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Technology Innovation in Sports

Technology Innovation in Sports
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Technology Innovation in Sports

Technology and innovation have changed the way people both participate in and consume sports.

From real-time analytics tools that maximize player efficiency, to a whole new level of streaming services, sports are always on the cutting edge.

Here are a few examples of some of the most recent technological advancements in sports:

Real-Time Analytics

It’s currently an accepted part of sports that analytics and the adjacent technologies increase performance, prevent injuries, and offer predictive metrics for players and coaches alike.

But up until now, summoning analytics in real time was a struggle. As usual, soccer is at the forefront of this change in Europe. The International Football Association Board (IFAB) approved the use of handheld devices during games, enabling several applications.

During the last World Cup, all 32 teams had access to a tablet-based system holding match footage, positioning data, and other statistics.

Manchester City uses handheld devices that provide coaches with real-time insights on opponents. Then, down to the minute, tactical planning is presented directly to players.

The Onset of OTT

Broadcasts

Traditional broadcasters can’t afford to rest easy with the challenge they’re facing from companies such as DAZN.

Nothing spells out industry disruption like HBO withdrawing from the boxing market. The unexpected departure is a direct result of DAZN, a subscription video streaming service based out of the UK, investing more than a billion dollars into boxing and combat sports.

DAZN’s over-the-top (OTT) sports streaming service possesses a global network that distributes over 30,000 live events per year. The company has cloud technology that allows for scaling up or down based on a user’s needs. DAZN’s partnership with Equinix, who has a footprint of over 200 data centers, sets the stage for fast growth.

Virtual Reality

In 2016, Fox Sports partnered with NextVR to broadcast sports in Virtual Reality (VR). With the technology, audiences feel like they’re right on the field. If the seats in the nosebleeds aren’t doing the trick, VR makes it possible to get a closer view of the field–or even sidle up next to players during the national anthem.

For players, the implementation of VR offers a different way to practice. Quarterbacks could work on their passing in a virtual space akin to a holodeck version of Madden Football.

Smart Helmets and Equipment

After traditional football helmets were deemed insufficient for protecting players in the NFL, Riddell developed SpeedFlex technology to prevent brain injuries.

The state-of-the-art helmets have sensors and magnets that detect the collision then absorb the impact. Another SpeedFlex feature is wireless hit tracking–which sends real-time concussion data to the sidelines for staff to evaluate a potentially injured player's condition.

Other sports, such as snowboarding, lacrosse, and hockey could also benefit from something like SpeedFlex.

Interestingly, IoT (internet of things) enabled mouthguards are touted to further enhance player safety.

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Innovation in Local Government

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Steve Glaveski

Steve Glaveski is the co-founder of Collective Campus, author of Time Rich, Employee to Entrepreneur and host of the Future Squared podcast. He’s a chronic autodidact, and he’s into everything from 80s metal and high-intensity workouts to attempting to surf and do standup comedy.

Ask me a question!