Author: Salvatore Corradi – FM Chairman
Following the twelve-month postponement due to the global pandemic, it seems that Japan will finally be able to host the 32nd edition of the Summer Olympic Games in its capital. In view of this great event that we hope will bring a breath of “normality”, it is interesting to reflect on how much the world of sport has changed following the advent of COVID-19 and how new digital technologies are now the beating heart of these changes.
Everyone knows that, since March 2020 the health emergency has forced almost all sports categories, national and international competitions to a halt. Not only that, the impact the virus has had on revenue streams and global sport business models has been huge. Associations and event organizers are now focused on what can be done to help the industry bounce back, and many of the solutions will come from embracing digital technology.
Thanks to a study conducted by MIT Technology Review, we are able to identify how the advent of the cloud is driving a digital transformation affecting major sporting events for the benefit of athletes, teams and fans around the world. Obviously, today’s emergency context has emphasized this transformation, however the world of sport had already benefited from the evolution of technology. Think of the 1930s, when sporting events were broadcast live on television for the first time, this great event helped to transform many local games into sports for global spectators, transforming some sports that were previously only localized activities and making them become international realities.
In recent decades, digital technologies have offered even more to the world of sports: improving athlete performance, managing spectator experiences during live events, providing interactive experiences for the home audience, and more. The improvements from a qualitative point of view are evident in the analysis of the athletes’ performance; in fact, it is possible to monitor and analyze the various biomechanical (limb movement) or biometric (heart rate) variables.
Today, using a combination of big data video recognition and IoT, an incredibly rich amount of data is generated. Since 2018, Formula One mandated drivers wear gloves that include a pulse oximetry sensor to measure heart rate and blood oxygen. Cloud computing sits at the center of these data analysis capabilities, including health, diet, training, and physical metrics. Moreover, deep-learning technology can help model the relationship between nutrition, sleep, and training with alterations in weather, including temperature, wind, and other natural factors, to enhance athlete performance. Coaches, in consultation with their medical teams, can then design separate training routines tailored for individual sportspeople.
Another innovation spurred by the pandemic is the introduction of event simulation and prediction services. They allow remote event organizers to do virtual layout planning for the positioning of equipment, facilities, and cameras. This AI ensures maximum safety and productivity.
In essence, the presence of all these factors is crucial for the world of sport and all athletes and fans to be able to recover from this last terrible year, and hopefully also be able to welcome new spectators in major sporting events.