Video Innovation Notebook, Part 2: Tech Advances You May Have Missed

By Brian Ring

Hopefully, your travels back from Las Vegas were safe, and your head is filled with new ideas to deploy and interesting challenges to tackle. There was so much to geek out about that here’s another look at hidden gems at NAB 2015.
One of the historically groundbreaking deployments of timed, meta content layered on top of video comes from ’90s MTV hit series called Pop-up Video. That show is the inspiration for Multipop, a new take on an old theme that solves difficulties associated with timed, interactive content in video-streaming environments.

Multipop enables producers to add a layer of timed content under an existing video player. They call this the “lower fourth,” since the experience wraps under an existing YouTube video player, for example. Simply add trivia, voting, comments, merchandise, or advertising, and you have a brand-new monetization platform with minimal change to existing workflows.

Trials are under way with FunnyorDie, Campus Insiders, and others.

Everyone in the sports business has heard of Cisco StadiumVision Mobile. Its end-to-end mobile video solution does many things, but, perhaps most important, it helps to ease data-traffic congestion on stadium WiFi networks. It does this using an advanced protocol called application-level multicasting.

In-stadium video streaming will power a range of compelling fan applications, so multicasting is a big deal. Which is why it’s odd that, if you ask the average sports techie to name a competitive offering, you’re likely to get a blank stare.

Well, now you can say “ChirpVision.” ChirpVision offers a variety of event-based video and fan-engagement services, including live streaming video that uses a low-latency, low-bandwidth WiFi approach similar to StadiumVision Mobile.

Verizon and AT&T also have a flavor of multicasting — called IP multicasting — but their solutions work with their proprietary cellular networks. ChirpVision might not be the only competitor to Cisco in this market, but I can’t easily name another.

Originally, the NAB Show served broadcast stations and their video-equipment needs. As a result, there is a local, small-business flavor to the show that I find refreshing. There are small companies that are thriving with a simple approach combining clever technology, smart strategies, and an unstoppable work ethic.

Sportzcast is one example. It manufactures the ScoreBot, which makes it possible to connect to 15 major scoreboard vendors. The ScoreBot also connects to live production equipment — for example, a NewTek — and can feed it all scoreboard data: time, score, fouls. It can also be connected to the Internet to enable various cloud video-streaming applications.

From sports-radio call-in shows to interactive trivia content, sports is simply ready-made for the kinds of sticky and clicky interactive features that drive the social Web. For digital teams trying to make sense of that conversation, the hashtag is critical. So how do you create a successful hashtag campaign? And how do you know if it’s working?

Hashtracking is one of many social-analysis tools available today. Its product offers a simple self-service interface and automated infographics. The tool tracks trending news, hashtags, and memes. It works across Twitter and Instagram and includes historical data analysis to help teams become proficient at the intersection of social and sports.

In live sports broadcasting, the central goal is to entertain viewers. But video is a powerful teaching tool, rich with information that can be packaged into lessons for athletes and teams.

However, video files are large, long, and unwieldy, particularly on standard personal computers. LongoMatch’s deep roots in open-source video-framework Gstreamer are useful here. This open-source sports-video–analysis product works across Mac, Linux, and Windows platforms. It also handles all sports well by incorporating a template-driven approach to specific sport customizations.

Now tagging, reviewing, editing, and producing key teaching moments from important plays is as easy for coaches as it is for broadcast postproduction teams.

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