As recently reported by SVG Europe, US-based real-time data
integration, graphics presentation and video enhancement solutions provider SMT
is in the process of establishing a new office in the UK to serve its customer
base there and across mainland Europe. Now, in a new interview, SMT founder and
CEO Gerard J. Hall has elaborated on the whys and wherefores of the new
With a long track record of success in the US, in
particular, the first question must necessarily be ‘why the UK and why now?’
“Well, I was born in Glasgow so personally I have a long history with the UK,”
laughs Hall, “but as a company too we have many enduring relationships with
clients based there. We have also had extensive involvement with [events taking
place in the UK] such as The Open and London 2012, where we provided the
official in-venue scoring for the tennis.”
The same goes for mainland Europe, where repeat projects
have included the Tour de France, for which SMT has provided services on behalf
of NBC Sport and Roland Garros itself, among others. “We have had deep
relationships with these entities for many years in some cases, so we just
thought it would be a lot easier to service these clients from a UK location.
It will also make it easier to pursue expansion through new projects and
services,” confirms Hall.
Well-established in the US market through high-profile
clients such as the NBA, NHL and NASCAR, SMT’s data and visual graphics
platforms, systems, and products can track any sports entity in real time,
including tracking ball position and player position; assist officials with
line calling; and provide officials with tools needed to efficiently and
effectively review video to make official rulings.
Among specific plans in the works for its new operation, SMT
intends to launch its next-generation computer-vision platform, dubbed Eden,
from its UK office. Under development for the past 30 months, SMT’s Eden
technology will provide TV broadcasters with a capability for covering full
broadcast sports action using only unmanned camera positions.
According to the company, the Eden platform uses SMT’s
computer-vision engine and computer-decision algorithms to intelligently
control camera and lens servos to automatically track and capture all relevant
sports action without the need for dedicated camera operators.
More imminently still, SMT hopes to have 20 full-time staff
in place by year’s end – “significant hiring announcements are expected within
the next 60 days,” said Hall at the end of June – while “strategic
acquisitions” also appear to be in the offing.
“That process [of strategic acquisition] began in 2012 when
we purchased IDS (Information and Display Systems), based in Jacksonville
[Florida],” says Hall. “We are looking at some possible ones in the too,
although I cannot disclose which… but yes, that is pat of our plan to establish
this base camp in the UK.”