What looks like a thin pack of gum is attached to Braden Schneider’s event credential at the world junior hockey championship.
It’s a beacon providing both contact tracing capability should the Canadian defenseman test positive for COVID-19 and a warning if he stands too close to someone else for too long.
”It’s a mandatory thing to make sure we’re all safe in these times,” Schneider said. ”If that’s one of the things we have to do, we’re very privileged and lucky to even get the chance to come here and play.”
TraceSafe’s wearable technology is Hockey Canada’s extra layer of defense against the spread of the virus at the 12-day, 10-nation tournament, in addition to the same cellphone app the NHL used in its Edmonton and Toronto playoff bubbles earlier this year.
That app, which includes facial recognition technology, is a self-assessment tool that provides a code for a temperature check.
The Bluetooth beacon on Schneider’s credential features a small red light that flashes if he’s less than 2 meters (6.6 feet) from another person, or if he’s in someone else’s presence for more than 15 minutes. Data is uploaded via an encrypted network to be used for contact tracing in the event of a positive test.
”What we wanted to do is be able to trace where people were relative to others and we wanted to be able to set a quarantine period where no one was allowed to leave,” Dean McIntosh, Hockey Canada’s vice president of events, told the Canadian Press. ”The app didn’t do that for us and neither did the daily testing, so there was a need to find something different and new.”
The technology works in concert with other measures, including daily testing. Hockey Canada hired the same private Edmonton lab the NHL did to process tests.
Wearing masks is mandatory. They are removed when players and personnel are about to step on the ice, McIntosh said.
The trickiest part of managing the virus was when teams arrived in Edmonton on Dec. 13.
Everyone wore a wristband resembling a hospital bracelet while quarantined in their hotel rooms for five days. A device in their rooms and the wristbands created a geofence, so if a player left his room, the signal would break and indicate a breach of quarantine.
Those deemed free of the virus after quarantine discarded the wristbands and donned credentials with the beacons to enter the world junior bubble.
Nine German players continued wearing wristbands and isolating in their hotel rooms several more days because of positive tests during quarantine. One player will continue to do so until Jan. 4.
Who sees the data? An International Ice Hockey Federation official and a representative of the organizing committee can access it in real time. Any positive test is reported to Alberta Health Services for contact tracing to begin.
”We have not had a case since individuals came out of quarantine, so we haven’t had to utilize the TraceSafe technology to identify close contacts in a positive case in the bubble,” McIntosh said.
The credential beacon doesn’t create a geofence barrier. More traditional measures ensure no one leaves the hotel or arena, including security.
”I don’t think it’s a lack of trust, but there does come a point in the event where teams will be eliminated and maybe here for 24 hours before they leave, so we’re really trying to ensure the temptation of leaving the bubble isn’t there,” McIntosh said.
The folks behind TennisONE had visions of grandeur for what they expected that their app could be and could become—nay, would become—and the COVID-19 pandemic completely upended those plans in a matter of days.
That’s right, the TennisONE app was overnight stuck launching a new app in the middle of a tennis season that was halted for six full months. This was especially grueling because from the jump, the marketing plan relied on big activations in Charleston and Miami—two events that were quickly called off once tennis put its season on hold.
All of a sudden they needed to compel tennis fans to give the app a reason to give it a chance, to understand that TennisONE could provide them with value in a time when this didn’t seem possible because there weren’t any matches played.
In the aftermath of COVID-19 and the host of government-sanctioned safety protocols that followed suit, venue closures and strictly-enforced restrictions on public gathering dealt an especially devastating blow to the live events industry. Determined to provide an alternative “venue” for clients to safely host live events, Quince Imaging quickly transitioned their focus from in-person events to remote, virtual gatherings, expeditiously converting their office space into a massive, 40,000 square-foot broadcast studio. Quince Imaging technical engineers and event producers rapidly constructed the technological framework that would integrate virtual streaming of live events and hybrid interaction by remote fans and audience participants. Leveraging experience from the esports realm as their roadmap, Quince rolled out “Studio Q” in lightning speed, and made headlines when their suite of hybrid solutions supported the National Football League by remotely streaming in draft picks, players, coaches, cheerleaders, and each team’s inner circle of fans, to launch the first-of-its-kind, hybrid-interactive, virtual NFL Draft.
Since its inception in March 2020, Quince Imaging has utilized Studio Q to produce over 500 hours of interactive, broadcast-quality content for virtual and hybrid events, empowering dozens of industries to transcend geographical barriers and international pandemic protocols to safely deliver remotely accessible live events. To date, Quince Imaging has supported numerous professional sports, esports, healthcare, government entities, trade unions, and news publications, in addition to the following brands, in their virtual and hybrid event endeavors, and the list continues to grow.
