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Live Virtual Reality: Changing Sports Viewership Scenario

Without worrying about parking, buying tickets, being jostled in the crowd, commuting the snarling traffic – one can now enjoy a sports game just like sitting at the stadium – but from comfort of the couch.
Having won over the gaming industry, Virtual Reality (VR) has now taken sports field by storm. Live Virtual Reality has made sports games more affordable, immersive, and enjoyable and hassle free. A 360 degree camera, VR headset and an app, all coming together to transport the viewer right into the midst of the action. And there you are, kicking the ball, almost!

VR much in its infancy, has a long road to travel, but it is already making such startling changes in sports viewing for the viewer and player. In the short altered state that the sports buff spends watching a game aided by live VR, they get transported to the scene of game, and the space element dissolves completely making it so real and so immediate.

On the flip side, the goggles that one wears shut out the distractions, which also cuts the social element attached to viewing sports. Because, traditionally our mind-set tends to sit together, laugh and cheer for our sports heroes along with our friends and family. And in certain cases, resolution of the visuals is patchy and some feel that the game becomes unnervingly close.

However, the field of Virtual Reality and Sports is emerging, and there is scope for organizations with the right ideas and the will to implement.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of things (IOT) & Automation: Transforming Lives

Three of the most startling technological advancements are transforming our lives in more ways than one. Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things are converging to impact every aspect of our lives sending out clear signals to change the way we think and operate. If liberalization and computerization was the rage just a few decades back, these technology trends of today are driving sweeping changes across industries.

Automation driven by Artificial Intelligence has replaced some of the routine tasks much more efficiently than human beings. It is ready to take up more jobs in the future forcing people to rethink their career prospects. Yes, robots are here to stay. It is evident that automation has raised standards of living, increased literacy rates, lengthened life span and reduces crime rates. Software automation is another interesting dimension which heralds new technology related jobs as well.

Internet of Things (IoT) produces hordes of data, not just volumes, but useful data that can perform a range of activities. From saving cities from disasters and crimes, creating smart homes with connected appliances, offering key medical insights to medical practitioners and enabling communication between self-driving cars the scope of IoT is burgeoning.

Retailers are also getting onto the bandwagon of these three techno shifts to increase sales and attract consumers. They are moving away from traditional brick and mortar stores to online ways of selling and e-commerce platforms.  

While these trends have been around for a while they have never been so powerful or as ubiquitous as now. Interesting dimensions and possibilities are bound to increase in the days to come and impact our lives for the better.  

Post Production for Underwater and First Person Cameras in Virtual Reality: Complex Algorithms VS Right Vendors

Apart from Virtual Reality cameras becoming high end and affording great many features, there are specialized VR waterproof action cameras that one can use underwater and return with high quality Virtual Reality footage. They shoot videos and photos in 360 degrees thus imparting an astounding sense of view. The possibilities of going underwater and hobnobbing with whales and colourful sea life is affordable now, VR has transformed significantly from being land based technological wonder to an underwater based discovery. From exploring submerged ships, caves and sea bed strewn with treasures all of this can be experienced with a VR headset.

Pro underwater stereoscopic 360 systems like the ‘VRTUL 1’ has incorporated the Blackmagic Microstudio 4K cameras to give an extensive new dimension to underwater Virtual Reality.

However, there are quite a few challenges of post-processing the output from underwater cameras, such as:

  • Unlike the output obtained through a VR gear in land, there is no proper texture reference to stitch the footage.Since everything under water is moving there is no reference point to use for overlapping or stitch binding.
  • In Stereo shots, there is a slight deviation in milliseconds on how the left and right view appears, which involves manual stitching.
  • Apart from the normal changes in VR post production, the underwater shots have an effect created by waves which adds to an additional effort in post -production.
  • Lack of sync information in the underwater VR leads to issues while stitching.

Our Head of VR production, Mr. Venugopalan says; “Manual stitching is necessary to overcome the challenges in underwater VR and SBL proves to be the right candidate in this arena. We are one of the pioneers to have undergone VR post production challenges in an early stage and have developed a steady pipeline with Nuke and CARA which enables to produce seamless output. “

So getting onto the VR bandwagon requires careful analysis of the VR ecosystem which involves scrutinizing – hardware, content, accessories, distribution channels, and the existing user base. Hence choosing the right vendor for post-production would be key to a successful VR underwater FPS product. The vendor should be able to ensure proper stitching pipeline, artefacts removal and provide quality of seamless output.

