Written by Yvette Kanouff, Senior Vice President and General Manager (Service Provider Video Software & Solutions Group)
We interrupt the 2014 IBC convention with this 10-point bonus question: What do the Olympics, World Cup, and the Commonwealth Games have in common?
Hints: It’s a two-part answer. Both big topics at IBC, and everywhere else; one of them is a word simultaneously associated with both weather and software; it rhymes with “plowed.” The other gives new meaning to “better than your eyes can see.”
One is the cloud, of course, and the other is 4K/UltraHD video. Both showed up strongly at this year’s big sports tickets around the world.
Starting with the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, where we dispatched to NBC most of our Videoscape suite of next-generation IP video components — from signal acquisition to media distribution and client software, serving both set-top boxes and HTML-5-based devices. Essentially, we sent over everything from contribution video products to the end screens, with a lot in between.
One thing was different this year — our 8th consecutive season as a partner to NBC for the Olympics — and that was the shift to the cloud, of vital elements, like transcoding. That way, video streams could be “right sized” to run on what is a wide array of screen types.
Two very short months later, another hot technology — 4K/UltraHD — made its debut at the World Cup, in Brazil. With TV Globo, a leading television network operator there, and one of the world’s largest content producers, we expanded what is already an enduring partnership, to create a proof-of-concept “Future of Video” demonstration.
It added an extra level of “cool”, if that’s possible, to the world’s largest sporting event. Picture a wall-sized screen, displaying live statistics about the matches, as they occurred, for instance — while also being able to see the game – and from multiple angles. We enabled viewers to see three additional camera angles every time a goal was scored, real-time. Plus, people used their tablets, laptops and smartphones as remotes to interact with the main TV, as well as to share real-time information on social media outlets.
Here’s what TV Globo’s CTO, Raymundo Barros, had to say about it: “Live sports coverage in 4K/UltraHD will change the way people think and feel about watching sports forever… seeing is believing, and there’s no turning back once you get hooked on 4K.”
Fast forward three months, to July, and the Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow. There, in addition to providing the networking infrastructure to deliver “pop-up” 100 Gbps connectivity between cities and camera locations (I think only Cisco could use pop-up and 100Gbps in the same sentence!), we worked with the BBC to equip the Glasgow Science Centre with 4K/UltraHD footage from the Games, with adaptable displays and contextual applications.
We love to work on the world’s biggest sporting events. We are passionate about the events themselves, of course. But, most of all, it makes us proud that when it comes to utilizing the latest technology to deliver TV that absolutely, positively, has to work on the night, the world’s major broadcasters turn to Cisco.
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