“The keys to success in hybrid event production are equal parts technology and strategy,” said Eric Gazzillo, Director of Innovation at Quince Imaging. “Not only have our clients had to adjust to hosting their events on a new platform, they’ve also been challenged with reformatting their content for consistency within the new medium. The live experience from your living room sofa is a huge contrast to the live experience in a packed arena or auditorium. Likewise, absorbing information while interacting with peers in-person at a venue is going to be quite different from your laptop headset and keyboard. Brands have to get creative about the methodology they use to deliver content virtually, in order to sustain captivation from fans and audiences. We’ve seen tremendous success with production and distribution of episodic content, which is a format that closely resembles a podcast-style workflow. Breaking down content into small, digestible chunks and publishing it at consistent intervals provides a flexible solution to audience retention. Now more than ever, producers must deliver content in an accommodating and succinct format to drive remote attendee participation. Not only are audiences empowered to maximize absorption and retention of content delivered in an episodic, event-centric format, but brands are seeing returns by way of increased viewership, shortened sales cycles, boosted visibility and resource effectiveness.”
“The hybrid model is here to stay,” said Scott Williams, COO at Quince Imaging. “Live events are no longer a novelty item. Our clients are leveraging the ‘virtual event venue’ to extend engagement opportunities to captive audiences around the world. We are witnessing an unprecedented paradigm shift that has completely transformed the way conference attendees are accessing and absorbing information, and fans are interacting with their favorite teams and entertainers. We owe all of our success to our clients. They truly pushed us to think outside the box, and as a result, we were driven to create a hybrid solution that has made live event production indestructible- post-pandemic and beyond.”
Startup founders and tech giant CEOs are putting money behind cricket teams and leagues, betting that the sport will continue growing in popularity — even in the U.S., where it has struggled to gain a foothold.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is reportedly among a group backing Major League Cricket, a new U.S.-based cricket tournament run by American Cricket Enterprises set to launch in 2022. Others including Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen and Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma are also participating, according to the Financial Times.
Nadella is looking to run a team out of Seattle, according to the Times of India, which alluded to the world-class cricket field Microsoft is building at its revamped headquarters in Redmond, Wash.
On a recent evening, DeMarcus Ware, the retired linebacker, reported to the retail space that fronts 3 Volt Fitness, his new training center in Trophy Club, Texas, and opened a box of shirts. They were wrinkled, so he picked up a steamer to press them, but noticed that a few members were looking at him, eyes locked in.
“Like I’m a mannequin,” he says. “I was like, How are you? What’s going on? You want me to show you around?”
Forgive the gawkers. At 6’4”, Ware, 38, still cuts a statuesque figure. Though he left the NFL in 2016 after 12 seasons—undergoing three back surgeries and one neck operation during that last campaign—he has not slowed. Each day, he still takes in between 5,000 and 6,000 calories and works out for an hour, referring to his body as a “fat-burning machine.” He’s always moving, hopping from one task to the next, be it on a treadmill or in the virtual world where he now operates.
Greenfly and Grabyo announced today a partnership and technology integration between their cloud-based software platforms that will enable more video clips to be published on social media networks, building brand engagement and loyalty for both parties.
The solution combines Grabyo's cloud-native video production platform and publishing tools for clipping and editing highlights, with Greenfly’s digital media distribution platform. Digital content teams will be able to easily and rapidly distribute high-quality video clips with brand partners and advocates during live events for sharing on social media. This product integration enables sports, entertainment and media customers to automatically and seamlessly distribute video clips to dozens or hundreds of people as soon as they have been edited.
The National Lacrosse League was the first organization to test this end-to-end solution for their virtual live draft. The collaboration resulted in reach and engagement that surpassed the league’s previous in-person draft events - by 65 percent - while increasing viewership across B/R Live and the NLL’s YouTube and Facebook channels.
“Our live draft is a major moment for the league, where we rely on fast-paced, high entertainment games, clips and highlights to engage fans,” said Nick Sakiewicz, National Lacrosse League Commissioner. “When we were forced to suspend the season due to COVID, we knew we had to double-down on our digital strategy to power a live draft that would be fully virtual. Having previously experienced high-impact social engagement with Greenfly, and also already using Grabyo for cloud video production, we knew that getting as many short-form videos into the hands of athletes would provide a significant organic lift across social media. We immediately turned to our marketing and creative teams to work together to help us connect with our loyal community of fans, teams and players.”
The NLL used Greenfly as the primary communication and social content platform before, during and after the 2020 Entry Draft. The NLL was able to curate content into media galleries, including clips of the athletes’ college game highlights with their personal commentaries, videos of what it meant to them to be drafted, and messages to other players and NLL fans.
