Three ways tech can revolutionise the FIFA World Cup

Cutting-edge technologies have replaced legacy chalkboards with touchscreens, evolving the game of football over decades. With the advent of AI, new technologies such as video assistant referee (VAR) and limb tracking are bringing the sport closer to fans and teams alike.

For instance, video analysis uses conditioning technology to understand players’ strengths and weaknesses. Through such technologies, team and club managers are empowered to make quick data-driven decisions.

Ahead of the most-awaited FIFA World Cup, Lenovo, in a recently concluded virtual chat show called ‘Smarter Changes The Game’, talked about the role of smarter technology in changing the game of football. Italian former professional footballer and Inter Milan legend Marco Materazzi and renowned sports television anchor, commentator, and journalist John Dykes, joined the show to highlight the role of high-performance computing and AI powering smarter outcomes in the world of football through intelligent insights.

New technologies introduced in this season of World Cup — such as stadium cooling, AI-driven VAR offside technology, sensor-based navigation for traffic management, AI, and drone-based crowd management — will drive an immersive and engaging experience for players and fans. Here are three ways technology will have a larger impact on the game of football this World Cup season:

AI and analytics will enable greater efficiency

Just as CIOs and enterprises use analytics to process big data and make intelligent data-driven decisions, analytics technology used in football provides a large volume of data about player performance, gameplay, injuries, fitness, and more.

This data helps team managers and club owners make accurate decisions in setting-up teams for each game. With powerful AI and improvements in player-tracking technology, football data and metrics can be captured directly from live television broadcasts without needing other cameras in the venue.

Data is also helping managers become more intuitive in team management, with AI-driven insights helping managers assess team mental health and psychological blocks, assisting players in preparing for the World Cup, building on the team capabilities, and enhancing the team’s ability to win.

Even GPS technology can help analyse player speed, distance, workload, and impact on the team’s overall performance. Advancements in AI are also finding their way into smarter scouting to find the right talent who can be trained to support better team dynamics and performance.

Edge computing will enhance game experiences 

As edge continues to gain prominence with 5G, enterprises have the opportunity to improve speed, reduce latency, and ensure data security. CIOs are using edge computing to provide business leaders with actionable intelligent insight that help them make important decisions.

Similarly, the use of edge technology in football has the potential to process data in real time during a match. Game analysts are already making observations by capturing data using video to share passages of play with decision-makers. The ability to process that data locally in real time using edge servers will let team managers and players access intelligent gameplay insights, which are delivered through interactive dashboards. This will help players and managers make important decisions so they can emerge victorious.

Other than the game itself, edge will have a significant impact in improving the game viewer experiences for fans watching in person and worldwide.

Technology to improve sustainability in sports

With climate change impacting sports, prominent events are implementing strategies to have more positive and sustainable impact-driven outcomes.

While the upcoming FIFA World Cup has a strategic sustainability approach across five pillars (human, environmental, social, economic, and governance), technology has a significant role in enabling sustainable experiences. Technological solutions such as liquid cooling are now used by CIOs and enterprises to warm large compute infrastructures. Stadiums and club owners can also employ warm-water cooling technologies to cool buildings, stadiums, and several other types of infrastructure, making football’s overall sport more resource-friendly for the future. 

With more than 3.5 billion fans across the globe eagerly waiting for the FIFA World Cup to kick off, teams and broadcasters are actively using technology to bring the game closer to fans. Smarter technology and devices right from servers, data management, storage, laptops, monitors, and accessories can all help football clubs gather and manage large amounts of data, transform operations and achieve better results both on and off the football pitch.

Such solutions can also help clubs digitise historical archives to better leverage traditional data into modern game passages. With adequate support from tech partners, football clubs can improve performance and speed by 20% through the assessment of over 100 million GPS data points collected during games and training sessions. The computational power has the potential to reduce the time taken for data processing by 25%, enabling faster time to insight.