SK Telecom Co. announced that it would introduce South Korea’s first metaverse broadcast system at the SK Telecom Open 2021. Metaverse refers to the shared digital space where users could interact through virtual reality (VR) technologies. Recently, metaverse has grown significantly thanks to the increasing demand for 3D virtual spaces given the ongoing non-face-to-face trends.
The country’s largest wireless carrier collaborated with the Kakao sports affiliate, Kakao VX Corp., to launch the new metaverse solution. Being a sports digital transformation company, Kakao VX combines IT with sports, offering integrated golf services, including virtual golf courses, supplies, and home training.
Since establishing a strategic partnership in 2019, the two South Korean companies have continuously carried out media-related collaborations and more. In their most recent memorandum of understanding, SK Telecom and the Kakao unit would jointly develop and launch metaverse sports broadcasting technologies.
Introducing New Metaverse Tech
The two companies would initially introduce the new development during the SK Telecom Open 2021. SK Telecom would sponsor and hold the SK Telecom Open, a professional golf tournament, on June 10 at the Pinx Golf Club in Jeju Island.
Furthermore, SK Telecom plans to deliver ultra-realistic metaverse content by integrating its player data with Kakao VX’s 3D map. After combining their technologies, they would offer expansive golf content, including ball drop point, ball trajectory, distance, and shot distribution.
SK Telecom would introduce various technologies such as the ‘AI Highlight.’ AI Highlight recognizes individual players and automatically polishes displays in real-time. The company also developed an audio-separation technology, removing on-site noises, allowing viewers to hear conversations between caddies and players.
The sports metaverse broadcast would also apply radar technology, enabling viewers to see the players’ activities more clearly. Moreover, the radar tech offers a feature wherein it predicts the players’ motions and compares them to actual move inputs.
Aside from these innovative solutions, the two companies would also utilize the ‘Super Nova.’ The AI-supported Super Nova improves image quality and expands frames, converting them from 30 frames per second to 120. This technology would notably provide visual details that even high-speed cameras can’t capture.
Transforming Sports Broadcasting with Metaverse
“With the availability of live broadcasting using metaverse and AI, various exchanges between sports players and fans are possible,” said Lee Jae-Kwang, Head of SK Telecom’s Media Business Support Unit. In particular, professional players and sports enthusiasts could thoroughly interact and finally play together using metaverse and digital playing fields.
Lee Jong-Seok, Kakao VX’s Director, shared that Kakao VX could comprehensively advance sports digital transformation through the SKT partnership. In addition to challenging current broadcast services, Kakao VX especially plans to introduce a new sports broadcasting paradigm.
Separately, South Korea established the Metaverse Alliance to cultivate the domestic metaverse ecosystem. Some of the alliance’s most notable members include industry-leading companies such as Kakao Entertainment, KT, LG Uplus, and Naver Labs. MSIT’s minister also referred to metaverse as the ‘next-generation platform revolution,’ emphasizing the importance of creating a collaborative public-private partnership.
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