Elemental Technologies Brings WiFi Replay System to Stanford

Senior forward Josh Owens throws down a big jam. Sophomore guard Aaron Bright drills a clutch three. If you’re a Stanford Cardinal fan you likely want to see it again.

To offer a unique ability to fans attending games at Maples Pavilion, the Department of Athletics at Stanford University has partnered with Elemental Technologies, a supplier of video solutions for multiscreen content delivery, to design a WiFi instant-replay system.

Fans at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion will have access to instant replays on their WiFi-enabled mobile devices.

The technology, Elemental Live, gives fans immediate access to video/audio replay on WiFi-enabled mobile devices through a free Stanford-branded application. Stanford is one of the first intercollegiate athletic programs to bring instant replay over WiFi to its sports venues.

“One of the advantages of having Elemental Live as part of the workflow is that it’s continuously encoding the incoming live feed,” says Lisa Epstein, senior marketing manager at Elemental Technologies. “That is immediately stored on a Web server, and all that the operator needs to do is deal with metadata.”

With Elemental Live supplying adaptive-bitrate video, the system delivers game clips to fans’ mobile devices within 15 seconds of live play. Replays are accessible through the free Stanford GameDay Live! Website and are available to fans at sports events hosted at Stanford Stadium and Maples Pavilion. FanConneX created the Website and the backend programming that enables video display and other interactive features on mobile devices to enhance the in-stadium experience.

According to Epstein, one of Stanford’s key requirements in using this system is that it should not add overhead or extra staffing in what can already be a tightly packed video-control room. Elemental Live helps accommodate that need.

“As [the replay operator] is making decisions on what is going to end up on the [in-venue video] board, that same operator is also making decisions on the types of clips that can be available for the in-stadium WiFi distribution,” says Keith Wymbs, VP of marketing at Elemental Technologies.

Via Elemental Live, input from four camera sources is continuously encoded in real time to create multiple adaptive-bitrate Apple HTTP files, which are immediately stored on a local Web server. Replay clips created by operators for the main video streams in the stadium are pushed to mobile devices through function keys that pass clip metadata to the Stanford GameDay Live! Website.

“We’re able to turn over the clips so quickly because of the processing power that we have in our solution,” says Wymbs.

The university enlisted the help of AT&T to completely revamp the WiFi infrastructure in nine of its athletic venues in preparation for launching the replay system and to prepare to battle the mobile traffic that clogs up many venues today.

The hardware deployment and low-level software integration is supported by systems integrator Diversified Systems, an Elemental partner.

Wymbs sees WiFi replay distribution as a growing trend in athletic venues, and his company is looking to capitalize. Elemental partnered with Birdsall Interactive, an Oakland, CA-based interactive-Web-design firm that has an application called FanConnex, in an effort to replicate the Stanford model elsewhere, including in some professional arenas.

“The WiFi access in most major stadiums is going through an upgrade cycle right now,” he notes, adding, “This is the perfect application to ride on the back of that.”

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