“The advancement in modern day technology is going to impact Sports more than you can imagine.”
Technology is an ever-evolving process and we’re still three decades away from reaching singularity (defined as machine super-intelligence overtaking human intelligence).
Up to 2018, technology has been largely unidimensional in nature. As the next step, wearable devices, artificial intelligence and smart analytics are needed for seamlessly integrating technology with application to guide the next stage of evolution and to ensure higher relevance to human society.
But for now, technology is a great enabler. It is deeply embedded in our everyday lives. Our daily routines, health, travel & work schedules, weekend appointments, social interactions and our work commitments are all enabled through some technology, program, device or application.
Over the last two decades, the application of science had led to a rapid evolution of sports equipment, footwear, clothing and accessories. However, the rate of technology evolution has been slow paced.
In many ways, humans have hesitated and resisted in adopting technology in competitive sports. Their major argument states that the sports’ too much reliance on technology will inhibit natural competition and reduce the thrill of competition.
STAGE 01: SPORTS & TECHNOLOGY TODAY – LIMITED APPLICATIONS
Here are four ways in which technology has started to impact & transform sports, although on a restricted basis:
Rules Enforcement & Referee Assistance
Systems such as Decision Referral System (DRS), Hawk-Eye and Hot-Spot, Shot-Tracer, Radar Gun and Snick-O-Meter have all helped administrators deliver a fair and unbiased experience in the sport. These technologies have now reached the fields of cricket, golf, athletics, football and lawn tennis and a few other sports.
Media & Reach
The internet, high-speed cable, HDTV, apps, blogs, social media platforms have brought sports deep into our everyday lives ensuring deeper engagement and a wider connect between the sports and its fans.
Wearables & Equipment For Training & Coaching Support
Today minuscule electronic devices can be attached on to the athlete’s body, clothing, footwear & equipment to track critical information such as heart rate, stride, speed, distance, swing speed, swing plane and other critical information which in turn is being used by the coaching staff for athlete development.
Ticketing & Spectator Experience
Online ticketing has ensured a paperless world and created immense reach for organizers to improve their ability to fill stadiums. Organizers have therefore worked to deliver an enriching audience experience through live HD screens, services on order and other in-stadium engagement services.
STAGE 02: SPORTS & TECHNOLOGY TOMORROW – SEAMLESS & ENHANCED
As technology adoption, reach and acceptance improves in India, the next stage of Sport-Tech will aim towards a seamless integration of different platforms to deliver integrated data and analytics to enhance the total sports experience in the following manner.
New technology will ensure far and wide applications beyond the field of play and include on the spot doping checks, theatrical cheating, improved athlete safety, timely injury prevention and prevent over exhaustion. In addition, the application will extend to crowd management and crowd flows.
Performance & Athlete Analysis
As teams, coaches and athletes chase perfection, real-time data and information will become available to optimize coaching programs and training schedules.
Mathematical & statistical models will emerge and drive decisions on scoring patterns, team & athlete performance and trading athletes.
3. Fan Insight & Engagement
Teams will begin to track fan sentiment and align that with the real-time experience delivered and further connect that to fan engagement at retail. Mood sensors, facial tracking and crowd maps will enable organizers to take real-time decisions on creating curated personalized experiences and commercial transactions.
Smart Analytics & Artificial Intelligence
In the future, technology has to deliver seamless and integrated results that will enhance the sports experience and deliver higher audience engagement and better commercial outcomes.
For this to happen smart analytics and artificial intelligence support will be critical. Individual data points from stand-alone and independent systems (1-4 above) will draw intelligent co-relations to create smart insights.
For e.g. An athlete’s past performance data, his recent training outcomes, his big match performance results and mental makeup will be co-related to the city in which he is playing next (crowd support, temperature & humidity) in co-relation to the rival team and his specific play pattern against that team to project results.
On the other side, this athletes fan base will be mined using social media linkages to understand fan sentiment & preferences to make commercial decisions on budget spend, food, seating, experience, advertisements, on-site active and retail preferences.
Additionally, that day is not far when advancements in genetics will be able to predict the athletic future of an individual and the probability of success in a sport.
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