Fairfax Tech Talk Column

Fairfax Tech Talk Column

21.2.2020 Fairfax Tech Talk Column 186


Ahhhh – the thrill of attending a live sports match. Fighting my way through city traffic and lining up early to secure the best seats in the stadium. Lathering on sun screen throughout the day. Lining up to get a beer that is almost as good as one sitting at home in the fridge. Lining up in the food queues in the hope that my favourite version of Gozleme hasn’t sold out. Arguing with the slightly inebriated person who seems to have stolen my seat after lining up for my food. Missing some crucial action on the field while still focused on said inebriated person. Crossing my legs tighter so I don’t miss any more of the action…It doesn’t get much better than that!

Except…

A few of my friends choose to sit at home to watch their sport. They commute 30 seconds to their lounge room. They watch their 85” TV with every angle imaginable – including cameras on the players. They have ready access to food and toilets all while relaxing at a controlled comfortable temperature.

It is no surprise that consumers are choosing to sit at home and watch major events rather than attend in person.

But technology is providing a potential reversal – in the form of smart stadiums. Yes, it is trendy to place the word ‘smart’ in front of anything and hope that people are attracted but there truly are some innovations that will change the way we view sports.

At the heart of this revolution is connectivity. Both in Wi-Fi 6 and 5G.

There is no doubt that the atmosphere at a live event is better than your lounge room at home – no matter how many noisy friends you have with you. But the viewing experience is usually somewhat diminished. The first solution? Broadcast throughout the stadium the same, or better, footage than viewers see at home. No subscription required to a pay TV operator. If you are in the stadium you can use your smartphone to view the action – and most importantly look at the replays. Add in some ability to change the view to your preferred angle – including live on the players – and it sounds attractive.

This development will also see Augmented Reality which will allow you to point your phone at a certain area of the field and see a crystal-clear view of the action at that point.

Forget about lining up at the food vendors. Use the stadium app to order and pay for your food – which will be delivered to your seat! Entry will also be made easier. We have the ability now to use our phones to scan our tickets as we enter a stadium. Next step? Facial recognition. When you purchase your tickets, upload your face and simply stroll through the facial recognition line.

No need to worry about a flat battery – all seats come with a USB port and wireless charging to keep you juiced up throughout the match and some stadiums even have heated seats with a 4D option to match the action on the field. A bone-jarring tackle? You will literally feel it as well.

Smart stadiums with some of these features are already being rolled out across the world as we speak – look up the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium; AT&T Stadium and SoFi Stadium as examples - but as the connectivity improves expect to see more innovation in this space.

The last resolution that I am after – how can I avoid a trip to the toilet? Solve that one and the solution is complete. Tell me if you prefer a stadium or your home at ask@techtalk.digital.

Mathew Dickerson