Since Intel spawned the microprocessor revolution over 40 years ago, computing has come to affect nearly every element of life, and today we’re seeing it deliver significant changes to all sides of the world of sport.
Like most companies, sports clubs are facing a data explosion caused by the increasing use of sensors, video feeds, and a variety of sources providing unprecedented levels of insight into athlete performance, which is being used to enhance sporting capabilities and team personnel.
Simultaneously, continued improvements to computing graphics and gaming, improved audio and visual experiences, and the proliferation of wearable technologies, connected devices, and social media and the online world have changed the way we, as consumers, engage with sport.
Regardless of whether you’re a professional athlete or an avid fan, technology is enhancing capabilities and bringing us closer to the games we know and love than ever before, and here are just some of the ways it is making a difference:
Innovative coaching techniques & tactics
The use of cameras at sporting events is no longer just for promotional purposes. Instead, the high-definition cameras gather a plethora of data points ‘ from player movement to scoring opportunities over the course of a match ‘ to create real-time data streams empowering teams to make tactical changes giving them a competitive edge.
A great example of this is STATS SportVU technology, which captures one million data records per game and is already being used in the UEFA Champions League and the NBA. For instance, in the NBA teams can track the shot location of every player and their success rate allowing them to identify strengths and weaknesses to adapt accordingly. Running on the latest Intel processors, the workstations tasked with managing these significant data volumes are able to generate reports within 90 seconds, allowing teams to take immediate action to steal a march on the competition.
Technology is also being used to make a difference on the training field, with devices leveraging Intel computing power running video applications offering slow-motion video reviews or side-by-side comparison of execution. This empowers coaches to identify subtle faults with form and technique that if improved can deliver real gains, such as straightening a golf swing. Furthermore, by using Intel Ready Mode Technology, coaches can automatically sync data between the device being used on the training field and their desktop PC so that they can immediately analyze the data gathered regardless of what platform is being used.
Wearable technologies proliferate the professional and amateur arena
Thanks to wearable technologies we all have access to performance data that we can use to improve our sporting abilities. Take a runner using a GPRS watch, for instance. They can monitor how far they are able to run, how long it takes them, and how this changes depending on time of the day, their diet, course elevation, and weather. Using a desktop PC to store and analyze this level of performance insight empowers users to create training programs or race strategies so that come race day they are fully prepared to perform at their absolute best.
Professional sports teams are taking wearable technologies to the next level by placing sensors in a variety of sporting apparel to track athlete performance, such as Adidas’ miCoach Elite Team System. The data gathered is then streamed, analyzed and stored using real-time analytics to build customized training applications that strategically target the strengths and weaknesses of each individual and create the most efficient training plan possible, reduce the risk of injury and ultimately boost performance.
Recently crowned 2014 Soccer World Cup Champions Germany measure speed, distance, acceleration, heart-rate and power of every athlete in training to ensure players perform at their peak. This is one example of a team using this platform ‘ with a similar deployment at Italian soccer team AC Milan ‘ and its results in Brazil are testament to the value it delivers.
Get close to the action
Broadcasting capabilities today ensures we never miss a moment of the sports we know and love, and we also have the choice to consume it via connected platforms like PCs and tablets, or traditional channels such as television. For instance, it’s not uncommon today for consumers to stream sporting content from broadcasters on their desktop PCs, meaning they need workstations capable of delivering visually engaging experiences. Similarly, we’re using the same devices to play online sporting games, against our friends and peers. As such, consumers are demanding platforms offering high-speed, high-definition, and immersive experiences, which is exactly what they get ‘ and more ‘ with PCs running the 4th generation Intel Core processor.
Social media and digital content has also revolutionized the way we engage with our favourite sporting teams and athletes, meaning consumers demand high-performing desktop PCs delivering seamless and responsive online experiences. Leveraging the performance of Intel powered desktops, consumers receive premium performance allowing them to gain unprecedented insights to better understand high-profile athletes, or consume visual content delivering behind-the-scenes exclusive access to their favourite sports club.
(The Author, Naveed Siraj, is Country Manager Intel Pakistan)