Ericsson unveils new service for sports broadcasters

Communications technology and services company Ericsson has launched a new software system that aims to give broadcasters the ability to enhance sports programming and create more immersive viewing experiences.

Piero Augmented Reality enables broadcasters to overlay 3D graphics in real-time during live studio productions and sports games. Sports analysis graphics can be produced instantly either by a system operator or by a presenter using a tablet device. The graphics are then projected onto the studio floor in 3D allowing broadcasters to illustrate an analysis sequence without cutting away from the studio environment.

The software is currently being tested by UK public-service broadcaster the BBC for its showpiece football highlights programme, Match of the Day. Piero Augmented Reality has been designed to integrate with major studio tracking systems including Motion Analysis and nCam, as well as sports data provider Opta.

Thorsten Sauer, head of broadcast and media services at Ericsson, said: “When sports programming was first broadcast on TV, data visualisation was confined to basic statistics reporting, separated from the actual sports clips, and relied only on expert commentaries to make data understandable.

“Piero Augmented Reality allows broadcasters to go beyond rudimentary, pre-built 2D graphics and bring events to life through data-driven stories for even more compelling viewing and create deeper engagement through stunning artistry. With some major sporting events on the horizon in 2016, we're confident that this industry-first technology will really elevate sports programming to an even bigger stage.”