Tech Insight: NativeWaves on creating next-level event-watching experiences with increased personalisation

Nativewaves technology being used on a K League match

We talk to Christof Haslauer, CEO at NativeWaves, about enhancing next-level event-watching experiences for fans and making personalisation easy for broadcasters and over the top (OTT) content providers. NativeWaves provides its partners with a platform that drives deeper fan and viewer engagement through customisable viewing experiences for sports and non-sports applications.

What are your key new technologies, solutions and enhancements for sports broadcasters that you have bought out over the last quarter?

We spent the last quarter finalising the launch of our latest product offering, NativeWaves EXP. NativeWaves EXP is an experience framework powered by the NativeWaves platform that enables broadcasters and streaming services to build next level event-watching experiences that can be easily utilised across different sports and entertainment. It allows delivery of truly personalised content offerings, which drives incremental monetisation without the need to develop a complete streaming platform and experience.

Our main differentiator is the fact that customers can select elements of NativeWaves EXP without having the change their existing workflows. This is because NativeWaves EXP is a versatile framework that is easy to adopt and futureproofed to integrate new experiences and workflows. It also allows broadcasters to deliver multiple sporting events without having to undergo technical implementations with various sporting leagues and data providers. The experiences delivered are also versatile, ranging from a simple lean-back experience to an engaged experience with a high-level of interaction.

NativeWaves CEO Christof Haslauer

How will these technologies help sports broadcasters?

One of the key challenges broadcasters currently face is the transition from linear digital delivery to the kind of personalised on-demand experiences that viewers are increasingly expecting.

However, simply offering all live content, also on-demand, foregoes multiple opportunities for interactivity and incremental monetisation. Fan engagement is becoming more and more important in broadcast today and this is where NativeWaves EXP can help because it gives sports broadcasters the tools they need to overcome the challenges.

Generally, broadcasters use the right approach, but the implementation is often what is lacking. Offering the same linear feed in an app that shows half a minute to a minute after it has been seen on TV, and little to no incremental information, simply doesn’t provide the value that audiences are looking for.

Some fundamentals for an engaging fan experience include: the integration of data and stats in a visually appealing form; the ability to view all relevant parts of the event, on-demand, available near-instantly after they happen; choosing different views and camera perspectives by coupling your connected device to the main broadcast feed in your living room TV while watching with family and friends; and of course, everything delivered with the absolute minimal latency to avoid any spoilers like the dreaded “Great goal!” text from your friend even before you have had a chance to see it on your own screen.

At NativeWaves, we have approached the problem by coming at it from the end user perspective. We offer audiences an on-demand experience during a live event which is different to the experience they get today. This is not about overloading them with additional camera feeds alone, but instead providing them with a user experience that packages this content in a meaningful and personalised way. For this, we have created NativeWaves EXP as a unified experience that allows users to deepen the fan experience, whether they enjoy their favourite event at home, on the go or live in-venue.

What have been the top technology trends during 2021 and what are the hot technology trends we can expect to see in 2022 in sports broadcasting, and why will we see these?

2021 has been a challenging but exciting year, especially where technological developments were concerned. Following on from 2020, remote production has now become mainstream, faster than it was expected. Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an important ingredient for television production. There has been substantial development in areas such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), with broadcasters starting to look closely at opportunities these technologies could bring in the future.

However, the one area which has come into focus is the area of delivering user experiences. Broadcasters can no longer ignore the demand for personalisation that has been growing, and the year 2021 saw a lot of new technologies that came to market which focussed in this area. The importance being given to user experiences can be gauged by the number of acquisitions in 2021, of technology companies working in this area, and by broadcasters and streaming services. This trend will continue in 2022.

We believe that demand for technology to deliver enhanced user experiences will get even more nuanced. Broadcasters will ask for modular solutions that bolt on to their existing workflows, and they will look for solutions that will make delivering new experiences easy and without disruptions to their existing services.

What can we expect to see from your company in 2022?

Our focus for 2022 will be to build further on the three core areas that form the basis for NativeWaves EXP.

We intend to refine our Dynamic User Experience and further enhance the fluid experience elements that adapt to each type of event, user, and device.

We will build on our Multi-content Event intelligence to further enhance automated data-driven workflows that connect the audio-visual content with meta-information to capture the full event and make it ready for personalised consumption.

We will enhance our tech foundation, which is already futureproofed for our customers, to the next level by removing technical barriers and making it even easier to adopt.

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