Duncan Wilcock


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Monday, April 29, 2013

Great Tech at Vancouver Nighthawks First Game

The Nighthawks - Vancouver's new professional ultimate frisbee team - had their first game this past Saturday at UBC's Thunderbird Stadium.   It was a great night - beer in the stands, an energetic crowd of a thousand or so, good friends, and of course an exciting game to watch.  I am looking forward to going again soon!

What was also fun was the great tech the Nighthawks and the Major League Ultimate organization have employed to put on the show.   I thought I would itemize some of the tech I noticed:

Slick ticketing from TicketLeap 

This is the first time I've seen or heard of Ticketleap and it worked really well for me.  Online ticket purchase, with a discount code an hour prior to the game.  The tickets were really one-time use QRCodes - one of them is at right.   I took a screen-shot on my iPad, and sent it to my iPhone for easier use later.   Their digital nature came in very handy when our party was split up enroute - I was able to just email the other people their tickets.  The future has finally arrived!

Ticket Entry System: An App from Ticketleap

I wasn't totally sure how it was going to work out when we got there, but sure enough the admission system worked well.  They had an iPhone at the entry gate running the Ticketleap app.  The camera on the phone recognized the QR code and confirmed our tickets.  Smooth, efficient, and you have to admit - pretty cool.

Square - For Souvenir Purchases

True to the technology-on-parade spirit, when it came to buying a few souvenirs later, out came the iPhone as soon as I produced my credit card.   Square is a neat system from the founder of Twitter, that was released in Canada 6 months or so ago, but this is the first time I've actually bought something with it. Your credit card is scanned by a little attachment to the phone, you do your signature on the touchscreen, and voila - your money is spent.

Live Streaming

For the away games, Major League Ultimate is streaming games live - for laptops and iPads alike.  It has been a bit glitchy so far, but the promise is exciting. 

Quadricopter with HD Camera

By far the most fun piece of tech was the quadricopter flying around the field, working on getting some close-in  aerial footage of the game.   They were playing it fairly cautious for this first game, but you can see it in the top left of this photo: 

What's so cool about quadricopters?  Check out this video of two autonomous quadricopters juggling.

Those were the coolest pieces of tech I noticed, but feel free to mention others in the comments if you are so inclined.  Also a quick shout-out to star player #45 - Allan Cowan - who is the main reason I made it to the game.  He had some pivotal plays on Saturday night, and his wife & kids were a cheering up a storm!

Update 1-May-2013: It was a hexa-copter (6 propellers) not a quadricopter, and here is footage from it with #45 Allan Cowan hucking for the goal