- Tech looks to narrow gap between at-track and at-home experience
- Operators could benefit from greater revenues and more people through turnstiles
Finnish technology firm Immersal has launched a white label augmented reality (AR) platform targeting the horse racing industry, allowing track operators to make the at-venue experience more interactive.
The solution integrates with existing mobile applications and provides fans with betting odds, real-time statistics on individual races and information about specific horses, all of which is overlaid on the real action being captured via a smartphone camera.
Horse racing is a notoriously difficult sport to follow, especially without the help of a seasoned commentator on hand to explain which horse is which. AR can identify horses, helping punters discover whether they have backed a winner or not.
More cosmetic graphics, such as 3D winner animations and countdowns can be added, all of which is designed to narrow the gap between the television and in-venue experience.
The solution also offers navigation assistance, allowing racegoers to find individual seats or the nearest bar, and provides track owners with additional revenue opportunities. For example, users can order food to their seat or upgrade to a more luxurious setting with real time offers. Naturally, bookmaker integration will lead to more bets being placed with gambling partners.
The system is typically integrated using a 5G network, which addresses many of the traditional technological barriers of providing real-time content at a venue.
The higher speeds, greater capacity and ultra-low latency of 5G make it feasible to deliver real time information, especially when used with multi-access edge computing (MEC) that processes data as close as possible to the point of collection. Data spends less time travelling across the internet and accelerates the delivery of content to the user’s device.
“Combining the low latency and high throughput of 5G with our visual positioning solution, we can deliver real-time insights to the spectators in high quality,” explained Anttoni Vesterinen, chief executive of Immersal.
“By providing statistics on the horses and the individual races as well as entertainment like 3D animations, the race organiser can offer an enhanced experience simultaneously to thousands of viewers. This is something unseen at the race tracks before.”
Many within the sports industry fear that the quality of television broadcasts and the capability of mobile applications will have an impact on physical attendances as people prefer to sit on their sofa rather than in the stands.
The reaction has been to ensure that the atmosphere and experience of a live event is combined with the convenience of the living room. Many venues have invested heavily in facilities, mobile coverage and technology to bridge the gap.
Immersal’s platform is one of several attempts to use the capabilities of 5G to offer a new class of digital experience that is not possible at home and one that will potentially drive greater revenues for clubs, federations and operators.