virtual reality

Home / Posts tagged "virtual reality"
5 Technology Innovations in the 2018 FIFA World Cup

5 Technology Innovations in the 2018 FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup has always been the center of introducing new technologies when it comes to sports broadcasting. For example, 2014 saw technologies like vanishing spray, goal-line technology, and mind-controlled robotic suit in action.

As 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off, we look at the five technology innovations that will be used for the first time in the most significant soccer competition of the world.

1. Video Assistant Referee (VAR)

With the International Football Association Board approving VAR in March 2018, Russia is witnessing the first World Cup using video technology as an additional tool for referees. FIFA has deployed VAR at all the matches, where a dedicated team with a lead VAR and three assistant VARs is located at the Moscow International Broadcast Centre.

According to FIFA, VAR is used as an additional tool to “correct clear and obvious errors and missed incidents in clearly defined match-changing decisions.” 33 broadcast cameras and two dedicated offside cameras are transmitting feeds directly to the VOR using optical fiber – eight of which are in super-slow motion and four in ultra-slow motion. VARs can also speak to the referees on the ground using a fiber-based radio system.

2. Electronic Performance and Tracking System (EPTS)

In 2018 World Cup, the coaches of all the 32 playing teams have access to a tablet-based system to track the statistics and real-time video footage of the players. Based on wearable technology, EPTS is a camera-based system that captures data via two optical tracking cameras on the main stand and selected tactical cameras.

EPTS is considered as the second significant innovation for FIFA after VAR. Each team has three tablets – one each for the analyst on the bench, in the stand, and the medical team. The system will also provide statistics around player positioning, passing, speed, and tackles, and match footages with a maximum of 30-seconds delay.

3. Adidas Telstar Ball

For the first time in the history of FIFA, Adidas, the official manufacturer of the World Cup match ball since 1970, has introduced NFC chip in the ball. Telstar 18 – the ball used for World Cup 2018, includes a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip apart from a new carcass and panel design. The chip allows the ball to communicate with a smartphone. Adidas claims that the new model will dramatically improve the performance durability of the ball.

4. Virtual Reality (VR) and 4K UHD Video

4K UHD videos that were tested in 2014 Brazil World Cup is made available to the broadcasters in 2018 Russia World Cup. BBC has confirmed that 4K streams of the match are available on BBC iPlayer on a first-come-first-served basis.

BBC has also made a VR feed available via its VR application to give the viewers a feeling of watching the match from a private box at the stadium.

5. 5G Services

Though yet to be available commercially, the 2018 World Cup is a testing ground for the 5G services for the network providers. Ericsson and MTS have confirmed to install 5G-capable radio equipment covering cover fan zones, stadiums, transportation hubs, and famous landmarks across more than 40 sites in seven of the 11 host cities.

Additionally, Megafon and TMS – the official communications partner, is holding trials of the 5G network across cities during the event.

While the players play on the ground, sports broadcasters are busy competing for innovations off the field to make the experience more real-time and competition more transparent. But for now, enjoy the game!

 

Real News in the Times of Virtual Reality

Real News in the Times of Virtual Reality

Broadcasters around the world are exploring augmented reality ranging from stand-alone storytelling experiences to immersive broadcasts, and behind the scene, tours to enhance the viewing experience.

HoloLens[1] defines augmented reality as an offshoot of virtual reality that allows computer-generated graphics to be inserted into a real environment. With Facebook acquiring Oculus Rift and Google investing over $500 million in Magic Leap in 2014, the interest in virtual reality has fueled further.

Broadcasters are using products like Vizrt, Chyron, Brainstorm Virtual Set, WASP3D, Pixelpower, and Orad to make news and storytelling more interesting. For example, Al Arabiya used floating virtual 3D models of the Capitol and White House over an outdoor space to cover U.S. 2016 elections. The Washington Post covered the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore in 2016 by creating an augmented reality story.

