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Ericsson launches AR software for sports broadcasts

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Ericsson has launched Piero Augmented Reality, a software system that gives broadcasters the ability to enhance sports programming and create more immersive viewing experiences.

Ericsson’s 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 the analysis sequence without cutting away from the studio environment. The software is currently being tested by the BBC for its iconic football highlights TV program, Match of the Day.

The market-leading technology, which makes its global debut at NAB 2016 in Las Vegas, integrates easily with major studio tracking systems including Motion Analysis and nCam and popular sports information service Opta. In addition to the effects already available in Piero Sports Graphics system, some new ones include:

·         3D Virtual Replay – visualize a replay of the match on the studio floor

·         3D Heat Map – a customizable heat map based on Opta touch data

·         Goal Build Up – visualize the passes sequence to a goal or a shot

·         Pass Map – visualize a team’s passes map during a game

·         Actual game footage projected in 3D on the studio floor

·         3D Shots on goal – visualize shot trajectories and attempts on goal

·         Penalty Heat Map – customizable heat map based on Opta penalty shots data

Thorsten Sauer, Head of Broadcast and Media Services, Ericsson, says: “When sports programming was first broadcast on TV, data visualization 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.”

Piero Augmented Reality is a part of Ericsson’s Piero product suite. Piero is Ericsson’s world-leading real time sports graphics software specifically designed to enhance and analyze sports for broadcasters and TV service providers. Offering a user-friendly and reliable system, Piero is used by over 50 broadcasters around the world to deliver stunning, fast and accurate analysis graphics of sports programming and to enhance broadcast presentation of international sporting events such as the Olympic Games.

Using image recognition and state-of-the-art graphic overlays, Ericsson’s Piero enhances sports video media with visually engaging and informative illustrative effects and statistics. The Piero platform enables a wide range of graphical effects to be added to video; from simple markers and counters to more sophisticated effects such as heat maps, formations and 3D flyarounds that can be used for live productions or highlight shows. Piero offers bespoke modules for a wide variety of sports, from football and tennis to hurling and handball.

Every day, people on all continents watch television programs prepared, managed and broadcast by more than 2,500 Ericsson staff based in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the US. Ericsson is the largest provider of content discovery services in Europe, delivering metadata, images, search and recommendations on more than 3,000 TV channels in over 30 languages. Every year, Ericsson Broadcast and Media Services distributes more than 2.7 million hours of programming in more than 90 languages for more than 500 TV channels worldwide. In addition, we provide more than 230,000 hours of captioning each year – over 100,000 hours of which is live.

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As selfie cameras rise, so must selfie etiquette

Selfies were once a sign of narcissism or self-obsession. Now they are the new normal, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You can blame Oxford Dictionaries for making the “selfie” respectable. After all, being named Word of the Year, as it was in 2013, does tend to soften some of the self-consciousness in this most self-conscious of actions.

Once seen as a symbol of narcissism and self-obsession, it is now the new normal, to the extent that most smartphones are sold on the basis of the front camera. Or, as that feature is now almost universally named by manufacturers, the “selfie camera”.

I was one of the hold-outs, having a near-allergy to the selfie. I still resist, but succumb more often than I would like. The reason for continued resistance is that it remains a big leap from the word becoming respectable to the action itself shedding its narcissistic image. 

For most, it’s already happened, and for that you can blame Ellen DeGeneres. She  choreographed the most famous group selfie yet at the 2014 Oscars, when she roped a bunch of actors into a group selfie, using the then-new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Her tweet of the photo became what was then the most retweeted posting ever on Twitter, and was estimated to have been worth a million dollars in marketing value to Samsung.

Ironically, it was Samsung’s up-and-coming challenger, Huawei, that came up with a new word for this type of selfie: the “groufie”. Thanks to an 8 Megapixel front camera on the new Huawei Ascend P7 camera that year which took the highest quality selfies – and groufies – possible on a smartphone at the time.

It didn’t end there, and selfies and groufies have morphed into variations like selfscapes (selfie in a landscape), skyfies (selfies from the air, using remote controlled devices) and jerkies (selfies to make an idiot out of yourself). I invented all of those on the fly, so it’s easy to imagine a new word emerging for every type of selfie.

Continue reading about selfie improvements through the years.

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Mickey’s 90th for SA

Disney Africa announced the local launch of the Mickey the True Original campaign, joining the global festivities honouring 9 decades of Mickey Mouse, his heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon.

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As 18 November 2018 marks 90 years since his first appearance in Steamboat Willie in November 1928, a series of world-wide celebrations will be taking place this year and South Africa is no different.

The campaign will come to life with engaging content and events that embrace Mickey’s impact on the past, present and future. The local festivities kick off in earnest this month, leading up to Mickey’s 90th anniversary on 18 November 2018 and beyond:

  • An exclusive local design project where ten highly talented South African artists will apply their own inspiration and artistic interpretation on 6-foot Mickey Mouse statues.
  • Once revealed to the public, the statues will form part of the Mickey the True Original South African Exhibition, inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his global impact on popular culture. The exhibition will travel to 3 cities and delight fans and families alike as they journey with Mickey over the years. Featuring 4 sections highlighting Mickey’s innovation, his evolution, influence on fashion and also pop culture, the exhibition is in collaboration with Samsung and Edgars, and will visit:

o   Sandton City, Centre Court: 28 September – 14 October

o   Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Expo Explore Court: 19 October – 11 November

o   Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Centre Court: 16 November – 26 November

  • Samsung continues their collaboration with Disney as they honour Mickey’s 90th anniversary nationally at all Samsung and Edgars Stores. Entitled Unlocking the Imagination, fans are encouraged to visit these stores, take a selfie with a giant Mickey plush toy using their Samsung Galaxy Note9 and stand a chance to win not only a giant Mickey plush, but also an international family trip. Visit www.Samsung.com for more information
  • Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, a two-hour prime-time special, will be screened on M-Net 101 later this year. The elegant affair will feature star-studded musical performances, moving tributes and never-before-seen short films. Superstars from music, film and television will join the birthday fun for the internationally beloved character.
  • In addition, look out for special programming on Mickey’s birthday (18 November) across Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303), Disney XD (DStv, Channel 304) and Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309).
  • In retailers, Edgars will be stocking a complete collection of trendy fashion, accessories and footwear for the whole family, inspired entirely by Mickey Mouse.
  • Mickey will be the central theme of an in-store campaign nationwide this November and December, with brand new products, apparel, toys, as well as titles from Disney Publishing Worldwide, including books, arts & crafts and comics
  • Discovery Vitality and Disney are celebrating healthy, happy families this festive season by offering helpful and exciting tips and tricks on how to eat nutritious, yet delicious, foods, all inspired by Mickey. There’s also a trip to Disneyland Paris up for grabs. Log on to www.discovery.co.za/vitality for information.
  • And much more – check the press for updates

“Binding generations together more than any other animated character, Mickey Mouse is the “True Original” who reminds people of all ages of the benefits of laughter, optimism and hope,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With his universal appeal and ability to emotionally connect with generations all over the world, no other character quite occupies a similar space in the hearts and minds of a global fan base and we are thrilled to be sharing these local festivities.”

Mickey’s birthday is celebrated in honour of the release of his first theatrical film, Steamboat Willie, on 18th November 1928, at the Colony Theatre in New York City. Since then, he has starred in more than 100 cartoons and can currently be seen on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303) in the Mickey Mouse cartoon series and on Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309) in Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

South African fans are encouraged to share their Mickey Mouse moments on social media using the hashtag#Mickey90Africa.

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