VR Concept of the week: Sports Streaming

This is the first of a series of articles we’ll be releasing every week identifying key growth segments for the Consumer Virtual Reality sector – our concept of the week. This post explains streaming live sports into virtual reality devices.

First, let’s lay out what we mean by VR Sports Streaming in simple terms (and we’ll try to make this as simple as possible!)…..

A virtual reality device (headset) enables the wearer to be placed into a stereoscopic virtual world. This means they can look around the world (the view) with head movements. This sense of immersion creates the experience of ‘being there’, from the perspectives of feeling closer to the action and having the ability to decide where to look.

vr radar thematic seg1 q1 14Relating this specifically to sports, the key difference between watching sports on a TV and experiencing sports via VR is the immersion. Watching sports on TV is always a passive experience – you can only watch what the cameraman and directors decide you’re going to watch – it’s a fixed view.

With VR, you have much greater control over what you see. If you want to look to the left, when the play is moving to the right, you can. And, depending on the position of the camera feeding the streamed image, rather than viewing a game from a high fixed camera angle, you potentially get to experience the action much closer to where it’s taking place.

We expect the sports streaming segment to be a key new genre for consumer VR and importantly, we expect this genre to be highly monetisable as consumers (read fans) show a willingness to pay for new premium content.  Our latest market analysis for the VR sector (the VR Radar) identifies initial sporting concepts to come to market later this year, with further adoption into 2015. This is shown in the chart above right.

Let’s drill-down a little more into how sports streaming could actually work with some specific applications.

Firstly, there are already companies making early moves in this space. Next3D, an Atlanta-based co positions itself as a ‘Leader in stereoscopic 3D technology with more than 35 years of combined experience in media, content production, and stereoscopic delivery and display’.

They’re developing a product called ‘Full Court’ that leverages 180 degree fisheye and 4K cameras positioned at sporting events. The 180 degree viewing range thus allows people to feel immersed into the event. Here’s a YouTube video of the Next3D founders being interview recently at CES by Road to VR.

Secondly, we expect sports streaming to also take place on a more intimate basis, as an output from LifeLogging technologies. LifeLogging refers to the capture of real-time audio and video via camera devices. The visual below left expains further.

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 11.11.10LifeLogging technologies will allow people to capture what they’re doing – in other words what they’re seeing, saying and hearing.

Relating this back to sports, a person could be sitting on the front row of a basketball match, the directors box at a Champions League final or simply just somewhere in a stadium. In a way, the wearer/owner of the LifeLogging device is the context creator, cameraman and director all rolled into one.

Using virtual reality technology, the input could be processed and provided as an output, i.e. the VR device becomes the display unit for what the LifeLogger is recording.

And it doesn’t stop there – imagine a LifeLogging device being attached to the helmet of a quarterback or a racing driver. As per our Radar chart analysis, we expect the personal LifeLogging of sporting events to occur from late 2015 / early 2016.

The sporting sector, along with 11 other key segments for consumer VR adoption are explained in our latest State of the Market report.

Further information:

Order the State of the Market Report for Consumer Virtual Reality.

Slideshare presentation for the Virtual Reality Radar chart.

Order the high-res full version of Virtual Reality Radar Chart.

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12 key segments for the Consumer Virtual Reality market

AKA, the Virtual Reality Radar Chart for Q1 2014.

We’ve been tracking the Virtual Reality market for a while now and 2014 is the year we’re going to start seeing consumer devices reach the market. Now of course, having the devices (the Virtual Reality headsets) is one thing, but you have to have applications, games and content in order to bring the essence of virtual reality to life.

To that end, we’ve taken the popular Virtual Worlds Radar chart and adapted it for the consumer Virtual Reality market. The Virtual Reality Radar Chart shows 12 key segments we believe will be popular as the device penetration grows. For each segment we’ve identified the year in which the first commercial activity will occur, i.e. when developers will launch their games. Then, we’ve indicated the key user age ranges that the games and apps will be targeting.

