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For your eyes only: Creating a hyper-personalised sports experience

Mehul Kapadia, Managing Director, F1® Business, Tata Communications | Sept. 16, 2016
Mehul shares his observations on the evolution of live broadcasting of the highly intense global sporting event.

This highly personalised experience could also be complemented by technologies such as virtual reality (VR), allowing viewers to become a part of the action and build their own unique race viewing experience, dictating exactly what action they want to engage with as well as how they do so. 

This may involve not just "jumping on-board" Lewis Hamilton's MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS, via his car-cam, but actually plugging you into immersive experience within which you feel that you are in the driving seat. The Tata Communications Formula 1 Connectivity Innovation Prize is currently at the forefront of efforts to bring these kinds of experiences to the sport. Winners from Challenge 1 of this year's competition used virtual and augmented reality to imagine solutions that would deliver a 'trackside' experience to fans anywhere in the world.

The winners of the second challenge then took this one step further, coming up with applications that could give an F1 team a competitive edge by enabling the engineers working at trackside, and experts back at the factory thousands of miles away, to immerse themselves in each other's worlds, making the two a more closely integrated unit. 

Demands of VR and OTT distribution 

Anyone looking to mix live experience and VR will need superfast, robust connectivity, as a stop-start connection could dampen the user experience, or potentially destroy it - going as far as making the user disorientated and nauseous. In the future, as VR will also go mobile. Today's 4G connections won't be able to handle VR, so we need more advanced networks to deliver the high-quality connectivity that these immersive experiences will demand. 

To bring VR to the masses, we therefore need to see a greater understanding of the demands that this rich traffic will place on networks, and widespread adoption of intelligent traffic management to ensure that networks are smart, robust and ubiquitous enough to provide the user experience consumers expect.

Furthermore, these new personalised experiences are only possible by delivering content using over-the-top (OTT) technologies. That is why broadcasters and sports organisations looking to continue evolving the experience of fans consuming live events must invest in OTT content delivery and increase their non-traditional distribution capabilities to better support new technologies and personalised services.

In doing so, broadcasters can begin to make exciting possibilities, including singular experiences, virtual reality and hyper-personalised viewing within a larger live event, a reality rather than a possibility


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