Pic Credit: BT Sports
Pic Credit: BT Sports

In a series of firsts, BT Sport made UEFA Champions League finals available in 360° virtual reality on TV and online, 4K UHD on YouTube, and 4K UHD with Dolby Atmos. In 2017, the New York Times produced “Life on Mars” – a 360 video series chronicling the lives of NASA astronauts living on Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano, which had a Mars-like condition.

NBC made VR replays, highlight packages, and 50 hours of live 360-degree video coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics available on a wide variety of devices via the NBC Sports VR app.

Pic Credit: BBC.CO.UK
Pic Credit: BBC.CO.UK

BBC experimented with traditional CGI-based VR, 360-video, and AR. Both ‘Easter Rising’ and ‘We Wait’ are fully interactive VR experiences, which makes the viewer participate in the action. BBC also has an app with a range of productions for 360-degree video.

UK-based Sky partnered with Jaunt – a white-label VR distribution platform to launch a smartphone VR app to offer 360-degree videos covering material from film, sport, and the arts. Sky also used AR for their marketing campaigns, where passers-by at London’s Waterloo Station could take photos with virtual characters like Spiderman and SpongeBob Squarepants.

All the examples above highlight the fact that VR is gradually becoming an integrated part of many newsrooms. With technological advancements and cheaper options like cardboard headsets, 360-videos is becoming more accessible to viewers.

However compelling it might be, media brands are still holding off from making substantial investments in VR because of the following reasons:

  • Producers are still figuring out ‘what works for VR.’ Though news VR has expanded beyond documentary, there is still not enough content to drive the audience.
  • News VR is still not immersive. Viewable on mobile or a browser, consumers do not get the immersive experience that comes with a high-end headset.
  • Though some broadcasters are partnering with organizations like Samsung and Google for VR operations, monetization is still a challenge. News broadcasters are yet to figure out a way to earn revenue out of the technology.

The news industry needs to work together to deliver on the promise of VR. Though what lies ahead is still not clear, the future of VR in news broadcast looks promising.

[1] https://www.ibc.org/consumption/virtual-reality-and-augmented-reality-in-broadcasting-/2807.article

Top six trends that are shaping the future of television

Top six trends that are shaping the future of television

We don’t know how, when and why Television has always been called an Idiot Box world over. On the contrary, it is a smart device which has encapsulated our attention unabashedly over the longest period of time since its inception and the first television service by British Broadcasting Corporation in 1936. Today, even after 80 years, it rules our heart and is still a major source of entertainment and global information.

The television industry in the last few decades has grown extensively and the wave continues. Whether in terms of technology, state-of-the-art looks or content, many key players in a highly competitive market keep up with the pace of development. Advancements in terms of knowledge, exposure, urbanization, increased buying power and a continuous shift in user preferences keep the innovators on their toes to think beyond the edge.

In terms of technology, the end users might think that now the peak has arrived, and there is nothing more that innovators can come up with. But we also agree with the mystic power of human brain who, if one can anticipate the current trends, is surely preparing for something which will take television technology to an altogether another level of viewing.

Some of the trends that are shaping the future of Television include:

  1. Holographic TV

BBC has always been a front-runner as far as anything concerned with TV goes. It has trialed for a technology and content wherein a fairly big size TV is laid flat and simple, old Victorian theatre techniques are used to create 3D images which seem to float in the air.1

Though a Holographic TV is still at its nascent stage the initiation is applaudable.

  1. Data Analytics

The revolution, “Big Data Analytics” aids smart viewership. Early adopters like Netflix have used it extensively to create a niche and specialize in the domain as creative as content production. We hope to see it being widely adopted, more hands-on to optimize produced or acquired content. The steps are simple; behavioral data is collected from various sources, classified and judged to help identify end-user preferences.