Shown below is one of the Radar slices, this one showing activity in three of the 12 segments, namely New Concept MMOs, Simulation games/apps and Casual Games.

vr radar thematic seg4 q1 14New Concept MMO/VW applications are multi-player, 3D immersive games specifically created to exploit the benefits of virtual reality. The older gaming market (15 years +) will see the first of these concepts come to market in 2014.

From here, new entrants to the market will age-down, meaning tween/teen games launch in 2015 and then kids in 2016.

Simulation games are typically first-person applications such as flying games, sandboxes and simulated worlds made more immersive via virtual reality. In 2014 we expect games coming to market catering for a wider age range of teens through to adults, with the kids market becoming active from 2015. Continue reading “12 key segments for the Consumer Virtual Reality market” »

Consumer Virtual Reality market worth $5.2bn by 2018

That’s one of the headline findings from our latest market sizing report on the Consumer Virtual Reality market. As part of our latest KZero report – Consumer Virtual Reality, State of the Market, we’ve assessed both hardware and software forecasted sales from 2014 to 2018 (order the full State of the Market report for complete findings).

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 11.06.22This article drills into some of the detail of our market sizing. First up, unit sales of consumer VR devices (hardware), as shown in the chart right.

We’ve split the primary audience for consumer VR into three main groups (Hardcore gamers/Innovators), Light Gamers/Early Adopters and the Kids,Tween and Teen (KT&T) segment. Shown right are annual forecasted unit sales.

On an overall basis, we estimate 2014 unit sales of 200k (all from the Hardcore Gamer / Innovator segment), as the market begins to emerge. Continue reading “Consumer Virtual Reality market worth $5.2bn by 2018” »

Consumer Virtual Reality – State of the Market report

The Consumer Virtual Reality sector is gaining momentum and 2014 will be the year we see the first devices made available to the public. Of course, VR is a technology that has been around for a little while but more within the enterprise and military sectors. With gaming companies looking for the next competitive edge and other newer companies raising funding to open up the consumer market, expect a lot of activity in the Consumer Virtual Reality Device sector this year.

And it’s not just the devices (hardware) that will enter the market. An emerging ecosystem of supporting companies – game developers, body/motion tracking start-ups and last but not least players will be diving into the consumer VR space.

We’re been hard at work for a while now gathering our thoughts and insight into consumer VR and our new report: Consumer Virtual Reality – the State of the Market is now available to order.

The report is aimed at C-level execs, marketers and IP owners looking to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the consumer virtual reality market and lays-out the key fundamentals of the space.

The report contains the following sections: Continue reading “Consumer Virtual Reality – State of the Market report” »

See me, be me. The future of Lifelogging.

This is a post about how Lifelogging will revolutionise the real-time sharing of information.

Related posts:

Seeing through Google Goggles

Blogging, microblogging, lifelogging. Evolution?

Laying the foundations of Lifelogging

Increasingly we use technology to tell people where we are and what we’re going. ‘Back in the day’ this used to be a phone call to a loved one letting them know we arrived safely somewhere, or a call to someone telling about what we’re up to. Mobile, email and SMS then became the easier way of asynchronously performing this action. The important point to make here is that the action of letting someone know what we’re doing and where we are was a one-to-one action.

The advent of microblogging, social networks and more recently geo-checkins facilitated this action but on a slightly different basis, a one-to-many basis. Social networking (as a catch-all) has created a movement of telling many people (our friends, fans and followers) what we’re up to. This asynchronous action currently takes the form of words (tweets and comments) and pictures (uploaded images and in some cases video).

But the game is changing with the advent of Google Goggles and the expected growth of related Lifelogging devices. Here’s the check-list:

  • Wearable devices (glasses for now, contact lenses in the future)
  • Built-in camera capable of recording still imagery and video
  • Microphone for recording sound
  • GPS
  • Broadcast and receive capabilities (Wifi, cellular)

These are the primary tools to facilitate Lifelogging and in combination will allow us to record and real-time broadcast what we’re doing, seeing, saying and hearing. This is the device and product that will totally revolutionise social networking, ‘status updates’ and everything related to how we choose to share and disseminate personal information.