Digital Image Processing: Encapsulating Product Placement

Did you know that larger product images increase sales in online shopping?

From size, to zoom, to alignment and margins, shadows, background, colour, angles and resolution every single tiny aspect of image quality matters in an e-commerce site. Though E-commerce is burgeoning, e-commerce sites are known to grapple with image quality; and unless they get this right grabbing eyeball of consumers will remain elusive.

While we agree that high quality product pictures are integral to the success of an e-Commerce site, how do they achieve this? What is the easy method for e-Commerce sites to get this right? Is DIY possible?

Irrespective of how much an e-commerce sites spend on hiring a professional photographer with the best camera, it still needs – Digital Image Processing. Resolution revisits, color correction, lighting uniformity, background adjustments, intrusion removal and sharpness are all but a few factors when it comes to digitally correcting the images that they plan to host.

Additionally, a few other factors that they need to think about will be:

  • Do they have the resources to manage the voluminous photo portfolio?
  • Do they have the expertise in digital image processing?
  • Are the image formats compatible with the different web hosting plans?
  • Are they aware of the copyright glitches around an image?

Take the help of experts who can retouch your product images to match your requirements and appeal to your online consumers. Our team of professionals can optimize your image editing workflow and save you time and money.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): Impact on Small Area Surveying

Would you spend your effort in analysis of actionable data readily available? Or would you devote time and effort in the actual collection of data? Obviously the former, right?

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), referred as Drone is the Man Friday in this process of collecting crucial information that organizations rely on. Drone is the next big thing in surveying technology.

Especially in small area surveys such as mining, agriculture and military operations, UAVs are huge time savers, cost effective and have largely reduced the risk element involved in these fields. Organizations are saving money spent on resources and infrastructure while simultaneously garnering unique and powerful insights with the help of drones. UAVs are commonly used these days in communication, agriculture, remote sensing and transportation.

Some of the benefits of deploying drones in different industries are:

  • It reduces manual effort as it does not require a qualified operator
  • It is safe, easy to use and ideal for being on the move
  • It provides accurate results with little investment
  • It discharges high quality pictures through high end cameras and laser scanners
  • It assures safety as it does away with the human component
  • It can stay up in the air for long duration performing repetitive but precise tasks
  • It can function in fog, darkness and autonomously as well

From informing the farmer on where to spray fertilizers to assessing the extent of damage after a natural disaster, drones can be very handy. Still a nascent development, drones are certainly going to fly higher!

Virtual reality applications scoping new dimensions for Geospatial Information System

I can talk for hours on the importance of Virtual Reality for GIS but then you might have known the facts through industry experts. Just imagine how easy it becomes when you can physically inspect the elements of an area virtually through the advancements in VR. Elements can now be inspected from a First Person perspective and this enables adding head attitude tracking support, and stereo rendering. Thus the user can now explore a 3D virtual earth in first person with his mobile device.

Fresh avenues are opening up in personal, public and environmental health sectors. Be it urban planning and building smart cities, or virtual tourism and 360 degree views, or emergency preparedness of a city/county; GIS applications are trending.

Recently in the newspaper, there were two interesting news items which demonstrates how virtual reality applications in the GIS space are a boon to users.

Firstly, a mix of Virtual Reality(VR), Augmented Reality(AR) and Mixed Reality(MR) was used to facilitate the corporate real estate owners and facilities management by using Microsoft holo lens for the visualisation of maintenance workflows, the overlay of data relevant to physical objects and Building Information Modelling(BIM). This also enables the teams to work virtually without the limitations of the physical space.

Secondly, layering a proposed layer over an actual layer in real time was implemented for urban planners by integrating custom made engines with the VR headsets. This also aids for a transition from virtual reality to augmented reality, exploring even higher dimensions in the space.

As we peek into the future, the possibilities in the VRGIS space are limitless. As it enters other arenas it can afford further useful benefits. If matched well with the industries, VRGIS applications can be leveraged for healthier and safer living.