The NLL players, serving as the league’s high-value brand advocates with active and engaged fan bases, used the Greenfly app to quickly access gallery content and share those clips on social media. This kept the league's fans, consisting mostly of a younger and more mobile-first demographic, connected and engaged.
“Sports is such a content-rich industry with athletes and other brand advocates eager to share their passion for the game and for their team, league and sponsors. Greenfly is the backbone enabling this at scale and with authentic content,” said Daniel Kirschner, CEO at Greenfly. “Successfully supporting the NLL across the 2020 play season and their very first virtual live draft demonstrates the power of automated, holistic media workflows, which are traditionally fragmented and time-consuming. We're excited to deliver high-impact, edited media with Grabyo, which only elevates an already seamless experience for organizations and their advocates globally.”
The league was able to send personalized galleries of draftee selection moment videos and clips to athletes for them to immediately share on their social media profiles, as the draft was simultaneously in progress. Post-draft, the league sent draftees Entry Draft highlights and content branded with their new NLL team graphics to share with the league’s social followers, building excitement for what is next in their career and the NLL’s next season.
“Working with Greenfly was the perfect synergy for streamlining edited draft clips in real-time,” said Mike Kelley, President at Grabyo Americas. “Their ability to share content quickly to athletes and talent means they can distribute video with the same speed and quality with which the NLL clips and edits it in Grabyo. This is especially crucial in a shifting digital era for live sports events. With Greenfly as a powerful platform partner, we look forward to amplifying video distribution for more organizations, long after the pandemic is in the rear-view mirror.”
The NLL’s collaboration with Greenfly and Grabyo exceeded goals for the Entry Draft event. NLL player content posted through Greenfly generated 65% higher average Instagram reach than general NLL Draft content. Leveraging the power of this partnership, the NLL drove increased viewership for their virtual draft event, expanded their digital footprint and audience reach, and built deeper fan and athlete relationships.
To learn more about Greenfly, visit http://www.greenfly.com, and for more on Grabyo, visit http://www.grabyo.com.
Canadians golfers are playing golf and adapting to new technology such as the Golf Canada App like never before.
In a year where record numbers of recreational rounds were registered with Golf Canada through June (1.2 million), July (1.6M), August (1.5M), September (1.5M) and October (618,500) embracing technology and new apps has become a way of life for most Canadians who have spent much of 2020 learning to deal with COVID-19 lockdowns, quarantines and social distancing measures.
“It has been here for years, creeping into our lives, but the rapid spread of technology accelerated by the pandemic has led to a digital transformation like no other – even for golfers, who now book the vast majority of their tee times on-line, post their scores digitally and use a virtual scorecard,” says Vanessa Morbi, Senior Director of Marketing at Golf Canada.
THE SSE ARENA, WEMBLEY TO GO FULLY CONTACTLESS FOR THE ANTHONY JOSHUA VS. KUBRAT PULEV FIGHT THIS WEEKEND
Realife Tech, The Experience Automation Platform working with the world’s biggest entertainment destinations and events, is working in partnership with The SSE Arena, Wembley. The technology will enable the venue to welcome back 1,000 fans for the Unified Heavyweight Championship between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev on December 12. In the wake of the COVID- 19 pandemic, the arena has put protocols in place to make events as contactless as possible.
Mobile-only digital ticketing will be used exclusively to minimise touchpoints on entry into the venue. Fans will be required to download and share their tickets digitally through The SSE Arena, Wembley mobile app, powered by Realife Tech.
Inside the arena, innovative systems have been put into place to limit crowd movement and make transactions as easy as possible, with the mobile app being the sole method of ordering food and beverage. In addition to placing orders, Realife Tech’s platform allows users to remain in their seats until notified that it’s ready to pick up. Reducing crowd congestion on concourses and limiting excessive crowd movement throughout the arena will help keep visitors and staff safe.
“Realife Tech is dedicated to helping fans return to the live events they love, confidently and safely,” said Adam Goodyer, Founder and CEO of Realife Tech. “As The SSE, Arena, Wembley is regarded as a technology leader and has already taken great strides to prioritise the safety of their visitors, we’re proud to be teaming up to provide a technologically advanced solution to help fans make a seamless transition and adapt to events in this new environment.”
“We are thrilled to be bringing fans back for the Heavyweight title match between Anthony Joshua and Kubrat Pulev,” said John Drury, VP and General Manager for The SSE Arena, Wembley. “The comfortability and security of our fans is our highest priority, and utilising Realife Tech will allow visitors to experience live events in a safe, convenient, and enjoyable way.”