What this is leading to is the ability to share real-time experiences with our friends, family and colleagues and allow them to see and hear your view (accessed on-screen via browser, smartphone etc).

This means the ability to broadcast home to your family to show them what you’re up to.

Or being able to attend a presentation and have your team back in the office experiencing the remote ‘front-seat’ of the auditorium.

Or allowing your friends to share the excitement of the big game that only you managed to get tickets for. You can bring them virtually into the stadium.

And the list goes on. In essence, anything you think someone would be interested in experiencing, as you’re experiencing it, is enabled by Lifelogging.

But let’s ramp this up a notch and look at the commercial aspects of Lifelogging and here’s where it gets really interesting…

Celebrities have embraced both Twitter and Facebook with top-tier celebs having millions of fans and followers eagerly awaiting their next update.

Bringing Lifelogging into this relationship you have a potent cocktail. Imagine being able to experience the life of your famous sportsman or rockstar as they live it. This is a shift from ‘following’ to ‘being’.

For example, putting yourself in the shoes of Roger Federer as he’s playing in the French Open final. Experiencing him toss the ball for the serve, attack the net with a volley and soak up the applause as he slides a back-hand down the line. Pretty engaging stuff.

Or what about joining Jay Z on stage at Madison Square Garden. Seeing the mic in front of you and experiencing the crowd singing back to you.

These are experiences way way beyond watching a Youtube video or reading a tweet. And sure, it’s not the same as actually being at a venue watching a celebrity as a spectator but at the same time it’s a completely different and totally unique way to experience something.

So, the commercials.

Shared real-time experiences will become virtual goods, allowing fans and followers to purchase access-driven digital assets in the form of broadcasted ‘virtual being’. How much would you pay to get a ticket to the French Open final? $200. Maybe more. How much to be Roger Federer in the final? Well, that’s the big question but let’s factor this down by 10x to $20. I think that’s not an unrealistic figure. Then multiply $20 by the number of Roger Federer fans. That’s a big number. And it’s also an entirely new market just about to be created.

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Seeing through Google Goggles

In December 2oo9 Google announced Google Goggles, an Android app that allowed visual search from a smartphone. In essence this tied together geo-location and ‘light’ image recognition to identify landmarks (for example) or alternatively read a barcode. As Google usually does, Google Goggles was marked as a ‘Labs’ product meaning work in progress. Here’s a video explaining this launch relating to the app expansion over to the iPhone.

…And people got very excited, primarily due to the reference to this app being Google’s first foray into Augmented Reality. Putting two and two together, analysts and commentators were keen to point that that this was a natural move for Google because this type of app or device would allow the layering of local, geo-fed data into a real-time view.

More recently (last week in fact) Google ramped up the Goggle PR machine. CEO Larry Page wore the next evolution of the smartphone app, namely a pair of glasses during his speech at the annual Google Zeitgeist event in London. This new wearable version of Goggle is code-named Project Glasses and comes with GPS and a camera. And here’s a video of that.

And then Google went a step further and pushed out a video of Project Glasses recording video.  Which of course is making people slightly more excited.

BUT!

This post isn’t an exploration of the application of AR. Instead, it’s an exploration into what Google could actually be planning longer term with a Google Goggles type application. And rest assured it’s not about delivering contextual advertising. It’s about Life-Logging.

Let’s start by taking a look at the Metaverse Roadmap to see how Life-Logging (and AR) fit into the ‘bigger picture’. Here at KZero towers you know we’re all about virtual worlds but we’re also all about how virtual worlds fit into a longer term and wider architecture. The Metaverse Roadmap framework does a brilliant job at presenting this picture.

Virtual worlds, as shown in the diagram are ‘Intimate Simulations’, meaning you experience a virtual world usually on your own in a private setting (i.e. via a lap/desk top) and what you experience is a Simulated (i.e. created) environment. And hey, 1.7bn cumulative registered accounts ain’t bad so clearly people love spending time in virtual worlds.

Mirror worlds are the sisters to virtual worlds and whilst still being Simulations, they are External as opposed to Intimate, meaning they reflect (or mirror) the real-world – they’re based on real-world places. Tourism and time-travel are two interesting uses for mirror worlds.

