Durham's SportsMedia expands to London, promises new unmanned camera tech

DURHAM, N.C. — SportsMedia Technology, the Durham-based firm that offers an ever-increasing number of ways to turn sporting events from Wimbledon to the Super Bowl into tech showcases, is expanding to London. The company also is promising a new technology to offer computerized control of cameras at events.

Better known as SMT, the firm on Monday said it will be staffing up with as many as 20 full-time people at the London operation.

SMT announced the expansion and forthcoming technology just in time for the Wimbledon tennis tournament, where SMT technology is used for replays, live statistics and graphics for coverage and more.

SMT also is prepping the launch of a new service called "Eden," which the company says will allow broadcasters to control cameras at events without human operators. Eden has been under development for some 30 months, according to the company.

“Opening this office in the U.K. represents a vital and exciting step in fulfilling SMT’s broader global expansion strategy,” said SMT founder and CEO Gerard Hall in the expansion announcement. “For years, SMT’s European-based clients have shown keen interest in having direct access to SMT’s products and services from within the convenience of their own geography. SMT London will allow SMT to work in much closer proximity to our European clients as we continue to develop ways to enhance, refine, and improve the overall viewing experience offered to European sports broadcast consumers.”

Here's how the company described "Eden:"

"SMT’s Eden technology will provide TV broadcasters with a reliable option for covering full broadcast sports action using only unmanned camera positions. SMT’ Eden platform uses SMT’s state-of-the-art computer-vision engine and computer-decision algorithms to intelligently control camera and lens servos to automatically track and capture all relevant sports action without the need for dedicated camera operators."

SMT technology recently was used during the NHL Stanley Cup finals and horse racing's Triple Crown. It's also used at NBA, PGA, NASCAR, the Masters and other events.

The company says its products can:

"track any sports entity in real time, including tracking ball position and player position

"assist officials with line calling

"provide officials with tools needed to efficiently and effectively review video to make official rulings"

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