Far Hills, N.J. – The United States Golf Association (USGA) will employ a new digital user experience for U.S. Open fans that will enable viewing of photographic images at near real-time speeds. PicStream, the IBM-powered photo console on www.USOPEN.com, will feature images created and transmitted from the grounds of Congressional Country Club using Canon wireless file transmitters. It marks the first use of such technology on a major scale at a live sporting event.
“Canon’s wireless transmitters will enable our images to be edited, tagged and delivered to audiences faster than ever before,” said John Mummert, the USGA’s manager of creative services and senior staff photographer. “This is the new transmission standard in the world of sports photography.”
The USGA traditionally uses teams of veteran golf photographers to shoot for USOPEN.com, news media and the USGA Museum. According to Mummert, volunteers had to run photographers’ compact flash cards to the USGA Media Center from far-flung locations on the course at previous championships. Images are captioned, processedand distributed to USOPEN.com and the press from the Media Center. This system failed to deliver the transfer speeds that today’s audience demands, especially given the 100-plus acres that comprise a championship golf course.
“Fans want instant content, and we want to provide it,” Mummert said. “Canon stepped forward with the wireless transmitters, and IBM was able to integrate the technology into their PicStream application to enable near real-time publishing capability. These technologies should enhance the overall fan experience significantly.”
The Canon WFT-E2 II A Wireless File Transmitter chosen for the U.S. Open is a camera-powered compact unit that attaches to the side of the EOS-1D Mark IV camera. The WFT-E2 II A transmits camera images over a wireless local area network (LAN) at up to 492 feet (150 meters). Portable USB modems carried by the photographers will relay images to the USGA Media Center’s tent.
“This technology has been available for a while, but only recently has become something that we are able to use to our advantage,” Mummert noted. “We tested it repeatedly at Congressional Country Club and the transmitting times were exceptional.”