Let’s get more to the point.

Augmented Reality fits into the Metaverse Roadmap as being the polar opposite to virtual worlds. The experience is External as opposed to Intimate. Meaning you use AR away from the ‘desktop’ and on the streets, so to speak. And rather than being a simulated environment, the experience is one of Augmentation, i.e. data (information) is added to (augmented) into your field of view. Pretty cool and of course set to be a multi-billion Dollar industry pretty soon.

And leaves us with Lifelogging. This is the sector that to date has garnered virtually zero coverage. This is the segment which I believe is THE long term play for Google, with Google Goggles, or Project Glasses, or whatever you want to call it, being front and centre of the strategy. Continue reading “Seeing through Google Goggles” »

Blogging, Microblogging, Lifelogging. Evolution?

In the first KZero post on Lifelogging, I indicated that in a way Lifelogging was a natural evolution of how we publish ‘personal information’.

The argument used is the first real mainstream form of persona data capture was (and is) blogging. People sitting down at their computer and writing a blog post (text and image based). From here came microblogging (Twitter). Short, near instant, short message text updates (with links of course). So, as this theory goes, Lifelogging is the next evolution of personal data publishing.

The pivotal aspect that drives the evolution theory is ‘Ease’. Ease of publishing .Blogging takes time. You think of a topic, sit down, write it, format the post and publish it. Microblogging is easier, simply because the message is shorter. So, using this argument, Lifelogging is an evolution using ease as the metric because you don’t think about what you’re publishing or capturing – you just do it (live your life) and it’s recorded.

However, there’s a second axis or consideration to take into account – the level of information captured or recorded. This is shown in the diagram right. As indicated, factoring ease and amount of data capture/creation shows it’s not strictly speaking an evolution.

As shown, ranking these three types of personal data on an ease basis has Lifelogging easiest, then microblogging and blogging. Whereas, on an ‘amount’ of data captured/created basis the order differs, with microblogging having the lowest amount of data, then blogging and then Lifelogging.

And, it’s the amount of data captured by Lifelogging and how we access it which will be a focus on upcoming KZero posts. Recording our lives is the easy part. How we interact and manage our data, well, that’s a whole other story.

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Laying out the foundations of Lifelogging

This is KZero entry number one about Lifelogging – and will definitely not be the last.

 

Over recent weeks I’ve noticed a surge in tweets and media articles about this concept and it’s one that’s been on our radar for a while. Time to start peeling back the layers and examining what Lifelogging is and how it will impact our lives in the future.

 

Lifelogging is essentially using technology to capture, record and store our lives, as we live them. These means the people we meet (what we see), the things we say and listen to (what we hear) and the places we visit (where we go). So far so good. Think of Lifelogging as a digital personal diary, without having to write it.

 

Pulling Lifelogging back to existing technologies and applications, in a straight-forward sense it’s simply the next evolution of ‘personal information’. First we had blogging, then micro-blogging (a la Twitter) and next up Lifelogging. The key difference here though is that ‘information’ captured by Lifelogging may not always neccessarily be published…..I’ll come back to this point in a later post.

 

So how is information captured?

This is the easy part (storage and access is for another time). It’s video cameras (for what we see), microphones (for what we say and hear) and mobile devices (for where we are). And it’s already happening. Here’s a link to a recent Business Week article on Lifelogging. And here’s the video…

 

So as a concept, Lifelogging as shown in the video, is a pretty straightforward idea. But, with most good ideas, it’s the applications and uses that are facilitated by the concept that creates the value.

But why, I hear you ask is Lifelogging being written about on the KZero blog. It’s not related to Virtual Worlds. Well, at least not at first thought. Pulling Augmented Reality into the discussion helps to position Lifelogging. AR is about using mobile devices to ‘add’ digital content into our personal experience. Inversely, Lifelogging is the inverse – it’s about using devices (a combination of mobile and recording) to ‘extract’ information – to record and store it. And that’s why Lifelogging is important in the content of the Immersive Internet.

That’s the initial overview done with. Welcome to Lifelogging. Time to move onto the juice…….