Launching in the Spring of 2020, Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media and the Athletics department have teamed up to put artificial intelligence (AI) cameras onto the school’s Sprague football field.
The cameras, called Pixellot, are fully automated and can capture high-quality sports game footage. It can then stream the event (live or on demand) directly to fans, players and coaches, and family and friends unable to attend the live games.
Rob Chesney, the director of athletics, says, “The cameras will allow our coaches to record practices for tactical review, upload content to a cloud for future use, and provide a platform to promote our programs to families, alums and prospective student athletes.” And, all of this can be done without the aid of a broadcasting control room.
The Pixellot project was born from the minds of Dr. Keith Strudler, Director of the School of Communication and Media, and Rob Chesney, along with SCM professor Kelly Whiteside, who already works with students interested in sports communication.
On the collaboration, Dr. Strudler says, “Athletics is a great group to work with. Everyone is on the same page, and we all want the same things: to build better experiences for our students.”
Chesney has a similar feeling. “Working collaboratively with the School of Communication and Media was a priority for us and it has been terrific so far,” he says. “This partnership will benefit both departments and have a profound impact on the students. Keith, Kelly and their staff have been great to work with and their energy for these projects is contagious.”
The collaboration arose as the result of a conversation between the three, who were looking to find where the strengths align between athletics and communications, allowing the school to be at the forefront of internet sports broadcasting.
Not only will the Pixellot project help students learn to cover sports better, it will familiarize them with some of the newest technology available.
Dr. Strudler echoes this. “We would be doing our students a disservice if we didn’t introduce them to the kinds of technology they’ll be using in the industry.”