Managing Paper is Tiresome: Choosing Right Partners

Managing paper based records is one of the largest overheads for any organization, draining time, effort, resources and money. Naturally, a shift to digital records management system is what organizations are signing up for. However, this transition is never easy. Without the resources, knowledge of technology and tools, organizations are at sea. Also, there are organizations out there who have implemented the Document Management systems but don’t have a clue of utilizing them effectively.

In a nutshell, the application needs to address the pain points of an organization managing its paperwork but also take into consideration the usability pattern of the employees in the organization. It is wise to invest time and money in seeking the right partner who can holistically manage your data, electronically sake keep them for ready access and action. But before you embark on this transformational journey with a potential Records and Information (RIM) partner, it helps to address key factors such as the below.

Can your RIM partner offer the following?

  • Will they assure services that match the unique needs of your organization?
  • Will they understand how much of outsourcing you plan to do?
  • Will they support both outsourcing and in-house management?
  • Will they secure the knowledge assets of your organization ?
  • Will they be able to quickly retrieve data for you?
  • Are their processes transparent and reliable?
  • Are they able to provide a clear roadmap with milestones and timelines?
  • Are they able to convince you with client testimonials in similar industry?

Organizations that have not considered these factors have run into problems incurred losses and got entangled in legal controversies.

Choose the right partner who will assess the existing records management processes and recommend a full blown paperless program. This will allow you to focus on critical business objectives, be efficient and environmentally friendly as well.

Modelling of waste water pipe network by using Hand held Lidar scanner point cloud data

SBL was recently awarded a waste water pipe modelling project from a handheld scanner point cloud data by a global firm of 3D scanner manufacturers and retailers from the UK.


Figure 1- Input point cloud data (Isometric View)

A section of sewer pipe network and its connections (refer Figure 1 above) was modelled with the help of point cloud data from a hand-held scanner. A major challenge in the project was that the input point cloud data was provided without RGB values since the LiDAR survey was carried inside a pipe where there is no light.
SBL carried out the detailed mapping from the LiDAR point cloud data using “as is”, rule without generalizing or offsetting any feature. Cross section views were used to capture the data to the highest possible accuracy wherever changes occur in terms of shape and size.
Check out the images below which depict graphically the level of expertise and care that was taken by the team at SBL to execute the project.


Figure 2- Input point cloud and extracted pipes (Isometric View)


Figure 3 -Waste water Pipe network Surface model view


Figure 4 – Inside view of the waste water pipe


Figure 5 – Aspect angle view

This project marks another achievement by SBL in the LiDAR modelling domain. We are expecting to showcase few more such projects in our upcoming blogs.

BIM and LiDAR Team – SBL Knowledge Services Ltd.

Modelling of Road Assets using mobile point cloud data

Another feather in SBL’s cap. SBL was recently awarded a road asset mapping project from mobile point cloud data by a reputed firm of chartered land surveyors in the UK. The project area was mapping a stretch of the A937 highway passing through the town of Laurencekirk, Scotland, UK (see image below).

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Figure 1 – Project extents shown by highlighted blue and green lines

The length of road that was mapped was 2.3 kms and all road furniture (top and bottom of curbs, road edges, hedges and gates and walls etc.) markings (parking marks, bus stop marks etc) was captured to a high degree of accuracy. A major challenge in the project was that the input point cloud data was provided without RGB values since the mobile LiDAR survey was carried out at night.
SBL carried out the detailed mapping from the mobile point cloud data using “as is”, rule without generalizing or offsetting any feature. Cross section views at distances of less than 7m were used to capture the data to the highest possible accuracy. Check out the images below which depict graphically the level of expertise and care that was taken by the team at SBL to execute the project.

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Figure 2- Input point cloud data (Isometric View)

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Figure 3 – Profile view of the curb drawn with vertexes

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Figure 4 – Digitized top and bottom of curbs

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Figure 5 – Modelling of street markings

A significant achievement on this project was that SBL provided a “first time right” work with high levels of accuracy in a very short turnaround time of 4 working days. This was possible only because of the dedication and expertise of the LiDAR modelling team of SBL. We hope to come up with more such success stories in the coming days, so stay tuned.