A world-champion IoT

Beatriz Sanz Baños    13 June, 2018

Are you ready for the soccer World Cup? If not, you should probably start getting ready: this event, which along with the Olympics is considered the most important sporting event all over the world, is drawing near.

But the spectacle isn’t limited to just sports. For some time now, this kind of event has been surrounded by a range of industries which enhance its development, and technology is a good example. Today, any event of this kind is also veritable technological extravaganza.

And within this trend, the Internet of Things is one of the stars of the World Cup, as we show in our infograph on the IoT and the King of Sports. We invite you to take a tour to learn about the several of the IoT innovations that will appear in this year’s World Cup.

1.- The entire stadium, connected

Soccer is the main event, but an entire exhibition of this kind requires external technological assistance. You are already familiar with the most frequent case: the goal line technology which FIFA uses to analyze whether or not a goal was scored.

And if you’re a romantic, this other advance may seem like an aberration, but it’s also essential: the famous video assistant referees (VARs) not only help referees to do their jobs but will also end up directly benefitting players, clubs, and fans themselves, since they will be able to enjoy the game without any outside element getting in the way of the celebration.

Furthermore, more and more huge events are being held like this one, where security is increasingly important. With alerts activated should any problems arise, stadiums hosting football games have to be completely prepared. Some stadiums, in fact, already have facial recognition technology in order to identify possible international security dangers or risks.

In Spain, we have one clear example: the stadium of Atlético de Madrid, the Wanda Metropolitano, which is the first 100% connected stadium in Europe with technology from Telefónica. This enables it to have communications and connectivity infrastructure, Ribbon board 360 technology, safety at the entrances, anti-intrusion systems, a multi-service network, and connection access points, among many other features.

2.- Wearables: Innovation on the jerseys themselves

For some time now, the players’ jerseys have ceased being just pieces of fabric. Today, jerseys, interior accessories and even bracelets are beginning to become powerful technological weapons that improve all aspects of the game.

Things started with training, when football teams began to wear jerseys that were specially designed to measure countless parameters, such as players’ body temperature, top speed, acceleration, heart rate, pulse, level of hydration and sweating… This veritable army of technology tools helps teams analyze their players’ performance and helps players reach their peak. One pioneering example of this can be found with Villarreal, one of the pioneering teams in the world to use technologies that today all the major clubs and national teams use.

But in no way does this stop with training. FIFA is already implementing and developing a range of technologieswhich not only help with refereeing but can also be applied during the games to help measure an entire series of parameters among the players themselves.

There are other examples of connected devices that can be present during a football game. The Spanish tech company headquartered in Silicon Valley Propelland knows a lot about this. It has a smart bottle that not only adapts to the way it is used but is also capable of measuring parameters like the players’ hydration level. In fact, this technology was already used in the Brazil World Cup.

3.- The apps that see it all

Gathering the vital statistics, speed, heart rate, and blood level in players’ bodies is essential, but data aren’t worth much unless they are used and processed correctly.

To do so, more and more clubs are using apps connected to wearables which transmit the data gathered and then store, process, and analyze them and draw conclusions which help plan for the future. The classic examples are apps which use a technology quite similar to what we ‘mortals’ use in our fitness bracelets that help improve soccer players’ performance.

But there are examples that go much further: if coaches are capable of predicting the situations in which one of his footballers is the fastest or reaches his peak speed or top endurance, they can make decisions on whether it is best to play them from the start, in easy games, in competitions that are extremely physically taxing, at key junctures like relieving their teammates, etc.

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