Tech Mahindra seeks to help sport’s adjustment to the ‘new normal’

Indian IT services group Tech Mahindra has said it is engaged in some “interesting conversations” with potential customers as it seeks to use its technology expertise to aid sports organisations seeking to adjust amid COVID-19.

Earlier this month, Tech Mahindra, which is a subsidiary of the Mahindra Group conglomerate, teamed up with Canadian sports startup ChampTrax Technologies to create a stadium-like experience at home for sports fans.

As part of the link-up, Tech Mahindra and ChampTrax will provide a solution that will seek to elevate engagement for both fans and players by using digital and virtual technologies.

The two companies will also work on 5G-related use cases for introducing holographic virtual fans to the stadium. Tech Mahindra will support ChampTrax to reach wider markets and audiences for its HearMeCheer solution, which aggregates ‘crowd noise’ from at-home spectators in real time.

“We are focusing on solution development on multiple use cases enabled by 5G, analytics, and digital as part of our Fan Engagement Solution,” Jagdish Mitra, chief strategy officer and head of growth at Tech Mahindra, told TheStadiumBusiness.

“HearMeCheer is one of the use cases for overall fan engagement. We are building some exciting solutions for in stadium and out stadium engagement with fans in a phygital manner. Our solutions and tech enablement will help sports clubs to have more reliance on digital revenue streams.

“Our solution and use cases will definitely help sports leagues across the globe to build safe and conversational experiences with global fans.”

HearMeCheer combines audio through proprietary algorithms that weigh each household and enable users to yell loudly and not overpower the audio stream. As the audience watches a game with the web app, it automatically sends microphone data that aggregates these sounds to create a single audio stream effect of a unified crowd that can be integrated into real-time broadcasts.

In terms of how 5G can be harnessed to boost the fan experience for sports events held behind closed doors, Mitra said: “We are investing heavily in 5G to lead across industry use cases, especially for sports.

“Our rich telco legacy is helping us in a big way to work on some of the use cases – creating an immersive experience at home or at the stadium, making hologram calls and creating virtual fan presence at the stadium. We have some interesting conversations going on with potential customers and we know the future is exciting for sports tech.”

Mitra said Tech Mahindra has a complete suite of use cases and solutions to help sports clubs adjust to the ‘new normal’ of life during COVID-19. He continued: “We divide our overall solution into three phases.

“These are ‘Now’ (up to three months), involving work from home and back to work for employees and fans, to be planned and monitored. ‘Next’ (six to nine months) involves a process and technology roadmap to enable closed door matches. ‘Beyond’ (nine-plus months) focuses on how to conduct matchdays in the post-COVID world.

“We are also in discussion with various sports properties on socially distant stadium design leveraging our state-of-the-art physical design house, Pininfarina.”

Mitra said Tech Mahindra’s offerings are getting a “good market response”. He added: “While our COVID solutions and HearMeCheer can get implemented in three to four weeks, complex solutions like 5G will take more time.”