Our kids don’t understand why we brought lighters to concerts or how we shared the experiences from live events with our friends. What they do know is that the smartphone is an enabler for sharing all of their experiences, and events, whether they’re local or global. This year, the Olympics will be a true networked experience, and to demonstrate today’s connectedness, more than 1,000 Wi-Fi access points have been deployed in London’s Olympic Park alone.
The spontaneous sharing of our lives has become the new norm. We record all our favorite moments whether we attend top-notch events like the Olympics or share our experiences when we watch our favorite national sports. We share our favorite songs when we’re at concerts, and pictures of our friends all dressed up in full fan costumes.
Sharing today is about distributing our favorite moments via video and multi-picture avenues, creating new traffic patterns, where uploading from the stadium dominates. We used to share our experiences with SMS, tweets or short status texts when the only coverage available was GPRS or EDGE. As 3G-, 4G- and Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones enter the stadiums in volumes, so does the demand for networks to support them.
Sharing the local experience while you are abroad is as important as the one you share at home. This is not restricted to sports and concerts, but also includes our desire to share our greatest travel experiences. I wonder when we will be able to go abroad, take pictures and post them in real-time without having to worry about the bill. I think it will be sooner than you think.
My predictions for the future of spectator sharing are that:
* Video and multi-picture posts will be our primary sharing media. Images speak louder than words.
* Major sports stadiums will have advanced networks for boosting data coverage and capacity within three years, and the upstream data-traffic needs will be a key network design criterion.
* New business model innovations will surface to allow us to cross country borders with the stadium-sharing behaviors we have adopted at home.
It is rare that a Masters Golf Tournament features so many Swedes in contention for the final round. And this year there were four: Peter Hanson, Henrik Stenson, Fredrik Jacobson and Bubba Watson. But is this what I enjoyed most about watching this year’s Masters – or was it that I was able to create a truly unique, personalized viewer experience for myself?
This year, for the first time, I was able to view four different channels at once: two featured player groups and two featured parts of the course. I could then choose which screen I wanted to follow, or watch all four screens simultaneously.
Being able to get specific statistics from the dedicated Masters app made the experience complete. Not only did I get access to information about the primary leaderboard, I was also able to receive updates on the progress of the other players I chose to follow. And to me that was really important.
To improve my viewing experience even further, next year I would like to watch the tournament with a more extensive offering of camera angles. This should be possible, given that consumers continue to embrace the shift toward multi-screen and multi-network TV services.
For more than 30 years, innovation has been a part of the production of sports TV. Most significantly, we’ve seen the overlaying of graphics on a live TV signal and the transition to HDTV cameras. And with more and more advanced TVs, tablets and phones, producers will continue to find new ways to hold viewers’ attention – 3DTV, five-channel audio and a range of camera-angle selections are just a few examples.
The multi-platform, multi-screen future is changing the way we interact with our content. Here are some of my predictions about the future of viewing live sports TV:
Users will be given a choice between the main production and the editor’s choice version, while following the game through multiple cameras
Viewers will be able to access additional statistics about the game through a companion screen rather than the main screen
Users will control what appears on the main screen through a tablet that acts as a remote control
The viewing experience will be a blend of the broadcast on the main screen and interactive features on a companion screen
In a few years’ time, golf players will be allowed to have their phones on during tournaments to interact with fans through social media
New business models and advertising options will evolve for the TV experience that we produce ourselves.