WHITEFISH, MT / August 19, 2014 / If you follow sports, you have seen that sports teams are gathering data
about how their athletes move, how far they run, what positions they
gravitate toward, how their body responds to stress, etc. The data can
be gathered by cameras and software, as is the case with the National
Basketball Association’s SportVU system. Or it can be gathered by
wearables, sensors that transmit information from the athletes’ bodies
to receivers that record the data, as is the case with Major League
Soccer’s agreement with Adidas AG (OTC: ADDYY). According to an article in USA Today,
the National Football League is having all players wear two sensors for
the first time this year, a step that was written into the
collective-bargaining agreement in 2011. The league is partnering with
Zebra Technologies (NASDAQ: ZBRA) and will install receivers in 17
stadiums this year, on the way to covering every game in every stadium.
There is a lot to be learned, and teams apply the knowledge to optimize
training schedules, create the most effective game plans and make sound
financial decisions based on performance.
Along these lines, a recent article
in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, titled "The quantified
All-Star: How wearable tech is changing the way pro sports are played,
paid for and watched", discussed many aspects of this trend. One angle
is how the proliferation of personalized information could change the
way sports are broadcast, and how a company from Ohio named The
Guitammer Company (OTC: GTMM) looks to be right in the middle of this
new, personalized era of broadcasting.
The article outlines a nascent partnership between Guitammer, the
National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks, and Comcast SportsNet.
Utilizing Guitammer’s tactile broadcast technology, Comcast SportsNet
plans to televise Sharks games in "4-D". The system transmits haptic or
tactile information to viewers at home, allowing them to ‘feel’ the
action when a hockey player smashes another into the boards.
As Dave Koppett, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area Senior Executive Producer,
put it, “When a big hit happens and a guy smashes into the boards, you
will feel it. Imagine each player wearing a chip in the shoulder pads.”
To take that thought a step or two further, imagine being able to view
and experience a live hockey game from your favorite player’s point of
view, and paying for the privilege of that virtual experience. This is
similar to the INDYCAR 14 mobile app currently offered by Verizon
Communications (NYSE: VZ), which gives subscribers choices of a variety
of in-car cameras, live driver-pit crew chatter and behind the scenes
Comcast SportsNet is a chain of regional sports networks that are owned
and operated by Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA), which also owns
NBCUniversal. With an extensive presence throughout the United States,
Comcast SportsNet encompasses a variety of live sporting events, ranging
from Major League Baseball to NCAA sports. NBC broadcasts the NHL
nationally and also shows NFL games. That is some pretty big company for
Guitammer to be keeping, but it makes sense once you dig around a
Unique Broadcast Technology
Guitammer began developing its broadcast technology in 2007, which is
designed to encode live broadcasts with haptic-tactile signals. In 2011,
the company secured U.S. Patent 7,911,328
for the "Capture and remote reproduction of haptic events in
synchronous association with the video and audio capture and
reproduction of these events" and began marketing the technology.
Management has been very active in pioneering the standards for tactile
broadcast technologies as well. Guitammer’s CEO Mark Luden chairs a
Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers ("SMPTE") group
focused on creating a standard for haptic-tactile broadcasting. The goal
is to avoid having an HDD / BluRay or a VHS / Beta type of conflict
with competing technologies confusing the market. This past June, in
Tokyo, a member of SMPTE’s staff regarding Guitammer’s efforts in
haptic-tactile broadcasting interviewed Luden:If the video below does not display, please follow this link to the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0sIAwgrAog#action=share
Guitammer plans on commercializing the broadcast technology using a
recurring revenue model that’s beneficial to cable, satellite, and FiOS
broadcasters, as well as content creators, distributors, and end users
regardless of the brand of haptic-tactile hardware they decide to use.
Moreover, the company could also license its "ButtKicker" brand of
haptic-tactile home hardware technology to hardware manufacturers
looking to take advantage of the enhanced broadcasts.
from the April 2014 National Cable & Telecommunications Association
Cable Show Luden highlights this technology’s potential benefits to the
entire broadcast ecosystem and explains how tactile broadcasts are the
natural next step after UltraHD.
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NHRA Proof of Concept
In the fall of 2013, Guitammer tactile enabled the National Hot Rod Association (“NHRA”) races on ESPN2.
You can see an overview of Guitammer’s broadcast technology and how it was implemented for NHRA broadcasts here:
If the video below does not display, please follow this link to the YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ3lPbtDt5E#action=share
Guitammer stands at a key tipping point within its corporate history,
pivoting from the hardware business to the broader reach and greater
financial potential of the broadcast technology. By moving from a niche
sport like the NHRA to mainstream sports like professional hockey or
football, Guitammer could see a dramatic increase in awareness and
demand for tactile technologies. The long-term implications could be
significant for the company, with licensing opportunities from
broadcasters, sports leagues and larger consumer electronics hardware
manufacturers, all helping the company transition to a recurring revenue
model. This modest $4 million micro-cap company may be worth following
along its journey to live sports, broadcast in "4D".
For more information see the following resources:
- Company Website
- OTC Markets Profile
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subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual
results to differ materially from any future results, performance or
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SOURCE: Emerging Growth LLC
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