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Game Changers: The technology and innovation currently making waves across sport

A look at the technology and innovation currently making waves across the world of sport

Published in Sports Management 22 feb 2016 issue 114
Read on turning pages | Download PDF of this issue

Microsoft takes augmented reality into sports

Microsoft is dipping its toe into the sports market by adapting its augmented reality HoloLens headset to expand fan experiences with National Football League (NFL) games.

The HoloLens – described by the technology giant as the “world’s first fully untethered holographic computer” – has been set up to allow users to watch matches as 3D holograms rather than on a screen. It also projects displays, players stats and instant replays in the viewer.

“What if game day was no longer confined to your television screen, but also covered your room and took over your coffee table?” Microsoft mused via its Windows blog recently.

The technology was unveiled at a Super Bowl 50 panel discussion titled – The Future of Football: How Technology Could Shape the Next 50 Years of the Game – which focused on the new technology’s effect on all areas from the field of play, to the back office and fans at home.

The Microsoft HoloLens runs Window 10, the operating system found in most new Microsoft devices.

microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens

Microsoft’s HoloLens will live project sport as a 3D hologram
Microsoft’s HoloLens will live project sport as a 3D hologram
HoloLens could also display match replays and analytics
HoloLens could also display match replays and analytics

The future is
natural for turf

A new Centre of Excellence for natural turf is aiming to transform the way turf systems are developed in the future.

Located in Doha, Qatar, the centre – which is being established as a partnership between sports turf consultancy STRI Group and Qatar’s Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) – will feature a one hectare outdoor turf research facility and a fully equipped laboratory. The centre will be used to develop natural sports turf solutions tailored for the local weather.

The centre’s first project will be to explore ways to improve the efficiency and sustainability of natural turf surfaces and create optimal conditions at stadiums and sports facilities across the Middle East – well known for its hot, harsh climate.

Mohammad Khalifa Al-Suwaidi, CEO of AZF – who signed the deal with Gordon McKillop, STRI CEO – said the launch of the centre is part of Qatar’s National Vision (QNV) 2030 – a development plan which was launched in 2008.

“Guided by QNV 2030 and our mission to enhance sports performance, the centre marks the latest expansion of Qatar’s booming sports industry,” he said.

“It will support our ambition to make natural turf sustainable across the region. While Qatar’s football industry will be the main beneficiary, we also expect golf, tennis and equestrian courses to benefit from our research and service offerings.”

stri.co.uk

The deal is signed
The deal is signed

PSV fans are welcomed to re-live the big wins with VR

Dutch football champion PSV Eindhoven has launched a unique VRexperience, giving fans of the club the opportunity to take their place at the heart of PSV’s championship celebrations.

The immersive experience utilises 360-degree camera tech – provided by Purple Pill VR – to get supporters close to the players.

Fans can re-live scenes of lifting the trophy, the dressing room celebrations and touring the city on the famous ‘platte kar’. It is the first time a European club has used VR to let its fans re-live the moment of winning the league.

Guus Pennings?, spokesperson for PSV Eindhoven, said: “This is a great and innovative way for our fans to experience one of the best highlights of the championship season once again; celebrating our championship.  

“Launching this now is our New Year’s present to our fans to kick off 2016 in style.”

Thomas Engel, director of creative development studio The Capitals, which worked together with Purple Pill VR to produce the experience, added: “We consider this the next step in creating a fantastic digital fan experience”.

purplepillvr.com

The first time a club has used VR to let fans re-live winning the league
The first time a club has used VR to let fans re-live winning the league
The Purple Pill VR camera records the action
The Purple Pill VR camera records the action

Ryerson launches sports incubator SPIN

Ryerson University has launched an incubator for sports technology startups. The Sport Innovation Hub (SPIN) – based at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) in Toronto – will be tasked with helping companies bring new products to the market.

SPIN will create an ecosystem for sport entrepreneurs by connecting them with industry experts and helping them launch their ventures. It will look to support startups working in areas such as athlete performance, fan engagement, social tools for sports content and digital sports.

“SPIN will be a hub where students, entrepreneurs and business people can connect to develop creative business solutions to enhance sport,” said professor Cheri Bradish, the university’s chair of sports marketing and the driving force behind the initiative. “Our aim is for the hub to become one of the leading sport innovation incubators in North America.”

SPIN will also host events such as hackathons and demo days, bringing together sports entrepreneurs and industry experts innovate.

The hub follows TRSM’s launch of The Next Big Idea In Sport Competition, an innovation contest for startups addressing emerging opportunities in sport. TRSM is Canada’s largest undergraduate business school specialising in entrepreneurial business education.

Cheri Bradish and the Next Big Idea team
Cheri Bradish and the Next Big Idea team
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