By GREGORY ZELLER //
An isosceles triangle of innovation – stretching from Hollywood to Florida to Hauppauge – is bringing a new era of “smart lighting” to sports broadcasting.
Long Island’s own Intelligent Product Solutions, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Florida-based manufacturer Forward Industries, has collaborated with Lighticians Inc. on a project that produced what IPS called the “first [Internet of Things]-connected lighting for live sporting-event broadcasts.”
Lighticians, a Los Angeles-based 2014 startup, is a media- and entertainment-focused enterprise looking to “drive the evolution of motion-picture lighting” with an “instinctual lighting control app” (known as Juicer) and a “robust plug-and-play wireless platform” (which goes by the stage name Juice Tap).
In IPS, the creative-lighting specialist found the perfect partner to usher its dynamic lighting-control technology into the live-sports industry, allowing televised sports-broadcast producers to wirelessly manage on-air lighting from virtually anywhere.
Leveraging the Hauppauge maker’s IoT expertise, a Lighticians mobile app known as Elixir can now control the lights illuminating in-studio broadcasters and even sideline player interviews, “from any remote location,” according to IPS.
That’s a critical advantage for live-broadcast producers, who must often deal with changing lighting conditions caused by day switching to night and other real-world factors. Whereas lighting designers previously had to manually adjust fixtures and perform other on-site tasks to ensure appropriate lighting – and then likely re-adjust them, based on what producers were seeing on their screens – the Lighticians Elixir gives producers hands-on control from just about anywhere.
The IoT-enabled solution “improves the lighting quality and delivers a better viewing experience for fans,” noted Lighticians founder and CEO Tim Duff, who credited the big thinkers at IPS with creating the light at the end of this tunnel.
“IPS has been our product design partner from the start,” Duff noted. “The company’s expertise in app development and wireless product design has been crucial to the development of our sports-broadcasting products, as well as our previously released motion picture set-lighting solution.”
The IPS team’s “extensive wireless connectivity experience” was especially useful when it came to the challenge of creating remote-controlled lighting in environments like sports arenas, Duff added, which are often thick with radio-frequency interference.
“This new smart way to control and adjust the lighting for sports broadcasts can be used for any event, including baseball, football, car racing and horseracing,” the CEO said.
IPS’s solution connects the Elixir mobile app to a wireless satellite “base station” that, essentially, functions as a wireless router. The actual lighting rigs are outfitted with dongles – picture a flash-drive you plug into a USB port – that communicate directly with the base station.
The system “overcomes many of the design hurdles to develop a user-friendly software and hardware solution that makes it easier and quicker to manage the lighting for broadcasters in sports arenas,” noted IPS cofounder and President Mitch Maiman.
It was a “major challenge” to balance wireless radiofrequency links with an “attractive, usable industrial design,” according to Maiman, “all while simplifying the user experience of installation and provisioning.” But overcoming such challenges, he added, is what makes IPS the world-class problem-solver and trusted collaborator it is.
“We enjoyed bringing our holistic approach to the multidisciplinary solution,” Maiman added.
Forward Industries CEO Terry Wise, who oversaw the recent acquisition of the Hauppauge firm, said the Florida-based parent company is “very excited about the collaboration with Lighticians.”
“This is an excellent example of how Forward has enabled IPS to leverage the advantages of being part of the group to partner with companies who are developing potentially groundbreaking products,” Wise said in a statement.