English Football Introduces 360 Degree Camera

By Kelly Gerrish

Technology just keeps finding new ways to wow us, and the beautiful game is no different.

Charlton Athletic FC have unveiled a revolutionary new way for fans to watch highlights of their matches. And with two of their fans working for us, this is something we’re very interested in.

An equaliser for the Addicks during a recent match against Fulham has hit the headlines due to the revolutionary replays available through Charlton’s new 360 degree camera.

Rather than watch the goal back in the standard TV camera angles, Charlton have given fans the option to watch the goal however you like.

Okay, so it’s not perfect, as the camera is in a fixed position behind the goal, but you can follow all of the action from every angle – or even watch the crowd celebrate.

With the camera being compatible with mobile and tablet devices, Charlton hope it will replicate the authenticity of the live match experience for those who are unable to watch the game in person. Kind of like your very own virtual reality.

The South London side claim the camera is the first of its kind to be used in football with club officials confident it will change the way football is viewed.

Admittedly it’s strange to see Charlton, currently languishing in the bottom half of England’s second tier, pioneering something that could change the way we digest football on an international level, but there’s no doubting it has potential. And if it becomes commonplace in football, could it be introduced into other activities like gigs and festivals? Watch this space …

Looking Back to the Future

By Kelly Gerrish

Great Scott! It’s finally here – 21 October 2015, otherwise known as Back to the Future Day. bttfdWhy today? Well, it’s all in the script.

In Back to the Future Part II, hero Marty McFly travels from his present-day 1985 to 30 years in the future – October 21, 2015 – to prevent his children from making decisions that would jeopardise his family.

It’s a day that movie fans have been waiting for since the film’s release in 1989. As a huge Back to the Future fan, I have been waiting for this day for my entire life.

And unlike the many internet memes over the years, this time, the date on the calendar really will match that on the dashboard of Doc Brown’s DeLorean.

As we find ourselves on the exact day the film envisioned, just how much did Back to the Future get right? And what was too far-fetched even for 2015?

Wearable technology
The hi-tech specs Marty sports at the breakfast table look eerily like an early version of the Google Glass computerised eye-wear. Production ceased at the beginning of the year, but Google says it is still committed to bringing smart glasses to the consumer market at some point.

Wearable technology

Video calls
Marty McFly video-conferencing with a colleague looks a lot like FaceTime or Skype. Who’d have guessed it would become an everyday essential, not just the business enabler imagined by the film.

Video calls

Microwave meals
This dehydrated pizza could be seen as an early version of the microwave ready meal. In the film after 12 seconds on the ‘hydrator plate’, it grew into a meal-sized dish.

Microwave meals

Flying cars
We may have electric cars but we’re still a little while away from ones that fly. Just think what a flying car could do for the rush-hour commute. But for now, where we’re going, we still need roads.

Flying cars

Hoverboards
While hoverboards aren’t yet clogging up the skies Hendo Hover are hoping to bring them to the mass market with support from skateboarding legend Tony Hawk. The technology is not yet ready for retail but uses magnetic fields to let users literally ride on air.

Hoverboards

Power clothing
Jackets that dry themselves would certainly be useful in the UK climate but alas, it wasn’t to be. Self lacing trainers may not be too far away though – a Nike executive has confirmed a trainer with Power Laces will hit the shelves later this year.

Power clothing

What does England’s early exit from the Rugby World Cup mean for brands?

By Kelly Gerrish

It’s not just fans who are disappointed with England’s early exit from the Rugby World Cup after just three games. Brands and sponsors will be feeling the impact of the country’s failure to progress past the group stages too.

Brands such as O2 and Samsung have deployed very England-centric campaigns to coincide with the tournament.

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O2 has pushed fans to ‘make them giants’ by wearing the rose in support, going as far as changing its logo on storefronts to a rose. With England’s unceremonious exit, that message is already out of sync with the nation’s mood. Despite this, O2 has promised to carry on the campaign through 2016, but you would have to question the impact the big budget campaign will now have.

FMCG brands will certainly take a hit, as Brits will naturally be buying a lot less beer now England are out. Neutral rugby fans will also be less inclined to watch games in pubs, hitting tournament sponsor Heineken hard.

Heineken and other brands have downplayed the expected commercial losses, but sponsorship experts believe the humiliation of the defeat bears a damaging cost of association.

The World Cup will generate £1bn of direct economic impact, £2.5bn indirect, according to the Rugby World Cup’s rights owners World Rugby. The biggest loss in value will be felt across advertising revenue. ITV is reportedly set to lose almost a million (£943,820) per game now England are out.

Brands who are global tournament sponsors rather than England team sponsors will be protected against an immediate end to their marketing plans, but the ‘value’ will always be diminished when England are out of the competition.

On the plus side, with the domestic UK TV audience being made up of England, Wales and Scotland, it could have been worse if all three were out.

So could the manner of England’s failure damage rugby’s legacy for sponsors? Possibly. It will certainly be harder to justify the branded legacy activity the UK saw after its successful performance at the London Olympics. Sponsors may now be hesitant to invest heavily in rugby as there won’t be the same momentum going into 2016 and the Six Nations. Seems it’s not just the fans who may feel the latest effects of disappointment.