Sport is still about discipline focus and the ambition and desire to be the best. Technology doesn’t make an athlete better directly but it does help to coach them in the right direction. Do they have the right technique? Are they a little off their lap time? What are their pass statistics for this match? How many calories did you burn? Monitoring Trent Alexander-Arnold stats and other pro athletes is now a relatively simple affair.
With this in mind, let’s take a deeper dive into the tech and tech trends around sports and sports coaching.
One area that is really at the cutting edge of tech in sport is performance analytics. It is one thing to measure stats but it is quite another to measure decision making and look at ways to improve. To enable coaches and athletes to make the best use of analysis, motion sensors and video motion analytics is used to track player movement relevant to the position of the ball and so on and so forth.
AI is used to show options that the player may have missed during the match. This knowledge is taken into the next game, where hopefully a player will have processed the information and show improvement.
As biomechanical data is collected, optimum movements can be worked out to make the way athletes move more energy efficient and to perfect technique.
Using technology such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), sporting environments are recreated virtually allowing athletes to engage with the event using 3D motion technology. All senses are engaged including touch and smell. The advantages here are many but not least it gives the athlete a realistic feeling of what to expect to help settle performance stress and anxiety, and new tactics can be tested before a big event.
Another advantage is that there is little chance of an athlete picking up a training injury. They do happen and can cost a team a trophy or two every season.[skynews
Smart Stadiums and Arenas
Given the competition from sports streaming services, stadiums and sporting arenas are finding ways to keep the crowd watching games and events live rather than from the sofa. AI now monitors crowd sentiment to try and ascertain how fans are feeling during a game. Drones are cleaning and delivering snacks, while in-stadium connectivity gives fans statistics, find car parking, access the net, and use apps from their phone.
Some go a step further allowing fans to see the game through an augmented reality lens where fans can track ball trajectory and change their viewpoint, freeing how they see the game.
Simpler but just as useful features include using facial recognition software to allow fans to find seats faster, and to restrict access to areas of the stadium that are employee only. Meanwhile, as fans take their seats they are counted so there can be no quibble about how many are watching a game.
Streaming Gets Funky
Over-the-top (OTT) streaming services are now able to offer some quite groovy options to watch a game. Using VR it is possible to have a more immersive experience than watching the game on a 2D screen.
You can now change seats allowing you to watch the game from anywhere as if you were in the stadium, while stats can be switched on and off. Watching in 4K and 3D makes the game come to life. It is amazing what is coming down the track.
One American company, Sizzle, is using AI to determine personalised match highlights. Live stream chat, audio, and video are analysed. When it determines something important happens, it makes a highlight out of it. It can even pick up when commentators get excited to make its determination. It can be set to record dramatic moments or humour.
Meanwhile, how streams are delivered is improving all the time.
GlobalM’s network for example uses secure reliable transport packet recovery that sends the stream directly to the decoder rending satellite broadcast unneeded. As a result, speed is increased and latency lowered together with costs.
Digital Fan Relationship Management
It sounds like the stuff of science fiction but the time when a digital sports star talks to a fan is with us. Live event holograms beam a fan favourite into their home where they have a conversation answering fan questions.
Meanwhile, using blockchain technology, video sharing, biometric ID which facilitates purchasing, and AI powered chatbots to help fans find what they are looking for is with us now.
At the end of the day, fan loyalty is what allows sports teams around the world to operate and trade. Such is the importance of forging and maintaining a healthy relationship with the fan.
Sports technology is with us and soon it will be commonplace in all top-flight sport. Keep an eye out for it.