World Cup in your hand

Football fans can look forward to personalised coverage of this year’s World Cup, thanks to the Servingo portal, being presented to the public at CeBIT.


Three million visitors are expected to descend on the football stadia of Berlin and Munich for the tournament in June and July. Servingo promises a single point of access, offering visitors navigation to an event, a location finder and customised information on all the matches they are interested in.


The portal is the product of an €8 million research project aimed at developing an IT-assisted ‘infotainment’ and logistics platform, part-sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Economics. The project is coordinated by the computer graphics centre ZGDV. The Fraunhofer Institutes for Computer Graphics IGD and for Material Flow, and Logistics IML are among the contributors to its technological development.


Football fans submit a personal interest profile online and the system compiles an individual schedule for the day and reminds the user when appointments become due. It also provides services for hotel bookings, lists of petrol stations and the latest reports from football websites.


A highlight of the system is the journaling service, which is linked to a routing system. A user can take a photo with a mobile phone or camera of somewhere he would like to revisit. The images are saved to the portal, and the system compiles a journal from these entries. This will help the visitor find his way back to these places, which may prove helpful after a celebratory beer or two.


The research has also developed a method of providing a complete 3D construction of scenes from a match, allowing fans to replay key scenes from, for instance, the referee’s or goalkeeper’s perspective. To do this, the team constructed 3D models of each stadium and compiled catalogues of players. Innovative software generates scenes from the TV images and pastes them over the stored models. Sophisticated algorithms compare the visual template of the virtual 3D players with the TV image and keep adjusting the player’s posture until it matches the video image. In this way, a scene from the match can be reproduced picture-by-picture.