  1. Virtual Reality

In terms of technology, Virtual Reality predictably is the next big thing which aims at completely revolutionizing the concept of TV watching. It’s an ever-growing popular culture wherein a consumer after wearing a VR headset can explore virtual, computer-generated worlds. It replicates an environment and simulates user’s real-time presence and allows full interaction. VR, when integrated with TV shows can help a user be a part of that show. Looks a bit far-fetched at the moment, but not too far also. In fact, Director Steven Soderbergh’s new ambitious project Mosaic, an interactive narrative app is a perfect example of this concoction. It is due to release soon where the audience becomes a part of the narration and gets the leverage to decide how the story should unfold. It’s a new way of storytelling and irrespective of its response and real-time success paves way for more such experiments.2

  1. Virtualization

Virtualization creates an ecosystem where independent services can share a common platform. It will surely take some time to realize this completely but cloud-based broadcasting wherein the content is put on public clouds for smooth broadcasting and viewing experience, is fast catching up. In fact, coming years will see major investments in cloud solutions. It does away with huge hardware investments and their maintenance and broadcasters benefit in terms of scalability and high levels of efficiency. They are extremely cost-effective with reduced turnaround time and helps manage viewer demands to a large extent. Predictably, a cloud utility model is surely going to turn Broadcasters into Orchestrators whose job would be to deliver aggregated content. The transition is already on its way. Key players like BBC, Disney/ABC Television have started making the shift as the world moves towards Virtualization. 3

  1. Immersive and Interactive Experience-Augmented Reality

Technologists have always aimed for maximum consumer participation. Tools are being developed to involve our sensory powers to blur the line between the real and digital world thereby making the viewer part of the content. A mid-world is created where 3D and 4D images give the brain a real-time perception and the user feels more involved. 3D audio effects surround sound helps manipulate a sound one hears and provides a more real-time effect. One can easily confuse this with Virtual Reality but Augmented Reality deals more with the real world. It enhances the experience by adding drama to it. And Broadcasters are making hands-on use of it by developing more interactive and engaging shows with maximum audience participation.

Plans to introduce Interactive Advertising by Channel 4 on British TV is one step forward to it where watchers would enjoy the liberty to choose different ads, watch different content or even buy the products instantly.4

  1. Humanoids, AI comes to Television Broadcasting

Robots have always fascinated us since time immemorial. Recently, a real-time robot or a Humanoid, Sophia surfaced on BBC television featuring as a spokesperson on BBC’s Earth TV. It is made of frubber (flesh rubber) and is highly sophisticated. It has a human face and also emulates real-time human emotions. It is not functioning in artificial intelligence. Rather it has scripted answers. One can only anticipate the whole experience of television watching in the future with more such humanoid interactions. 5

On the Whole

Above are some of the trends observed that are going to shape the future of TV. And it doesn’t stop here. The list is ever growing. Technologists and innovators are constantly aiming for utmost consumer participation and keep them more involved and engaged. Broadcasters are trying really hard to absorb new technologies and amalgamating them to give their audiences different forms of experiences thereby entertaining them. The game is actually to play with the human mind and show them something which ups their curiosity level. It is a new age fairy tale times which is illusionary and beautiful and forces one to be a part of those moments.

6 Key Broadcast Industry Trends to Watch Out for in 2017

6 Key Broadcast Industry Trends to Watch Out for in 2017

With seemingly disparate events like mobile operators providing seamless unlimited data access to its consumers, entertainment shifting from television to video on demand, and web series gaining popularity over traditional content – 2016 witnessed some major shifts in the broadcast and media industry.

A sudden increase in the popularity of streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix and the younger generation’s was observed, leading to movement of TV audience to digital platform.

Let’s take a look at the key trends to watch out for in 2017 that would aid this lateral shift.

  1. Big Data Analytics for Viewer Insights

Big data analytics will help broadcasters analyze viewer preference and develop content accordingly. By accessing the large amount of data sets already in store, organizations can perform behavioral analytics of the views to understand the nature of content consumption and deliver accordingly.

