Sports have always been the last word integrator. It breaks geographic barriers, connects humans above partisan, politics and generations—do we ever think the key behind this global integrator? The answer is Technology.
Technology plays a major role in the life of human beings for many years. It has conquered practically all the areas of our day to day with the purpose of giving it to us almost everything. Sport is not a field that escapes the constant technological advances that every day try to perfect our way of practicing it.
Theoretically, Sports Technology focuses on measurement, simulation, and motion and performance analysis. It consists of traditional engineering courses in Electronics Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer programming and Mechanics to provide technical skills. This includes courses focusing on entrepreneurship, innovation, design and implementation. These courses are complemented by a course in sport and health science. The interdisciplinary nature of the program ensures skills in cooperation and dialogue with different groups as well as the ability to handle social, economic and environmental issues.
Understanding the Impact of Technology in Sports:
We’re not surprised that technology is one of the most important factors driving India’s sports growth. For our country, technology needs to be leveraged to widely communicate the message of sports in order to build mass awareness and drive the cultural transformation. Initially humans have hesitation and restraint in adopting technology in competitive sports. Their major argument states that the sports’ too much dependence on technology will prevent natural competition and reduce the thrill of competition.
They also compared Technology to aid performance to drugs and steroids. Technology and consumption of drugs can’t really be compared. Drugs make physical changes to the body of the athlete to improve physical performance as a direct result. Technology helps an athlete to improve their performance, but without directly changing the athletes’ body.
All the questions raised regarding the use of Technology can be answered satisfactorily. If we do a case study of the U.K’s Olympic team we will notice poor showing of just one gold medal in Atlanta, 1996. The English Institute of Sport (EIS) has played an influential role in changing the U.K’s fortunes in recent years by implementing thorough monitoring of players’ performance from an early stage in their careers. This step is helpful in capacity building of players. The English Institute of Sport built 15 High-Performance Sports Centers across the country, with 250 practitioners delivering up to 4000 hours/week of support to around 1500 athletes. Training with the use of Technology shows the results. UK earned 70 medals in the Beijing Olympics, followed by 65 and 67 in the 2012 and 2016 editions of the same.
The Current State of Sports Technology: Key Takeaways
- Fan Engagement Technologies: Fan Engagement Technology set to make the largest impact on Sports in the Next 12 Months — including the upcoming Tokyo Olympics which is postponed due to Covid-19. Fan engagement should be achieved both on- and off-site and on match days and non-match days. Every fan engagement represents an opportunity to collect data. Then this collected Data is analyzed by Machine Learning tools with a little careful thought to the output you require. Few examples of clubs doing some pronounced work with fan engagement, on the field, off the field and on match days and non-match days are given below.
- The Open (golf): Ordering food from your seat –The Qkr app which is powered by Masterpass from Mastercard is enabling audiences of Open golf championship to order and pay for food from their mobile devices and the food is delivered to them in their seat. Therefore they don’t need to miss a moment of the action.
- Real Madrid (football): Fan app – The Real Madrid fan app brings surprises for their audiences whether they are at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium or on another continent. On non-match days they can purchase products or delve into stats and there is a personalized element offering deals tailored to the user.
- Manchester City (football): High-speed wireless internet– The Ethihad stadium has high speed wireless internet access so that fans can share their experience on social media, during the match.
- 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 sports. These technologies have now touched the fields of cricket, golf, athletics, football and lawn tennis and a few other sports. 2018 is the first year the FIFA World Cup has used a new kind of video technology, called the Video Assistant Referee, to assist in officiating. The idea is that it catches errors which weren’t caught earlier. The referees can take the support from VAR team from a centralized video operations room at the international broadcast center in Moscow, according to a FIFA video.
- Media & Reach: The internet, high-speed cable, HDTV, apps, blogs, social media podiums have brought sports profound into our daily lives confirming deeper engagement and a wider connect between the sports and its fans.
- Wearables & Equipment for Training & Coaching Support: In recent days microscopic 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 information which in turn is being used by the coaching staff for athlete development.
- The Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems: In this tablet-based system where each team can share information with its coaches in real time. Player stats and video footage are available in this tracking system. Each team has three tablets. One is for an analyst in the stands, another for an analyst on the bench, and a third for the medical team. Tracking cameras using optical technology are used to monitor the players and the ball and provide feedback. It works with camera-based systems and wearable technology. This coolest technological innovation being used at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
- Ticketing & Spectator Experience: Online ticketing has importance for paperless world and it created immense reach for organizers to improve their ability to fill stadiums. Therefore organizers have worked hard to deliver an enriching audience experience through giant live HD screens, food services on order and other in-stadium engagement services using smart technologies.
- Treatment: Technologies are applied in the way of preventing and treating injuries. Thanks to nanotechnology and biotechnology, much progress has been made especially in the treatment of serious injuries, which some years ago could have meant the end of the sports career of the athlete.
The Sports market and society’s needs of engineers with knowledge about how to measure, simulate and analyze human movements and achievements are enormous. Such knowledge gives the fundamentals for creating a sustainable society, where everyone can live a healthy and valuable life regardless of age and with different physical and mental conditions. Engineers with these skills will be required in the coming days. India must put more effort to make students interested in Sports technology. A recent initiative has been taken in the Global Sports Business Show, a three day exhibition of sport business opportunities which also hosts workshops, guest speakers and more, with a special focus on developing the sports technology and sports infrastructure market in India. Such hard work, along with a growth in sports other than cricket, can certainly help India’s chances at international stages like the Olympics. Sports authorities in India need to wake up and smell the success of other nations who have adopted technology.
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