Leading figures in technology, business and sport met last week at the 2nd Aspire-Tech Conference hosted at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge to discuss new applications of technology in the sports sector.
The one day conference was held on the first day of ASPIRE4SPORT Congress & Exhibition. Supported by Microsoft, CISCO, IBM and Honeywell, topics at this year’s event focused on innovation and best practice in disruptive technologies and creating modern, digital and interactive stadium experiences for fans.
Industry leaders agreed that advancements in connectivity and mobile technology will enable clubs and stadiums to deliver a much more personalised and informative experience to fans.
During the first session of the day which focused on digital stadiums and the fan experience, Kenneth E. Martin, Executive Director Global Sales, Sports and Entertainment, Consumer Industries for IBM said: Technological advancements will allow clubs and stadiums to deliver a more personalised and engaging experience for fans attending a match. From the moment a fan purchases a ticket and leaves their front door to attend a live match, they can opt-in to be updated with information which optimises their route, provides them with relevant details on the teams playing and even offers bespoke coupons for restaurant and entertainment venues nearby based on their preferences.
Daniel Mehaffey, Business Architect, Digital Innovation & Transformation at Microsoft, said:
Our industry is making real progress in providing fans with greater access to the moments that matter to them – whether that be through additional viewpoints of the match, tunnel cams or replays of crucial moments. These can all be delivered directly to fans’ mobiles to enhance their match-day experience.
Improvements to security and sporting performance were key themes during the second discussion at Aspire-Tech, which explored the impact of disruptive technologies on sports.
Covering the issue of security, Dima Tamimi, Director of Smart Cities, Mega Events and Vertical Industries, High Growth Regions at Honeywell, said:
Facial recognition technology is improving tenfold every three to six months, so the difference in quality today versus what it will be in a year is tremendous. The technology will be able to identify and provide alerts to any potential threats across an entire venue at rapid speed. For example, just one person will be able to watch up to 300 cameras at a time, and if something out of the ordinary occurs, then the venue operator will be notified to the problem by the technology. Security can be deployed much faster to diffuse any potential problems, ultimately reducing risks to fans.
John Short, Global Business Development Executive at IBM’s Sports and Entertainment Practice, said:
Artificial intelligence and machine learning is fundamentally changing how the sports industry views player performance and health. It allows clubs to make more informed decisions on when to rest players, how much time to give individual players to recover and ultimately, how to optimise their performance on the field.
Reflecting on the Aspire-Tech conference, Aspire Zone Foundation Manager for IT Strategy & Operations, Krishnakumar Kottekkat, said:
Technology is rapidly changing how fans and businesses approach sports. To deliver a better experience for fans and optimise the performance of athletes across the world, we need to work together to continue to innovate and push the boundaries of technology.
Ibrahim M. Jaidah, CEO and Chief Architect of the Arab Engineering Bureau, which designed the Al Thumama Stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™, said:
We consider technology in the earliest stages of designing new stadia. We are working in collaboration with the world’s leading tech companies to deliver the best experience for fans at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.