Organizations will increasingly use big data analytics to build 360-degree audience profiles based on geographic, demographic, economic and psychographic attributes to understand various touch points and have better insights, thereby improving the entertainment experience for the end user.

Big data analytics will not only help broadcasters develop appropriate content, it will also change the advertising principles in the industry. By measuring ‘binge watching content’ more accurately using data analytics, companies can help advertisers package the right kind of experience to cater to different types of binge viewers.

  1. Virtual Reality Gets Mainstream

The recent announcement of Netflix to bring its programming to the VR realm, the popularity of Waze and PokemonGo are just the start. A report from Manatt Digital Media[1] projects that revenue from augmented reality and virtual reality will reach $150 billion by 2020. Going by the trend, in 2017, virtual or augmented reality will continue to reshape the face of the broadcast industry. By fostering shared moments and creating a shared space where people can share experience, virtual reality will gain momentum.

With programs like Proto-nominee Convrge that allow people to gather and watch YouTube videos together already in place, the broadcast industry will push this idea further to include streaming sites. While some genre of stories like science-fictions and fantasy are more suited for virtual reality that sitcoms and dramas, the industry is set to experiment more with different genres and take virtual reality to a new level.

  1. Increased Adoption of Over-the-top (OTT) Content

Industry reports[2] predict that by 2021, video will account for 70% of the mobile traffic. Forrester[3] forecasts that by 2025, 50% adults under the age of 32 will not pay for TV. Today, if we look around, the prediction seems believable. With viewers increasingly consuming content across devices anytime and anywhere, OTT seems the next big trend in the coming years.

More and more E&M companies are selling their content to streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. With the streaming services gaining access to new originals as well as libraries of television shows and movies, OTT services are gaining a firmer grasp on the end-user relationship with their advertising free environments.

  1. Create Viewer-centric Content

As the broadcast industry opens up to more delivery options and devices, the packaging and distribution of the content will change significantly. With the viewers empowered to choose the content they want to consume, content curators need to find innovative ways to monetize content that not only attract eyeballs but create repeat viewers.

Creators will continue to move beyond traditional distribution channels and studios to create and retain consumers who are united by shared interests, ideas and experiences. Content creators/ curators will be more receptive of the likes and dislikes of viewers and create and distribute content to suit their needs and preferences, which will create loyal fans that are less likely to churn and have more spending capacity.

  1. Ultra HD/4K Production

2016 saw Netflix leading the 4K streaming with films like Ghostbusters and shows like Breaking Bad and the Blacklist. Amazon has also entered the league with its popular shows like Mad Dogs, Transparent, and Man in the High castle.  However, content selection now is limited with criteria for subscribers to access the content.

In 2017, Netflix and other streaming data broadcasters will continue to film or upgrade their new content in the 4K format. Content curators will create more 4K content and expects TV watchers make the jump to the higher-resolution standard.

  1. Internet of Things Gets Real

The broadcast industry is increasingly opening up to Internet of Things and beginning to see the benefits of connected broadcasting. Imagine your favorite program pausing by itself as your doorbell rings or you leave the room. Or taking cues from the surrounding like lighting and time of the day to choose program automatically based on your mood.

The future of IoT for broadcast industry looks promising. 2017 will see more crowdsourced and real-time content being generated, giving broadcasters more chance to know the audience and improve the viewing experience with more engaging and interactive programs.

Sources:

[1] https://www.fastcompany.com/3052209/tech-forecast/vr-and-augmented-reality-will-soon-be-worth-150-billion-here-are-the-major-pla

[2] http://www.digitaltveurope.net/547432/ericsson-viewing-is-shifting-from-tv-as-mobile-video-soars/

[3] http://blogs.forrester.com/james_mcquivey/15-10-07-by_2025_50_of_adults_under_age_32_will_not_pay_for_tv

The Entertainer’s Footprints – A Brief History of Films

The Entertainer’s Footprints – A Brief History of Films

Tucked in the plushest seat with caramel popcorn, catching up with your Friday-released flick, experiencing the blockbuster on a multiplex screen and walking away with the feel of Dolby DTS, 3D and virtual reality. Cut to Grand Café in Paris on 28th December, 1895. The Lumiere brothers, Louis and Auguste Lumiere screened a series of short scenes from everyday French life and charged admission for the first time. The first commercial motion picture was featured. Thus, began the journey of  world’s favorite entertainer-the cinema.

