How Technology in Sports Is Becoming a Game-Changer
Technology has left no domain untouched. Sports is one such discipline where technology adoption has been growing tremendously in recent years, and 2015 is shaping up to be an important year in building a pronounced acceptance for technology across many sports disciplines—both for providers and consumers.
There was a dedicated space for sport technologies at the renowned Consumer Electronics Show this year. Sensors, wearables, and mobile technologies that have been increasingly drawing sports fans into the world of technology were extensively in the spotlight. In recent years the industry has developed an entire conference dedicated to sports technology, making this a niche of its own.
There are several entities that leverage technology in sports, including teams, leagues that officially organize games, and end-users. On the more established side, social, mobile, and cloud computing technologies have greatly helped connect global sports fans, empowering them to watch, analyze, record, and archive games on demand.
Some additional technologies at play here include business intelligence, big data, and predictive analytics, all of which are gaining popularity in their applications in sports. These methods help in significant ways such as team picks and trainings, tracking in-game play moves, and refereeing decisions during live games.
Newer algorithms and techniques are being digitized and brought into use, so sports is effectively giving technology a broader playing field to evolve into more complex spaces. For example, cricket now uses techniques and systems such as Hawk-Eye, a computer system that tracks the path of the ball and predicts its most statistically likely path, and Hot-Spot, an infra-red imaging system that can tell whether the ball has struck the batsman, bat or pad.
While these programs are still at a material design level, the sports industry believes the next big technology wave will be in the space of information—information that will be collected, analyzed, optimized, and used in varied ways. Sports teams see such data collection as an important ingredient to a winning recipe. It is also a critical piece in the “smart technology” space that is becoming increasingly popular in the world of sports, helping players train better.
Despite all the benefits technology brings into sports, there is widespread concern in embracing technology. The industry knows of several examples of why technology is not just good or bad, but both good and bad, for sports.
While sports practitioners and fans do their bit to embrace technology in the right ways, technology providers also have a very important responsibility in ensuring that what they build does not ruin the true spirit of sportsmanship and the game.