Realife Tech’s solutions are available to visitors through The SSE Arena, Wembley mobile app; learn more at www.realifetech.com
Clayton Kershaw-Endorsed V1 Baseball Training App Gaining Acceptance with Key Industry Organizations
V1 Sports, developer of state-of-the-art video sports performance analysis technology, reports that the new V1 Baseball mobile video analysis app is quickly gaining attention and acceptance from top baseball and softball organizations, like Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). The free V1 Baseball app empowers athletes to improve their personal baseball skills by capturing and reviewing their techniques with detailed baseball hitting, fielding or pitching analysis and easy-to-use and responsive playback tools.
V1 Baseball was featured as an “emerging technology” at the MLB’s Winter Meetings Sports Science & Baseball Tech Exhibition the week of Dec. 7. MLB Director of Innovation and Venture Investing, Mike Shapiro, presented the innovative app and video analysis system to the Commissioner's Office and 30 Major League clubs in attendance at the Winter Meetings.
V1 Sports Vice President Gary Palis was also asked to speak to 50 representatives from Major League teams during the MLB’s Spring Meetings. Palis has been presenting data and insight on V1 Sports' role in the future of technology in baseball.
“There’s long been cutting edge technology in baseball, but we’re opening eyes on how zoned in V1’s tools are for skill-specific improvement with an extremely well-designed platform that measures crucial details. For a coach to be able to instantly show a pitcher his slider motion versus how he moves to throw a fastball is highly useful technology,” Palis says. “We’ve built some strong relationships with teams that we will look forward to growing for a long time.”
The V1 Baseball team includes Scott Van Slyke and Shawn Tolleson, the founders of Practice with Pros, LLC, a baseball instruction company that makes professional-level coaching from top-tier baseball and softball professionals. The Practice with Pros coaching roster includes current and former MLB players whose expert coaching is available through the innovative V1 Baseball mobile platform. World Series winner, perennial All-Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers is an ambassador for Practice with Pros.
Van Slyke and Tolleson, along with V1 Sports’ Marcela Hammond, are on hand Dec. 9 – 11 at the NFCA Virtual Convention, where attendees have many opportunities to learn, network, socialize and conduct business with some of the best minds in softball, while also being introduced to the newest innovations in the game. The traditionally-in-person event is still showcasing the industry’s most trusted and cutting training technology, albeit online.
By sharing videos of their baseball motions (hitting, fielding or pitching form), athletes can receive personalized voice-over video lessons from a growing network of expert professional baseball coaches who use the V1 Sports platform, including a growing roster of current and former Major League Baseball players. Baseball coaches can download the V1 Pro app to create and deliver voice-over video lessons to their students.
“The ease and versatility of the V1 Baseball platform, coupled with the tremendous and growing array of top-caliber coaches using the V1 System, will help us make an immediate impact in baseball and softball. Both coaches and athletes have expressed universal excitement for our technology and the dynamic way it strengthens the level of training, as well as those all-important student-coach bonds,” says V1 Sports CEO Bryan Finnerty.
V1 Baseball’s coaching platform incorporates a powerful combination of live video capture of hitting, pitching or fielding analysis, voice-over tips, telestration, graphic overlay, lesson creation and delivery tools for baseball and softball, all secured on cloud storage. V1’s high resolution, high-frame-rate (240 FPS in HD) cameras capture an athlete’s hitting, pitching motion or fielding technique from angles and depths that allow the expert coach to pinpoint key training elements and then quickly devise a personalized, custom lesson and send it directly to the student through the V1 mobile app or email. Advanced editing and drawing tools, slow-motion and frame-by-frame playback help coaches convey key components of each lesson. An HD professional model library allows coaches to compare a student’s body motion and technique to a trained professional’s movements.
The new V1 Baseball mobile app is now available in the iOS App Store with optimized video capture and coaching for all baseball and softball skill sets. Users can flip the camera orientation to accommodate right- or left-handed swings and videos can easily be shared on social media or via email.
Nearly two decades after he played his last game in the NBA, former Seattle Supersonics star Detlef Schrempf is looking to attract fans once again. But he’s not on the basketball court. Instead he’s courting them on Cameo, the video-sharing website that has lured actors, musicians, sports stars and more with a brand of personalized and monetized selfies.
Schrempf, who played college hoops at the University of Washington and later spent five seasons with the Sonics and was a three-time NBA All-Star, joined Cameo last week.
He’s one of a number of sports personalities with ties to Washington state who are using Cameo to raise money for charitable causes or to put a little extra money in their pockets by cashing in on their status.
Trying to figure out how to engage more fans for the greater good is fun. Not sure I would do this just to make some money.Cameo launched in 2016 and works by connecting celebs with fans who pay those celebs to record personalized video messages. The recordings, of varying lengths, can be for any occasion, such as birthday or anniversary gifts, and are delivered via text or email. The price to record a message is set by the celebrity and is based on what they gauge their own popularity and worth to be. Cameo makes its money by taking 25% of each payment.