apart.”

The world’s first 5G piano duet is the third short film in Vodafone’s #5Gamechanger campaign.  Earlier this year the brand invited ambassador Lewis to try his hand at flying drones alongside some of the UK’s top drone racing stars, and sample the latest in mixed-reality gaming.

Watch Lewis and Jay perform together in the world’s first 5G piano duet here. Note content was filmed prior to the pandemic and before the enforcing of social distancing rules.

Vodafone’s 5G has today been named as the most reliable and fastest 5G network in London, in a test of the UK’s four mobile networks.

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors

*The Technology

The 5G Duet was made possible using specially developed and innovative technology from tech-specific creative agency The 5Gs Ltd. Two Yamaha Disklavier E3 Baby Grand Pianos situated in different places were used. These acoustic pianos had a sensor and actuator system that allowed them to detect what keys are being pressed, as well as play back recordings of previous performances. Vodafone connected each piano to a laptop over the USB-Midi interface.

When a note was played on the piano, the midi signal was sent to the laptop. The midi data was then processed and routed over a private VPN [virtual private network] to the cloud via a 5G Gigacube attached to the laptop by Ethernet. Once in the cloud it was passed back to the second laptop, and then on to the second piano, which would, in real time, play the note on the keyboard. And the same in the other direction at the same time.

For further information:

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: 01635 693 693

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/vodafoneuknews

Website: https://newscentre.vodafone.co.uk

About Vodafone 5G

On 3 July 2019, Vodafone switched on 5G in seven UK cities. Since launch, Vodafone has added 5G to 37 more places in the UK and massively expanded coverage in launch cities. Vodafone has also built 5G in 70 locations across Ireland, Italy, Germany and Spain, and is the only UK operator to offer 5G access when customers are roaming abroad.

For more information please visit www.vodafone.co.uk/network/5g.

About Jay Keys

Jay Keys is a 26-year-old producer, writer and musical director. Having started out as a session musician he now boasts working with the likes of Liam Payne, Naughty Boy and Jasmine Thompson. He currently has produced tracks including Loski’s ‘Forrest Gump’, ‘One & Only’ by J Hus & Ella Mai, ‘Shine Girl’ by Mo Stack & Stormzy, ‘Styla’ by Amun and Awa’s ‘Like I do’.

This year has seen Jay in the studio working on the new J Hus album, Awa’s E.P and he continues to work closely with hot prospect Amun. His songs have already been used in campaigns for Pretty Little Thing and many more projects are in the works.  For more information visit www.fblockmusic.com/jaykeys.

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were also the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. As of October 2020, we have 5G in 57 locations in the UK and 193 across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland.

In September 2020, leading mobile benchmarking company, umlaut, named Vodafone as London’s best network for 5G. Our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population. And in October 2020, Vodafone was named Network Provider of the Year by readers of leading technology advice website, Trusted Reviews.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.

For more information about Vodafone UK please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk.

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693

Email: ukmediarelations@vodafone.com

Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews

Website: https://newscentre.vodafone.co.uk

Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

Registered in England No: 1471587