Discussing new technologies and change – Sports Innovation show 2018, Düsseldorf

Hoping for new impulses and a look at the newest developments for Sports metadata and viewing solutions, I made my way to Düsseldorf to attend Sports Innovation 2018 held on 8th and 9th May.

Exhibitors and guests from the Sports and Media sector alike are drawn to the yearly event, which first emerged out of an “Innovation Match” organized by the German Soccer League DFL in 2015. It has since become a stable in the industry to present new technologies and equipment for Sports broadcast, game analysis, data collection and enrichment as well as digital offerings. This year’s edition showcased innovative ideas and products from companies such as Sony, Dolby, Panasonic, Broadcast Services, Canon, IBM, Sportcast and – of course – Red Bee Media.

Naturally, I made my first stop at the Red Bee booth manned by Vincent Noyer, Head of Piero Sport Graphics, and Lino Rodriguez, Lead Piero Software Engineer, to get a first-hand look at our very own Piero Sports Graphics Product. The software uses image recognition technology to enhance the Sports viewing experience through state-of-the-art graphic overlays, as well as in-studio augmented reality graphics that offers Sports trainers and coaches new opportunities for training through tactical visuals. Piero’s open architecture, simple installation, and efficient workflows are the reason that more than 50 global broadcasters are already making use of the offering.

The convention took place at the ESPRITarena soccer stadium in Düsseldorf and served as a more than fitting venue, also facilitated showcases for several new technologies in sports broadcasting and game analysis. Visitors like myself were entertained by 3 live soccer matches and were able to experience the use-cases for multiple innovative products in action: The Dutch company Beyond Sports presented their live 3D player tracking software, turned virtual players into zombies on the field and introduced the first ever VR camera man that virtually controlled the viewing experience through virtual reality goggles. Kinexon from Germany equipped the soccer ball as well as all players on the field with sensors to track movements and showcase their ideas for player performance monitoring, live visualization and tactical game analysis. NeuLion from the UK spoke about their end-to-end video solution for digital video broadcasting, distribution and monetization of live and on-demand sports and entertainment content.

Several panel discussions gave guest speakers the chance to not only discuss trends and innovative ideas, but also to reflect on the challenges the industry faces. While new technologies are rapidly becoming available and are enabling more viewer engagement as well as higher quality broadcasts, the integration with legacy products and services remains a complex process. And not only is technology changing – viewer preferences and viewing patterns continue to evolve and both traditional and digital media need to not only adapt but innovate to engage fans.

I for one am already looking forward to what next year’s Sports Innovation has to offer!

Franziska Scholz, Strategic Product Manager Content Discovery.