Holotennis, the future of sport where virtual and augmented reality meet

Unveiled during the 2017 Roland-Garros French Open, Holotennis is back for another year and it’s even better than before. It’s game, set, match with virtual reality for players and augmented reality for spectators.

Holotennis: virtual reality for players, augmented reality for spectators.

Tennis takes on a whole new dimension with Holotennis by allowing players to face each other remotely in a virtual space while other people watch the match while it’s broadcasted through an augmented reality device.

Hologram duel

Developed in partnership with the start-ups Emissive and Mimesys, the solution provides an immersive experience with two people equipped with VR headsets (HTC Live) being thrust onto Centre Court. Filmed by a 3D Kinect-style camera that captures and reproduces the live 3D video stream within the virtual space, players can see and face their holographic opponents despite them being, in reality, a great distance from each other. This year’s beefed-up experience has seen improvements to the gaming experience including rethinking the ball’s trajectory for a game that comes even closer to simulating real tennis. What’s more, a system for recording and retrieving statistical data has also been added to enable players to analyse their game.

However, the great innovation in Holotennis 2018 lies in its augmented reality broadcast device, a world first that heralds new ways of watching sport.

AR for experiencing sport

Mathieu Ducrot, Head of Apps & Connected Ecosystems Anticipation for Orange pitches the new Augmented Reality (AR) device: “At the Orange stand, a table with a printed tennis court is set up. Using tablets, visitors will be able to view the game, with the hologram of the two players, in real time and in miniature on the table. They’ll be free to move around this mini-court and choose their viewpoint all the while bringing up the live match stats for the game in play, should they wish to do so. This world first in AR-style broadcasting enables spectators to experience the sporting event as if they were watching from the stands when in actual fact they could be absolutely anywhere. In the not-too-distant future, it’ll be possible to see major sporting events remotely and in life-size scale in stadiums, on pitches, in arenas, etc. Eventually you won’t even need a terminal: with augmented reality glasses, users won’t need to carry a tablet around with them anymore and the experience will be just as immersive for spectators and players alike.”

Beyond virtual and augmented reality technologies and their upgrades, this small revolution in the world of sport hints at what the immersive communication services of tomorrow will be and showcases the performance of the Orange fibre network in terms of latency. This type of app requires virtually zero latency or very low levels of it, and with the advent of 5G, the experience will be even more successful and capable of being enjoyed while on the move.

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