CrowdWave : Motion Controlled Fan Gaming
Let’s say you are at the arena watching the game, when it breaks for a TV timeout. The scoreboard entertainment comes on, in an attempt to keep you occupied for a couple of minutes, and tells you that your section is competing in a race with another section. You are instructed to wave your arms wildly, and the section that is most active will win. Your first reaction might be, “That’s bullshit, I’m not falling for that!” But its real, and may already be in your local arena.
The product is called CrowdWave, and it has launched in various arenas across the country this fall. “CrowdWave is a game entertainment platform for sponsored interactive experiences controlled by crowd movement.” We’ve recently experienced the system at the Verizon Center in Washington, where they have become one of the first arenas in the country to install it. A quick scan of the CrowdWave website indicates that Columbus, Minnesota, and Cleveland are also on board with this break through in crowd entertainment.
Our proprietary system of cameras, server and software captures and interprets fan movement to control branded big-screen experiences. Fans cooperate or compete, section versus section, level versus level, simply by moving their arms. Those movements control games and polls customized for teams and sponsors during breaks in the on-court, on-field or on-ice action.
Maybe some video will help you get the picture a bit better :
Here is what the system looked like when it made its debut at a Cleveland Cavaliers playoff game in April :
I find this system interesting for a few reasons. First, is the obvious convergence of sports and technology. Its an interesting invention and application of technology in an unexpected setting. Second, is the branded element of the system. We all know that pretty much everything at a sporting event is sponsored, and sponsors are always looking for new ways to get in front of fans, and to become part of your game day experience. Teams and arenas that have this system to offer, can now provide yet another way for advertisers to interact with the fans, and thus make some cash.
Lastly, I think this system (and other in-arena technology) is a further attempt to combat attendance declines at games, as more and more fans realize they can get a pretty damn good game-day experience sitting at home on their couch. Encouraging fan participation highlights one of the main things that fans cannot get at home, being part of a crowd that is completely engaged in the game they are watching. Of course no level of technology will change the fact that your home team sucks, and ultimately victories is what will put butts in seats.