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A LOOK AT THE WORLD CUP: HOW TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMED SPORT

The king of sport, football is special and indeed a beautiful game, its appeal is unrivaled and universal. The most notable aspect of this evolution is rapidly increasing the use of social media; the digital transformation – and the technology that fuels it – has enabled fans to interact with their club way beyond the 90 minutes of the actual matches themselves. Digital ensures that the match never ends. Digital has now taken centre stage and many fans expect their club to deliver an appealing and connected experience which meets their increasing demand for year-round engagement with the teams they support.

The future is now, Digital has already fundamentally changed the way we interact with the world around us, shrinking the globe, vastly increasing the array of products and services on offer and changing the way we access them.

The related technology trend starting to make a big impact on sports is the Internet of Things, whereby organizations collect and analyze data transmitted from myriad network-connected devices. The videos produced from helmet cams give coaches a bird’s eye view into the action. Wearable devices record players’ vital signs and track them over time. Inside basketballs, mechanisms for transmitting data are being installed inside helmets to gauge the force of hits, to record precise shooting and passing accuracy, and inside soccer balls to measure impact, spin, and trajectory. Coaches and trainers use all of that IoT-collected data to adjust techniques in order to improve player performance.

There has been a lot of technological advancements in the world of sports, be it in the method used to make a football, to how a player’s stats are measured and studied, to how a referee can now tell if a ball has completely crossed a line. Digital products can also help sports to better engage with, and therefore monetize more effectively their fans. Modern football has become a magnet for cutting-edge technology and innovative ideas, some of the technology used is;

GoalControl-4D – This has successfully been tested at the Confederations Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. It uses 14 high-speed cameras mounted on the stadium roof or catwalk (7 per goal mouth) to capture the positioning of the ball in the air and on the pitch. When the ball passes the goal line, the referees receive a notification on their watches.

GoalRef was created by a German company, it uses antennas to create low-frequency magnetic fields in and around the goal. Embedded in the ball are three flexible copper coils. Every time the ball approaches the goal line, it causes slight changes in the magnetic field around the goal. These are detected in real time and the data processed by a computer. By analyzing the changes in the magnetic field, the ball can be located precisely. If it has wholly crossed the goal line, a goal is judged to have been scored. A goal alert is then instantaneously transmitted to the match official as using an encrypted radio signal, with a message displayed on their wristwatches

Hawk-Eye installs 7 cameras per goal, the most common location is on the roof of the stadium. The software combines the information from all cameras and is able to track the ball within the goal area. As soon as the system detects that the ball has crossed the goal line, it sends a signal to the official’s watch as well.

The keys to success in the digital world are not intuitively obvious to many businesses and their leaders. Flexibility and a willingness to try and fail are not integral features of the success stories behind many established companies that are around today, Digital has impacted the football world and will continue to do so. Much of the innovation around football technology tends to happen off the pitch. Football is growing all over the world, It’s getting more important within society, it’s not just what’s happening on the pitch, a perfect showcase for the evolution and innovations happening beyond the game and exploring how fans will experience and engage with football in the not-so-distant future.

Technological innovation on the pitch is at the best level, Vanishing spray and goal-line technologies have been introduced on the world stage. Visual data is gathered from high frame rate cameras around the pitch to triangulate the position of the ball at all times. Other systems use magnetic fields to determine the location of the ball. In these cases, the ball has an electronic circuit embedded within it and coils are installed around the goal. If the ball was to cross the line, the magnetic field would be altered. Digital has driven down the cost of media creation to the point where most football clubs now find they are able to produce and distribute more content, and of a higher quality, than was possible only a short time ago.

Technology on the football pitch extends beyond the boots on the players’ feet or the design of the ball. Hours and hours of research and investment go into goal-line technology, vanishing spray and sports science for the benefit of the players on the pitch.

There are many trends on the globe of digitalization and the use of technology in sports has historically been a contentious issue. “Video reviews will slow down the game” and “unfair advantage” are some of the complaints that get thrown at sporting bodies the world over when technology comes under scrutiny. Plenty of athletes use technology to help improve their game. Technology is opening up a world of choice where it is possible to support multiple clubs from wherever and whenever you like. Virtual reality technology can be used for more than just simulating a zombie attack; it can help make better footballers. Have you noticed STATSports gear – the black vests that have become increasingly ubiquitous at training grounds. It tracks players and analyze technology, which uses a GPS pod to monitor a players’ training and match-day physiological data. Managers and coaches use the technology to gain insights on their players’ heart rate, metabolic power, balance, speed and distance covered to help tailor workloads and preemptively spot injury risks.

With sport being such a big business, the beauty of it needs to operate smoothly. We are now in the digital forever. So digital will impact every industry, every service, and every corner of an increasingly connected world.

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