eStadium app brings replays, chat features to smartphones

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Washington, Nov 7 (ANI): Watching a match live from the stands might be an exciting experience, but it does not allow you to have instant replays, or share opinions about the game with friends.

But now, a new smartphone application can provide you just that and more to make watching an athletic event in the stadium a wholesome experience.

Professor Ed Coyle, director of the Arbutus Center for the Integration of Research and Education, is unveiling a new application that allows fans sitting in the stands of an athletic event to access video replays, up-to-the-second statistics, player bios, play-by-play analysis and a wealth of other information designed to enhance the thrill of the game.

Dubbed "eStadium," the application first began as a project in 2001 when Coyle was on the faculty at Purdue University and Personal Digital Assistants (PDA), the precursor to the contemporary smartphone, were still a rare breed at the time and the potential for usage was limited.

But, with the inundation of smartphones like iPhones, Blackberrys and other intelligent devices, eStadium comes at the right time for people hungry for details about the game they're viewing from the stands.

The researchers are aiming to go live with the Georgia Tech eStadium at the Wake Forest University-Tech football game on November 7.

"Even if you're in the stands, sometimes you can't figure out what just happened. This allows you to look at a play as many times as you want," said Coyle.

In addition to the background information and video access, Coyle strongly hints that such future features as user commentary and social networking will allow users to post their thoughts and even find fellow fans in the stands, including former classmates.

"We can develop anything anyone asks us to develop," he said.

The eStadium project has evolved into a joint project with Purdue and is supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant along with a gift from Texas Instruments.

Purdue's version of the eStadium has been live since 2003, but Georgia Tech's app, is believed to be a far snazzier and detailed presentation.

"This is our phase-one deployment. Phase two will include more wireless (access) in the stadium and a sensor network that will be able to monitor lines at concession stands and outside restrooms," said Coyle.

Coyle recruited a group of 28 students to help complete the project. Four of these students have been in the announcer's booth during games compiling video, statistics and other information for the mobile site.

However, access is restricted in certain ways-only those present in the stadium can view video, and 3G networks could possibly get bogged down when many fans clamor for a connection.

Plans are under way to add Wi-Fi capabilities and employ 4G networks to ensure the experience is smooth.

"You need a code to watch video, and that will be shared with the people in the stadium," Coyle said.

eStadium will be live for both the November 7 game and the highly anticipated University of Georgia game on November 28.

"Eventually, we should be able to do something like this for any sporting event. Each sport has its own pace, so we'll try to customize it for each," said Coyle.

Once live, the site will be accessible from any Internet-enabled device, but the eStadium team is also tailoring it for one of today's most popular devices, like the iPhone. (ANI)

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