Augmented reality may be taking the next giant step forward with CrowdOptic, an app that will provide a graphic data overlay for live events. If you are at a concert (with the system in place), point the app at the stage and you'll get details like those in the picture above. Point it at a player in a sporting event, and real-time statistics about the player and the play will be displayed. In fact, point it at anything at a live event and take a picture; the details and context will be saved and can be shared through social networking sites.
Once the CrowdOptic system is installed at a concert or sports venue, the magic happens through triangulation. At least two people need to be pointing their iPhones at the same thing, at the same time, and the GPS location, compass direction and time of day will be used to figure out the most likely image being viewed and display information on exactly that. The accuracy is dependent upon how many people are looking at the same thing.
CrowdOptic has raised US$1 million to build the business and negotiate deals with professional sports and premier event concerns. Apps similar to this that work by focusing on static objects are in development, but according to CEO Jon Fisher, as reported to vatornews, "No technology can affect the pictures of these moving objects until now."
As noted by Fast Company, CrowdOptic is aiming at concert, sporting and other live event promoters and advertisers who will pay dearly to display real-time information. CrowdOptic has already made a deal with a major (but undisclosed) sports management agency to use its services. Another deal was struck with Moon Express, a privately funded lunar transportation company which used it to track and tag altitude information for the April 9th launch of the Eureka Airship, proving that any moving object can be tracked. CrowdOptic intends to beta test the app at the Women's Tennis Association Tournament this summer.
The service is being targeted as providing profitable analytics to promoters and marketers. CrowdOptic boasts that through tagging and photo-sharing pictures with hidden metadata embedded in each shot, campaigns originating with fans can provide a "social graph" of live events and how they went viral. Venues can display ticket discounts, along with merchandise and concession promotions. Sponsors can also display offers, such as free trials and test drives.
This seems like a win-win for everyone involved. It's reasonable to assume the CrowdOptic app will be free to users, with the venues or organizers footing the bill. This looks like it will offer a valuable service for the user while harvesting useful and profitable data to the paying concerns. Keep your eye on this one.