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Vizrt: Graphic specialists for sports broadcast 

Vizrt are reliable providers of graphics and sports analysis technology, perfect for the media industry during their broadcast. 

Vizrt – short for Visualisation in Real-Time – are a Norwegian company who have created resources to enhance the delivery of sport production. They are a worldwide market leader across the areas of real-time 3D graphics, sports analysis and asset management tools to cater for sports media among others. 

Their specialty involves creating visuals to improve the overall feel of broadcast, including interactive & virtual solutions, animations, maps, weather, story and video editing, as well as compositing, multiplatform Video on Demand (VOD) and live playout tools. 

Vizrt’s philosophy is based on creating a new vision for content creation, management and delivery with an end-to-end solution from conception to multi-format distribution. The software and services designed by Vizet, coupled with ongoing innovation, aims to push the boundaries for what is possible and opens up new opportunities to tell stories. 

If we think about how that could be of use in a sporting context, Vizet have already proven themselves as partners for sports broadcasters and clubs, who can give better insights about what happens in a match or what it means, as well as previews and reviews. 

They have all the tools in sports graphics and analysis to provide greater excitement to the coverage of any sport. Audiences are treated to data-driven augmented reality graphics, advanced analysis, automation tools and quick editing of highlights to get them to fans first. 

As part of Vizrt’s sport production, they bring all the features required to get the very best out of the experience, whether that be at home, in the stands or in the locker room.

One of Vizrt’s Extended Reality solutions is XR – regarded as the world’s most powerful 3D sports analysis tool. In collaboration with Eleven Portugal, Vizrt linked up to deliver a new fan experience to Portuguese audiences. 

Eleven Portugal is the Lisbon-based part of multinational group Eleven Sports, who have sports television channels for sporting events. 

In Portugal, Eleven Sports own the rights to UEFA Champions League, La Liga Santander, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 Uber Eats, Jupiler Pro League, English Football League Championship, Scottish Premiership, Formula 1, F2, F3, Formula E, NASCAR, Porsche Super Cup, NFL, WTA 1000, ATP 250, Liga Endesa and more. The channel slogan is ‘By the Fans. For the Fans.’ 

Eleven Sports wanted to find ways of improving their sports coverage, with Vizrt chosen to lead the way with advanced graphics and new innovations. 

Vizrt’s XR Playbook brought a very powerful 3D analysis to TV programs – presenters were able to explain complex play by play match tactics in a clear and audience-friendly way. This adds more drama and suspense in shows and helps get the most from all sports by engaging the audience with unique insights and knowledge of strategy. 

As part of the collaboration, Vizrt committed towards offering training and guidance via their training and services teams. Deployed in Lisbon, they could educate Eleven Portugal’s editorial and production teams about how to get the most out of Vizrt’s software. 

Fans became immersed with tools for tracking player speed and movement, while the broadcaster makes great use of Virtual Stadium  an augmented reality set that gives a bird’s eye view of the venue. 

It’s this use of Vizrt’s multifaceted technology that can bring heightened significance to any sporting event. 

Vizrt has even helped out Esports broadcasters with their own productions, bringing the same high-quality graphics solutions for match previews and team presentations in particular. The rise and popularity of Esports has seen Vizrt transition their expertise to these events. 

Vizrt’s impressive portfolio of clients and partners include the world’s leading broadcasters, featuring CNN, CBS, Fox, BBC, Sky, ITN, ZDF, Star TV, Network 18, TV Today, CCTV, and NHK. Vizrt’s power of work extends further to many world-class production houses and corporate institutions – such as the New York and London Stock Exchanges – who go to Vizrt’s technology. 

Adaptable to any organisation and industry, Vizrt is able to deliver a whole range of benefits. To find out more on other features, you can view them here. 

Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

Swan Retail: Promoting clubs through powerful app 

Swan Retail’s software development has seen the creation of FUSE – an app that has all the best fan engagement features in the one place. 

It’s been a mixed bag for Australian audiences wanting to go to live sporting events, as lockdowns and restrictions have not always gone in our favour. 

For sport clubs, they have become more reliant on finding ways to engage with their fan bases via digital, as the typical match day inclusions do not always go to plan, with unpredictable Covid-19 changes. However, what is for certain is that clubs cannot be stopped in exploring ways to promote their team in a variety of ways. 

Swan Retail has identified the demand for digital and online resources, where they have taken their expertise into the sports & stadium area. 25 years’ worth of experience has lended itself towards furniture & homeware, fashion and specialty retail to name a few. 

Swan Retails app, FUSE, encapsulates that a club is searching for when it comes to fan engagement. It is completely branded to suit a club’s identity and includes an immerse news feed to create engaging content that you would see on a social media platform. The only difference here is that the app takes everything from a club and showcases that directly to a fan, rather than trapping it in amongst other competitors.

When a fan uses FUSE, their sole focus is on the team they support. FUSE is the application that integrates quality engagement, offering clubs the chance to interact with their fans, build their brand, reward loyalty and drive sales. 

