How IoT is helping to change sport


September 23, 2020

Talking about the Internet of Things, the first thing coming to the mind is a smart home, but the technology is increasingly finding its way into other areas, including sport. An increasingly digital world is forcing the sports industry to adapt, and IoT can bridge the gap between the physical world and the digital space. Many of the world’s biggest sports teams are starting utilising IoT to improve their operations, better serve their players, and enhance the fan experience.

Player Development

Combining advanced analytics with sensors and game video, coaches can easily process vast amounts of data to obtain metrics on player efficiency, player performance, and opponent weaknesses to better develop in-game strategy.

Combining multiple data sources with advanced analytics allows coaches to easily process vast amounts of data and act in real-time. An increased visibility into each player’s performance metrics can generate insights on individual ability and in turn, coaches can make informed decisions about specific players’ training and in-game strategy.

Player Safety

IoT is shaping the way that sports physicians, physical therapists, and team doctors are reducing injuries and helping players heal faster. Embedded devices such as smart insoles and built-in chips give teams an abundance of data that helps keep players healthy and fit.

These embedded sensors offer real-time tracking that provides a holistic view of the athlete. This allows teams to gain insight into when to rest a player, cut practice, and address muscle imbalances, track historical data starting from the beginning of a player’s career as tracking becomes more prevalent. They can also develop pre-set parameters to determine “danger zones” stemming from player input and data from wearables. Reducing the risk of player harm benefits not only the individual but the team as a whole.

Fan Engagement

The stadium of the future is here, allowing fans to engage with their favourite teams and athletes like never before. Many teams are investing billions of dollars on new stadiums—the game itself is only a small part of the main attraction.

Organisations are placing stadiums at the centre of the fan experience in order to get fans off the couch and into the venue. IoT can be used to provide optimised stadium operations e.g. traffic management, increased physical security capabilities, and reduced expenses with increased efficiencies by adopting smart building technology to reduce energy costs.

Data on how fans move about the venue can also be analysed to maximise retail and other revenue making opportunities.

Crunching the data

Teams who are adopting widespread use of IoT technology are gathering huge quantities of data on their players and fans from multiple sources, but these data sources are often not being integrated and managed in the most effective ways to provide insightful analysis on business decisions.

Like many other business enterprises, sports teams are turning to the cloud and some of the leading SaaS providers to process all of their data into something meaningful. Integrating the data gathered by different IoT sources and improving the connectivity of systems can increase venue efficiency, enhance fan experience, create additional revenue streams, and provide real-time personalisation.
With the cloud being so critical to this programme, teams are looking to work with service providers who can help not only in the collection of the IoT data but also providing direct, secure and private access to their chosen cloud and SaaS providers.

The game is changing

Currently, many teams are implementing IoT capabilities into their stadiums and organisations, but the solutions are often independent and do not work together, preventing organisations from realising the full potential of IoT.

Teams must recognise that the game is changing, and they need to answer the challenges that it is bringing. This approach will help to improve both on field performance and the performance of the business behind the team itself, delivering efficiencies and maximising revenue opportunities.

An athlete running