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“Mixed Reality is a blend of physical and digital worlds, unlocking the links between human, computer, and environment interaction. This new reality is based on advancements in computer vision, graphical processing power, display technology, and input systems”, according to Microsoft. Mixed Reality has gone beyond displays to include: environmental input, spatial sound, locations and positioning in both real and virtual spaces.

Main types of devices are holographic devices (characterized by the device's ability to place digital content in the real world as if it were there) and immersive devices (characterized by the device's ability to create a sense of "presence"--hiding the physical world, and replacing it with a digital experience). 

Mixed reality, merging of real and virtual world to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time, represent a massive potential for the sports industry. It does not exclusively take place in either the physical or virtual world, but is a hybrid of reality and virtual reality, encompassing both augmented reality and augmented virtuality via immersive technology.

Brands can develop unique experiences: what if, thanks to a sponsor you were able to meet Messi in your house, in real time, as if he were next to you? For media, what if you were able to interview anyone, anywhere (almost) and make it feel like the guest was on the studio? More crazy, what if one day you could experience the FIFA World Cup Final or Olympics 100m race in an other stadium, thanks to a hologram technology making that it would be the same as being in the real event stadium? 

We are there already in some cases. For media broadcasting, it started in 2018 when TUDN, and Europsport tested the solution. In the case of Europsport, it started with the 2018 Winter Olympics, and the Cube.  Eurosport used augmented reality (AR) and enhanced graphics to provide analysis of sporting action.

Eurosport scaled the mixed-reality solution with the cube (4x4) studio for current tennis US Open. Barbara Schett anchors coverage from the Eurosport Cube in London throughout the two weeks of the tournament with Mats Wilander providing expert analysis with the new technology.  Barbara Schett was able to conduct a post-match interview with No.1 seed Karolina Pliskova following her win over Anhelina Kalinina.

With appearances from analysts Boris Becker and Justine Henin in the studio even though they're in Munich and Paris respectively, we could be looking at the future and it will be interesting to see if other broadcasters follow suit and utilise similar technology for sports such as football.

Andrew Georgiou, president, Eurosport and global sports rights & sports marketing solutions said: "The award-winning Eurosport Cube was the hit of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, winning praise from sports fans for its game changing analysis and lauded by the industry for redefining the Olympics viewing experience. 

"We subsequently worked hard to take it to the next level and integrate the latest technology with a plan to bring the Eurosport Cube 2.0 to Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. "With the Games re-scheduled to next year but the experience ready to go, there really is no better arena than Grand Slam tennis to see the return of the Eurosport Cube. "We will not unveil all the bells and whistles straight away as we will keep a few elements up our sleeves for Discovery's coverage next summer that will feature every minute of the Games and analysis a multitude of sports. 

"As we look to the US Open, we believe the Eurosport Cube can transform how fans connect with tennis and the players, bringing to life technical nuances and the reasons matches are won or lost in a way that's never been seen before in the tennis."

Mixed reality, something to think of ?

Feel free to share with me your comments ( arnaud.drijard@sis.news or twitter @sis) 

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