Enhancing the Viewing Experience at Sporting Events! A Participatory Game Using Smartphones Tested at J-League Game

Photo: Naoki Tanaka (Nikkei Online Technology)

A virtual race on smartphones linked to Aurora Vision excites the crowd

On November 22, 2015, 25,000 fans attended a regular season J1 League game between Kawasaki Frontale and Vegalta Sendai at Kawasaki Todoroki Stadium. One hour before the start of the soccer game, the crowd started swinging their smartphones in unison. Kawasaki Frontale mascots Fronta, Warunta, and Cabrera appeared on the Aurora Vision screen at the stadium, and a virtual race between the three teams linked to the swing speed of the crowd's smartphones took place.

This was the scene of "Furu-furu Frontale GP," one of the field tests that Fujitsu, Fujitsu Laboratories, and Nifty asked the crowd at the stadium to take part in.

Spectators attending a game at the stadium are asked to install and start a dedicated app on their smartphones before entering the stadium. When a spectator who has installed the app on their smartphone passes through the entrance gate, a beacon (Note 1) installed at the side of the gate recognizes them "a spectator," enabling them to use services intended only for those who are at the stadium the day of the game. The "Furu-furu Frontale GP," mentioned above features a system in which the menu is automatically displayed only on the smartphones of spectators who have installed the dedicated app and are present at the stadium at the time when the participatory game starts, allowing them to enjoy the virtual race while watching the Aurora Vision.

Participants select one of the three teams: Fronta, Warunta, and Cabrera and compete in a race based on the speed converted from the number of times their smartphones are swung. An acceleration sensor feature in smartphones measures (Note 2) the number of times smartphones have been swung, and the results are collected by the cloud through the Internet, and then the status of each team in the race is displayed on the Aurora Vision. While checking the order of their team shown on the Aura Vision, participants can swing their smartphones even faster to enjoy the game. About 650 spectators participated in the field test that day, and the crowd at the stadium got so excited even before the soccer game started.

(Note 1) A mechanism or device for distributing information, such as IDs and other required data according to the site for conveying one's presence and location.
(Note 2) Since the number of participants varies depending on the team, the speed is calculated as the average number of times a smartphone is swung per person.

Photo: Naoki Tanaka (Nikkei Online Technology)

Smartphone screen showing the virtual race. Participants swing their smartphones fiercely while watching the Aurora Vision.

Essential services are automatically provided by determining the time, location, and circumstances of the user

In this dedicated smartphone app, a new technology developed by Fujitsu Laboratories, "Service Platform," is used, which automatically provides the most appropriate service depending on the time, location, and circumstances of the user. Using this technology, we tested the usefulness of stadium services, such as providing information corresponding to the game and participatory events linked to the Aurora Vision.

This new technology, which the dedicated app uses, can provide the most appropriate service and automatically display the menu screen of the dedicated app depending on the set time, place, and circumstances in conjunction with the system built on the cloud.

Outline Diagram of Demonstration Test System for Stadium Services

The application menu automatically changes depending on the time, place, and circumstances of the user

Services can be provided to only specific people by layering conditions for filtering

Ten people from the team that won the virtual race were selected by a drawing to receive a signed message from Yoshito Okubo, who was the star player of the game that day. The new technology, "Service Platform," is also used for the system selecting the recipients of this gift. The candidate winners were filtered from the group of people who installed the dedicated app, the group of people who went to the stadium, the group of people who entered the stadium to watch the game, the group of people who swung their smartphones, and the group of people who supported the winner team, and then the winners were selected and notified.

In ordinary events, winners often hesitate to show up and receive their gifts. This time, however, all ten people selected came to receive the gifts after the end of the game. Given the fact that many spectators enjoyed the race and that the gifts were presented to all winners, we believe both the event and field test was a success.

In addition to recognizing the time and place, the Service Platform allows the target to be narrowed down through more detailed groupings by layering conditions in this way. Since it is possible to distribute information to specific people or groups based on the unique ID assigned by the dedicated app without obtaining e-mail address and other personal information, expectations for using the platform in various scenarios, including notifying winners, are increasing.

Making smartphones more convenient by providing the best services for each person

Fujitsu developed this service platform based on the desire to make smartphones more convenient for everyone. By using the results of this field test, we will study the practical use of new services, such as notification services on various information including congestion status at stadiums, directions for entering and exiting stadiums, evacuation routes in the event of a disaster at stadiums and event sites, experience-oriented services in which visitors can participate in activities, and other services in which each person can use smartphone functions best suited to their needs. Fujitsu will also continue striving to bolster services for constructing systems that require massive data communication and large-scale data processing.