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Digital transformation drives sports technology investment

Technology has impacted every corner of society and every industry from healthcare, to government, education, business, and sports.
Technological revolution in the field of sports has saved the industry and its fans a lot of frustration, and digital transformation is beginning to transform the way we interact with sports. Seeing what innovations those developments will bring will give us a glimpse into the future of the sport.

Many organizations and their systems have now been made easier and quicker because of technology, and the industry has seen increased attention and revenue growth.

With the rise of wearable sports technology and accessible apps, focus has shifted towards understanding the way athletes’ bodies work and collecting data to improve their training.

The National Football League in particular is moving towards spatial tracking technology to improve the performance of their teams. NFL’s partnership with Zebra is one such example. This collaboration allows for RFID chips to be integrated into the footballs and shoulder pads of players.

The RFID chip system, which is a combination of GPS and an accelerometer, serves as a tracking asset for performance, exertion and fatigue.

RFID chips also come in handy to fans watching the game. Rather than the whole process of checking tickets, these chips inserted into wristbands with unique IDs will give them the required access.

Another major role of technology in the sports industry is the use of Big Data. Whether it concerns the players or the management system, Big Data allows for systematic planning, storing and collecting information. It has been reported that Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane uses data analysis to identify players when constructing his teams. By using statistics, he overcomes salary cap constraints.

It has also been reported that 97 percent of MLB teams and 80 percent of NBA teams employ analytics professionals to help with the management of teams.

Along with big data comes Predictive Analytics, which is a combination of algorithm and biomedical advances. This has boosted the measurements of success and failure by simply calculating past performances of each player.

All of these high-tech innovations are having a huge impact in shaping the bright future of athletic training and preparation for epic sports competitions.

The performance of players can also be determined by wearable devices that have sensors attached to them. This technology has assisted in determining the physical stress every athlete exerts and also provides real-time data of their speed and heart rates. This then allow the coaches and trainers to plan a personalized routine for each player so they can work within the limit their bodies allow, reducing any chances of health alterations and injuries.

With more and more industries investing in The Internet of Things, sports organizations have also found a way to implement these systems. One such example is the creation of smart stadiums. These stadiums have been so intelligently constructed that they are able to provide information ranging from parking availability, the length of bathroom and concession lines, seat upgrades and special offers.

An example of this innovation is The Sacramento Kings, who recently installed new technology throughout their arena, Golden 1 Center.

The Golden 1 Center will have hundreds of Wi-Fi access points, sensors, cameras and digital signs, all of which will connect to wired and wireless networks, as well as servers.

Having the highest number of professional sports leagues and teams, the European market is expected to dominate the smart arena market.

Other major players in the smart arena market are IBM, Tech Mahindra, Fujitsu, NTT Group, NEC Corporation, Cisco Systems, Huawei Technologies, Intel and Ericsson.

Overall, adopting smart technology in the field of sports has created a platform for fans to no longer be passive but active spectators. Seamless, reliable, personalized and efficient experiences can further popularize sports activities and make them appealing to the mass.

Yadawanka Pala

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