Let us begin from the beginning. Movie technology has its roots in the early 1830s, when Joseph Plateau of Belgium and Simon Stampfer of Austria developed a device called ‘phenakistoscope.’ It was considered precursor of modern motion pictures. In 1895 Louis Lumiere’s ‘Cinematographe’ was patented which was combination of a camera and a projector.

Thomas Edison invented moving pictures which were silent. Audiences enjoyed movies without audio or music for a long time unless Sam Warner of Warner Brothers, in the quest of trying to produce more successful movies, aspired to give audio a shot. Sam used the phonograph to record voices and made the movies where the actors talked to each other. The new sound based movies were called ‘Vitaphone’ movies, denoting “the sound of life.’’ The first Vitaphone movie, named ‘Don Juan’ was a romantic adventure. ‘The Jazz Singer’ was another classic example of a primitive talkie. Even when sound movies got better, one iconic actor still chose to speak to the world through his eyes, face and body. Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp remained silent forever.

The cinema has evolved over the years. Kinemacolor system was patented in 1906 followed by Technicolor, introduced in 1932. To make viewing more dramatic Cinerama was invented in 1952, followed by Cinemascope in 1953 and Omnimax in 1970. Even in audio system, the once made silent movies now boast of Dolby Atmos-the newest cinema sound technology. It allows the film-makers to precisely place and move sound anywhere in the theatre.“Gravity”-the current blockbuster is ideal example of this technology. From 3D to virtual reality to depth sensors, movie making is undergoing a revolution. Technology is offering exciting ways to consume information and entertainment.

The journey is incomplete without the mention of few key films. Charles Tait’s ‘The Story of the Kelly Gang’ (1906) was the world’s first full length movie. World’s first color moving pictures dating from 1902 have been found by the National Media Museum in Bradford after lying  abandoned in an old tin for 110 years. These films were made by pioneer Edward Raymond Turner who patented his color process on 22nd March, 1899. D.W. Griffith’s “Pippa Passes” was the first film whose film review published in the New York Times in 1909.  Raja Harishchandra, produced and directed by Dadasaheb Phalke, was the first full length feature film in India. Men would play female characters then as it was considered inappropriate for women to work in movies. Lanka Dahan in 1917 was India’s first major box office hit where people would fight for tickets at long queues in Majestic cinema, Bombay and toss coins at the ticket counter because the film was mostly houseful. The road of movie hits and flops began with Lanka Dahan and paved its way to the current grosser “Sultan” starring Salman Khan and is a proud member of 300crore exclusive club.

India produces the largest number of films worldwide; over 1,700 films a year in 32 languages but its record of film archiving and preservation is abysmal. Of the 1,700 silent films made in the country, we only have five or six complete films. We lost a solid 80% of our films by 1950, and there is absolutely no record of India’s first talkie, Alam Ara. These statistics are unnerving. The Film Heritage Foundation aims to create an indigenous resource of film archivists and restorers that will work towards film preservation.  They have put an initial framework in place by preserving not the oldest movies but the most talked about movies of renowned directors like Raj Kapoor and Bimal Roy. Cinema is rich cultural heritage, we live in films unless we know from where we come we will never know where to go. Cinema has been beautifully summarized by Martin Scorsese, “Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out.’’

References:

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-commercial-movie-screened

http://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/do-a-course-in-film-restoration/article6365171.ece

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/2016/04/19/worlds-first-colour-film-unveiled/

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-19423951