Panasonic unveiled at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas its vision for smart venue solutions in sports that are expected for 2025-30, and the fan experience in a future stadium looks fantastic.
According to the company, the easy entry into the stadium, immersive entertainment, and everything that’s delivered to your seat — from content to the souvenirs via drone — will create a “richer user experience” at a venue like Florida State’s Doak Campbell Stadium.
How realistic is all this? It’s not as far away as you might think. Here are four of features in a future sports venue that Panasonic envisions and some of the companies and teams already looking to make it happen:
Facial recognition technology
Of course there be paperless entry to venues as more leagues and events move toward mobile ticketing, but Panasonic sees that these gates will be able to be unmanned also because face recognition technology will be used to authenticate identity using high-resolution, wide-angle cameras.
Already, Panasonic has been involved in at least one face matching pilot to optimize safety for FC Groningen in the Netherlands, with four HD security cameras with facial recognition software at the turnstiles matching images with those in the database who are banned from the stadium.
The LPGA in March tested the use of NEC’s facial recognition for enabling media members and those with credentials to gain entry into secured environments at a major championship.
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The expectation from Panasonic is that the form factor of AR devices will ultimately change to resemble a pair of glasses, making them more popular among consumers.
That would open up numerous possibilities for using augmented reality to entertain fans. Special AR performances before kickoff and during halftime that us the actual football field as a canvas could be used to fire up those in attendance. Augmented reality content for the phone could allow fans to take selfies with players anywhere in the stadium. And last year, Panasonic showed how its AR projection could be used to transform the windows of a luxury suite into yet another screen for fans to experience interactive content.
Current, augmented reality is progressing to the point where it’s being incorporated more in live sports. Major League Baseball will enable fans at the stadium this season to hold up an Apple mobile device to get more information on players and situations in augmented reality.
FC Bayern Munich has itself used ARKit to enable fans to take photos with augmented reality players while also using Canadian company ARHT (Augmented Reality Holographic Telepresence) to delivered a live press conference using holograms of coaches.
In Panasonic’s vision, not only can a smart guide system analyze your ticket information and know to suggest your favorite foods, but once you’ve ordered souvenirs, they can be delivered to your seat by a drone that knows your current location.
While the FAA along with leagues and teams wary of malicious drones will have something to say about this, could attitudes change in the future? Food deliveries by drones aren’t new, and there are signs that drone deliveries could happen. In fact, drone deliveries are expected to be part of the tech innovation for fans in PyeongChang next month.
In Argentina, one soccer team even had its own drone flying around in-stadium before it was brought down by a fan who threw a roll of cash register paper. So while this vision could be achieved, there are plenty of downsides.
Personalized instant replay
Panasonic can see fans having an interactive system that allows them to replay the action from different angles of any play that just finished, and it’s easy to see why because the company has already tested the use of VOGO Sport in golf and soccer. The French startup enables replays in real-time as fans are able to control the camera angle while in-venue.
Another company to watch in this space is Kiswe, which has enabled the Monumental Sports Network to test ways in which it can engage fans with multi-angle streaming and replays.