VISUALISE set to enhance the spectator experience
Press release issued: 7 March 2008
Spectators at many large-scale live events miss a lot of the action - until now. A team of engineers at Bristol University working closely with industrial partners have developed a way of providing spectators with near real-time access to events as they unfold via Smart mobile phones.
VISUALISE is a two year collaborative project involving engineers at the University‘s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and a range of industrial partners including 3C Research, BT, Inmarsat, International Sportsworld Communicators, Maniac Films, ProVision Communication Technologies, Turner Broadcasting, Util4 and U4EA. The £1.1 million project is supported by an investment from the Technology Strategy Board.
Spectators at many large-scale live events have a relatively poor experience, due to their location and the lack of personalised content, compared to armchair spectators who watch television or webcast coverage at home. Large-scale public events, such as motor sport (World Rally Championship), athletics (Olympics), rock festivals (Glastonbury) and golf competitions (The Open) take place all the time. These events use a huge infrastructure of production and transmission equipment with many fixed and portable cameras. Most of the content is never made available to local spectators except through a single feed of edited output to portable TVs or large screen displays.
VISUALISE aims to provide an enhanced experience for spectators at events through local area access to a rich range of media via hand-held devices. This will include non-viewable events or locations, archive material and real-times statistics. For example, spectators at the World Rally Championship would be able to experience all the key events from every stage, even when these occurred many hundreds of miles away. They are also able to follow a team or individual’s performance (using live timing, live GPS tracking, and live video at selected locations).
VISUALISE will be demonstrated to the public all day on 7 and 8 March in Bristol – in the Mall Galleries, Broadmead for a Science Week event. The public will get the chance to see how the hand-held device works and to try out the Smart mobile phone for themselves. The researchers will get an opportunity to receive valuable feedback from the public.
Dr Nigel Derrett, CEO of 3C Research Ltd, one of the partners of the project, said: “We want to know what the public think about this project and whether they think using the VISUALISE system will enhance their enjoyment of being a spectator at sporting events.”
The innovative technical research behind VISUALISE, essential for delivering the service in a cost-effective way, includes:
· Video compression and streaming technology for use with wireless broadband networks in difficult environments.
· The integration of fixed (service park and trackside) and mobile (in-car) cameras into a live-viewing infrastructure.
· Rapid planning and deployment of networks through the exploitation of advanced transmission modelling tools.
· Enhanced user interactivity through customised terminals.
· Content management, distribution and integration with the existing broadcast infrastructure.
VISUALISE partners include 3C Research, BT, Inmarsat, International Sportsworld Communicators, Maniac Films, ProVision Communication Technologies, Turner Broadcasting, Util4, U4EA and the University of Bristol’s Centre for Communications Research.