London, 6 October 2017. Leading figures in tech, business and sport met 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 conference focused on innovation and best practices 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 more personalised and informative experience to fans.
During the ASPIRE TECH session which discussed digital stadiums and 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 optimizes their route, provides them with relevant information on the teams playing and even offers bespoke coupons for restaurant and entertainment venues nearby based on their likes.”
Daniel Mehaffey, Business Architect, Digital Innovation & Transformation at Microsoft, said: “The industry is making progress in providing fans with greater access to the moments that matter to them; whether that be through additional points of view of the match, tunnel cams or replays of crucial moments. It can all be delivered directly to fans’ mobiles to enhance their match-day experience.”
Improvements to security and sporting performance were key themes in the second discussion at ASPIRE TECH, which discussed the impact of disruptive technologies on sports.
On 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 3-6 months, so its quality today vs what it will be in a year is tremendous. The technology will be able to identify and alert 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 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 consumers and businesses approach sports. To deliver a better experience for fans and optimize 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 FIFA 2022 World Cup in 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.”