IPTV has come a long way in the last couple of years. Internet speeds fast enough to watch high-definition video directly from the internet has been, and will continue to be, of huge benefit to the sport of sailing. Like all new technologies, there was a competition to provide the best viewer experience. Several downloadable players were available, but eventually they were replaced by solutions like the BBC iPlayer which required nothing more than a standard internet browser to watch.
Online race-tracking tools are still in the early days. At the moment, most require a separate download and install to work. This is a barrier to entry for race fans. Leaving aside the iPhone / iPad App-Happy types, most people don’t like having to download and install software on their computers and those who work in locked down IT environments often can’t download and install software. The technology-centric approach needs to be replaced by a consumer-centric view. Fans need to be able to load a web-page and watch.
Even adding a registration process will limit the viewership. Imagine having to fill in your email address every time you wanted to watch a new TV program (actually not a bad idea – hence SMS competitions at the end of shows…). Hopefully in time, all providers of these tracking services will be able to deliver them without unnecessary steps.
Last week, the World Match Racing Tour offered live 3D Tracking, which looked great, but wasn’t the easiest thing to get working. Several comments on the live Race Blog were from fans who were confused by the install process, experiencing delays or not being able to tell which boat was which.
In the mean-time, Race-Trax has announced the launch of a brand new version of their Race Viewer software. The company says the new version incorporate customer requests resulting in the software being even easier to download, install and use. The new version also includes dedicated Fleet or Match Race Modules, full replay functions, race blog and an extensive set of analysis tools.
Race-Viewer allows you to Replay race files and watch live races on you own PC. Data from the racing is collected second by second as it happens and is streamed via the internet for live viewing and after racing race files can be downloaded to keep and replay at leisure.
New features are designed that once the software is downloaded and installed, fans get a great spectator experience. Race-Viewer even has flags and guns! For competitors, the race replay provides insight into critical points of a race with a complete and detailed record of every boat´s every move. Racers can sharpen their competitive edge, enable better informed coaching or simply improve their understanding of sail racing and tactics.
Race-Trax recognise that new, different types of software provide barriers to use. Their new promo email says:
“We know that even the simplest software can be difficult to get to know and with something as powerful as Race-Viewer we understand that you want the best assistance to get you started; which is why we have included comprehensive Help files, extensive tool tips and video tutorials to ensure you get the most from the software.”
Any viewer is only as good as what you are viewing. At the moment, the software will only let you see past events including Skandia Sail for Gold 2009. There are no forthcoming events listed on the website which is at www.race-trax.com