The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how all of us live, work, and play. For IoT in sports, even though we’re still in the early stages of integrating smart technologies, we’re seeing it being used in everything from training athletes to increasing fan engagement at large, outdoor venues. For passionate fans, IoT in sports is already making their favorite sports that much more exciting.
Here’s how IoT in sports is being used
Smart helmets for American football
Safety in American football has become a major point of concern from youth teams all the way up to the NFL, to the point where many insiders believe the game may soon be unrecognizable. While there are plenty of traditionalists who view this as a bad thing and see hard contact and physical risk as an inherent part of the sport, the scientific data is clear. American football leads to an unusually high number of head injuries with serious long-term effects for players. While some are looking to rule changes to counter the decreasing number of youth players, others are turning to technology for solutions.
Specifically, helmets are being designed that use IoT to immediately notify coaches and medical staff when there is contact with the potential to cause concussions. This is not preventative, but it does theoretically remove some of the ambiguity from injury diagnosis and treatment. All too often, football players “tough it out,” either because they don’t realize they’re concussed or because they simply want to keep playing. These IoT-connected helmets can quickly identify where there’s a potential problem and enable coaches and staff to make better decisions, including immediately starting treatment for severe hits. Similar technology can be used for other parts of football players’ uniforms and for other sports to better identify sports injuries as they occur.
Smart stadiums for the 2022 World Cup
Advance preparations for the World Cup have already begun. Even though the 2018 tournament wrapped up just a few months ago, the football world, including sports books, have already turned their attention to 2022 in Qatar. We’ll no doubt soon be reading about teams beginning the qualifying process, and the construction of new stadiums for what will be the Middle East’s first World Cup.
These newly constructed stadiums will be designed from the ground up to be smart. Using technologies like UIB’s intelligent IoT messaging that will allow teams a raft of new premium services, fans will be able to monitor their favorite players’ vitals and even the game ball itself on their favorite social media, messaging, and chat channels. Qatar World Cup venues are also expected to use sensors that will continually measure crowd size and movement to adjust electronic signage, lighting, gates, concessions, elevators, escalators, thermostats, and more.
Smart skills training for all athletes
Potentially the largest category for IoT in sports, sensors, cameras, and other devices will measure and record player performance for AI and coaching staff to improve player performance. At their September iPhone launch, Apple demonstrated HomeCourt™, an app that can recognize and track basketball shots, both missed and made.
A company called Graspables has made it possible for an object to recognize how it’s being gripped. A baseball, for example, is fitted with the technology and linked up to an app can recognize how a pitcher is holding it and recommend the precise adjustments needed to achieve the desired results. This could quickly become the new training tool for all amateur and professional ball sports!
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About the Author
Victor Ava writes about technology and is an avid PSG Fan who’s waiting, however impatiently, for M’Bappe to win his second World Cup.