More than a billion dollars were invested in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) startups in 2016, and investment is predicted to cross $120 billion by 2020. Broadcasters, pay-TV providers, OTT video providers and social networks are all keenly following the progress of these technologies.
BT Sport has been an innovator in this space, using AR in its coverage of Champions League soccer -- using Ncam's metareality technology to create detailed 3D images of stadiums where the games are played, on a map of Europe. (See BT Sport's COO Discusses AR/VR.)
The company also offers a show called Score, discussing games across Europe. UEFA rules don't allow them to actually show video footage of the games, but Ericsson's Piero AR tool, allows them to show the route to the goal, possessions, assists and the scorer -- all on an AR pitch. It's a remarkable tool, which allows them to essentially visualize key moments of the game without live footage.
More recently, BT Sport held VR trials at EE stores around London. According to Jamie Hindaugh, COO of BT Sport, the company has been experimenting with VR for a while. BT Sport previously ran a trial using VR to deliver multiple viewing angles during an NBA basketball match held in London, and also had a 100-user trial for VR during the FA Cup semi-final using both headsets and a "magic window" application.
For the EE trial, BT Sport announced that viewers could experience a Premier League game between Chelsea and Arsenal at EE stores. Users could view the game from multiple angles using footage from three different cameras, via a headset.
Hindaugh doesn't see BT Sport doing 90-minute shows in VR, instead he is more interested in providing some VR elements in their ongoing TV coverage. In particular, he is interested in the magic window approach, which allows them to offer VR experiences without a headset.
In this Telco Transformation Radio show, Rob Koenen, President of the VRIF, joins us to discuss key developments, remaining challenges in VR, and the role of the VRIF in helping the development of an incredibly exciting technology.
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