Available on the App Store and Google Play, FUSE has a host of features to maximise marketing potential: 

  • Build and theme a business app. 
  • Clubs can customise their branding. 
  • Scale up only when clubs need to. 
  • Deploy to iOS & Android. 
  • Potential to be live within four weeks. 
  • Deliver engaging content through the app feed. 
  • Segment, target and deliver content based on purchase data. 
  • Display real-time loyalty points and loyalty account balances. 
  • Wrap and enhance a mobile website. 
  • Harness the power of push notifications. 
  • Drive footfall, sales, traffic and conversion. 

FUSE can bring fan engagement benefits that are developed around loyalty. To build and sustain a fan base, Swan Retail helps to bring promotions to life. The app provides the go-to resource for planning and delivering promotional campaigns, leading to an increased rate of revenue. 

Clubs can bring across their creativity and connect with fans in a more personalised manner, whether it be game day or to provide greater access off the pitch. Swan Retail have partnered with Warrington Wolves Rugby Club, Ipswich Town Football Club and Stoke City Football Club who have already seen the following benefits: 

  • News, events, polls and promotions form the pivotal part of FUSE, making content the app’s bread and butter. This can be implemented further by integrating an online shop, which can be a post of a goal celebration during the match with a promotion applied to the player’s kit. 
  • Push notifications as a regularity can consistently bring fans to the app once they have been informed of new content, rewards and timely promotions that all contribute to driving sales. 
  • Loyalty points can be accrued to make fans feel part of something special and to be rewarded for their support. 
  • A website within the app to collaborate a fans’ online experience by seamlessly allowing them to browse and buy from a store without leaving the app. 
  • Calls-to-action as a way of offering new products such as kit releases and the ability to use redeem promotions and use rewards points. 
  • Custom forms can be created as a crowdsourcing tool to get feedback and insights from the people that make the club tick and learn more about how to maximise profits. 

To learn more about Swan Retail, and to have a read of their case studies, you can find it here. 

Blink Identity: Walk straight into an event 

Blink Identity offers the latest solution for quick and easy access to events, as face recognition software can be used as a ticket.

Recently, we’ve seen QR codes become as prominent as ever with Covid-19 protocols in mind – particularly for checking in to venues. 

Blink Identity offers the latest solution for quick and easy access to events, as face recognition software can be used as a ticket – rather than having a physical or digital copy on hand. 

Backed by decades of experience, they have been developing identity systems for enterprises in high-risk environments. The biometric matching system has utilised military-grade technology to accurately identify people walking at a typical pace, adaptable to any lighting conditions. 

The basis of Blink Identity is simple – when a sports club or venue is partnered up with the company and has the camera software in place, visitors are required to enrol in the service by taking a ‘selfie’ photograph on their phone. 

Face recognition like a barcode

By taking a photograph in a matter of seconds, this leads to enormous time saved when the visitor has arrived to enter a stadium or venue, where this eliminates the risk of waiting in lines. Blink Identity collects an image of a person’s face to then be converted into a special unique code known as a mathematical template for identification purposes (like a barcode). Basic contact details involving full name and email address are used for a personalised greeting and if Blink Identity needs to contact the person respectively, with this information to ensure that a spectator can be identified at a venue and if any problems arise with the account. 

With a Blink Identity lane in operation, all the visitor needs to do is walk through and the sensor takes another photograph – to be converted into a template – which is then immediately deleted and is not saved on the sensor. This process is simply to compare the initial template (selfie) with the latest version from when the person enters a venue. 

The versatility and reliability of this technology has not only been tested with lighting conditions, but also to adjust for slight changes to a person’s appearance from one photo to the next. For instance, anyone wearing hats, glasses, colored contacts, head scarves or has a beard does not affect Blink Identity’s system. The vast majority of sunglasses, face paint schemes and sequins have also been proven to not change how the sensors operate. The system, which can identify identical twins better than the human eye, caters for any changes to a person’s appearance. In addition, customers wearing face masks are matched using periocular recognition. This is a special type of face matching that focuses on the area of the face around the eye. 

The Blink Identity Sensor

Likened to walking in like a red carpet, Blink Identity is virtually a replica with that same VIP-type feel for successful entry. Once inside the venue, the use of Blink Identity’s sensors can expand towards purchasing food and merchandise, where customer experience is advanced. For instance, if an ID check is required from a customer, a simple face recognition check can be completed, rather than sifting through pockets trying to find a driver’s license or similar.

The ease of this technology is not only positive for visitors, but for companies as well who hold events. Blink Identity integrates with standard frameworks and workflows to handle everything from implementation and enrollment to privacy compliance. By switching to Blink Identity’s system, it connects to existing ticketing, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), point of sale (POS), time & attendance and security systems. This will allow organisations to get a better insight of fan data, promoting increased revenues and analytics. 

As countries start to welcome back more fans on the other side of Covid-19 outbreaks, Blink Identity can help manage the reintroduction of these fans through seamless entry. It’s an extra piece of technology that can certainly speed up the process at popular crowded events.  

For everything you need to know about Blink Identity, you can find it here. 

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