KUALA LUMPUR 12 Feb – AirUpThere Technologies Sdn Bhd (AUT Tech) has recently raised an initial RM1 million funding to launch Malaysia’s first dedicated amateur sports over-the-top (OTT) platform, Huddle+.
An OTT media service is a media service offered directly to viewers via the Internet. In light of the pandemic, the Company expedited its plans into the next phase of digitisation of sports and raised an initial funding of RM1 million in its goal of connecting all amateur sports in Malaysia on Huddle+.
The initial funding was brought in by strategic partner Datuk Aldillan Anuar, owner of ReadMyGame Sdn Bhd and current Vice President of COBRA Rugby Club.
A recognisable figure for over 25 years in the local and international sports scene, he also has a wealth of experience in various aspects from administration, organising, fundraising, coaching, and media.
In addition to his involvement in corporate management in property development and hospitality, he has also overseen sports centre rehabilitation and golf course developments.
The funding allows the Company to acquire the cameras to be deployed and develop the OTT platform and improve on the existing Huddle platform in its entirety.
In line with this, AUT Tech has secured exclusive distribution rights in Malaysia for artificial intelligence (AI) automated camera manufacturer Pixellot, the video production and live streaming provider for FC Barcelona, FC Real Madrid as well as over 2,000 high school sports programmes across the United States.
While the technology has been around for years, AI automated cameras have never been more relevant than they are today in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic that has pushed spectators out of arenas and stadiums due to concerns with regards to health and safety in the medium term.
Beyond the bright lights and glamour of professional sports, AUT Tech believes the real opportunity lies in the thousands of games in amateur and youth sports sphere instead. AI automated cameras provide a simple high quality broadcast solution of any sports event without the need of cameramen or producers on site.
Spectators, namely friends and family, can now support their favourite players from the comfort of their homes, at any time from their mobile devices.
This experience has taken off in the United States where high school and youth sports have a large following; with the National Federation of High Schools providing live and recorded games for the past few years.
Even the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) superstar LeBron James, has shared on social media about his own experience cheering on his son on the court via live
stream. AUT Tech aims to provide that same access to sports on the youth and recreational adult level, to all Malaysians in the hopes of building up the love of sports in the country.
AUT Tech also believes technology is the way forward when it comes to sports - having the goal of “digitising the athlete” - so that all players are able to watch custom highlights, statistics, and track their progress and participation during their entire sports journey.
Now with the reopening of sports venues and leagues, the Company is hard at work providing Huddle+ cameras free of charge to venue and league operators who meet the criteria of technical requirements and games played.
This value add is done so that players and fans across all recreational levels can gain the benefits of watching the games played while operators can focus on providing the best experience on the field.
At the same time, the Huddle+ OTT serves up the games through its app and web based platform, and monetising via ad revenue. To date, Huddle+ is on track to serve up games from several of the largest basketball and football leagues in the Klang Valley with an estimated combined 500,000 viewers and plans to expand to other states by Q2 2022.
Andri Khusahry, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), AUT Tech, believes that technology is key in the future of sports, "We started with the purpose of making sports more accessible, to unify the fragmented market and create an extended sports community.
''We believe that digitising the athlete experience is the key to doing that. With Pixellot's AI Cameras and the Huddle+ OTT platform we'd be providing access to thousands of games that were not accessible to the public at large before; giving athletes and fans the ability to watch, follow and track their progress online.”
“I am also pleased to share that currently, we have successfully deployed 12 AI cameras across 7 venues in the Klang Valley; namely the Eco Ardence Football and New Camp football fields, University Malaya varsity fields, UCSI Basketball court, Supersports Arena, Radia Arena, ReadMyGame @ Cobra Club, and WNZ Sports Arena.
''We hope to achieve our target of 20 cameras in total by Q2 2022 where these cameras will include broadcast of leagues, tournaments, and friendly amateur games across on the Huddle+ platform. The coverage will witness the involvement of over 10,000 games and 200,000 players in the first year, including Malaysia’s oldest and largest amateur basketball league with over 110 Teams spread over 7 Divisions and 350 Games,” added Andri.
The company aims to raise an additional RM7 million in order to reach its goal of 250 AI camera deployed across the country and serving up over 100,000 games annually. The Company was a finalist in the 2019 edition of the World Football Summit StartCup event.
AUT Tech receives support in the form of funds and grants from Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd (Cradle) and equity crowdfunding platform PItchIn respectively, on top of angel investors. - DagangNews.com