The entertainment arm of the Subhash-Chandra-led Essel Group has secured a US patent for a digital technology that offers immersive content, capable of satisfying all five senses. On Monday, Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL) said the new platform was developed at its media lab at Silicon Valley, in the US, for two-and-a-half years before securing a patent last week. It did not specify the investment that went into creating the technology, adding that commercial roll-out would take a year and would be aimed at evolved digital markets in the west.
What is important to note is that ZEEL is the first Indian media company to have bagged a patent for something like this, setting the ball rolling for the next generation of entertainment. International broadcasters, for the uninitiated, are experimenting with immersive entertainment, billed as the next big leap in the space.
The immersive content created by its technology, ZEEL said, could also be video-streamed or viewed on TV depending on the device available for viewership. The over-the-top or video-on-demand market is expected to be a key route-to-market for the technology, experts said, given that it is rapidly gaining traction, both in the US and other markets of the world.
Though India is not among the initial markets in terms of roll-out for ZEEL, the technology could make its way into the country as fifth generation mobile telephony picks up, experts said.
ZEEL is already pushing its OTT platform ZEE5 aggressively in India and across the world and expected to bundle the new technology with its VOD service. “A commercial prototype of the platform will be available in the next 12 months, targeting the US market first,” Amit Goenka, chief executive officer, Z5 Global, said. “We will take it to other developed markets subsequently, depending on the patents we file in those markets,” he said, adding the platform would be called ZEE5X for now. “The idea is to transform the entertainment viewing experience, allowing users to touch, feel and smell apart from seeing and hearing content with the help of 3D audio, augmented and virtual reality, digital scent, holograms etc,” Goenka said.
The technology will be available as a mobile application, allowing consumers to conveniently download and use it. Apart from entertainment, the technology can also help with immersive education, gaming and e-commerce, Goenka said. “The platform will also be equipped to control the viewers’ home environment, right from lights, heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, ensuring that the viewers’ immersive experience while consuming content is not interrupted at any stage,” he said.
The technology, Goenka said, could also convert regular content into a five-sense experience, giving the company the option to license it to content providers interested in an immersive experience. ZEEL will also convert its own content library into a five-sense experience for select markets, he said.