The vast majority of studies highlight that the 2020s will start the consolidation of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) estimates that, in 2030, the global turnover will increase by $1.5 billion and 23 million jobs, from the current 820.000, will be created. The main areas of development will focus on the optimization and acceleration of industrial processes, eliminating the prototype creation phase, which would now be virtual, and the training of professionals in high-risk jobs such as soldiers, firefighters, or doctors. They will learn sooner and better and will be able to simulate dangerous situations. However, businesspeople specialized in new technologies point out that the most important benefits of VR and AR will be discovered in the next five years where its impact on consumers can be analysed. The important point is that the basis for the revolution are already established: 5G and 6G will enable their proper operation. There has also been a drop in the price of devices and the development of haptic technology limitlessly determines more types of functions that can be performed. However, for its successful implementation, these technologies face a formidable obstacle. Domestic technology developments display an initial reluctance, and its use can lead to dizziness or claustrophobia. In sports, technology involves changes at all levels—in broadcasts, in the experience provided to fans and in the training and working methods of professionals.
5G and 6G: The need for quality image and video transmission has been growing in the last decade due to the consolidation of smartphones. In order to satisfy that demand, the fifth generation of wireless communication has allowed VR and AR to take off. With a latency lower than 20 milliseconds, fairly good experiences can be unddrtaken in many areas, especially in expositions or pre-sale exhibitions, as well as in everyday life and workspaces.
Haptic Technologies: Not only is touch an essential function for purchasing materials or enhancing a user’s overall experience, but it is also critical for precision training, such as the ones that can be done by a surgeon using VR, or those performed by an athlete with haptic suits that reflect biometrics and perceive the movement of the body in order to work on motor skills. It is all about the fabrics that pass a sense of movement or touch on to the consumer and they are already in the conventional market.
Devices: According to a survey conducted by Ericsson, one out of five VR users considered that the headset or the glasses / goggles hindered the mobility. This is the same percentage that experienced adverse effects with its use, such as dizziness and even nausea. The problem is that in these circumstances, these devices can only be used for short periods of time, which would not be worth the expense. However, the current trend is to reduce their size to a minimum, as if they were sunglasses or prescription glasses. For the time being, the weight of the current devices has been dropped to around half a kilogram. Regarding price, Facebook has recently launched OculusQuest 2, a more affordable headset, the price of which ranges between 300€ and 350€.
Fan Experiences: The uses that are becoming more and more popular are the ones related to entertainment. They are already being adopted in stadiums to attract fans. At the gymnasium hall of the NHL team Golden Knights, there is a small area where spectators can use a stick and VR to perform up to eighty professional training exercises. PSG’s Megastore makes use of a 400 square metre space to virtual experiences. In one of the games, attempts on goal by first team players can be blocked. Machines for taking virtual selfies with the stars are also becoming commonplace. At the same time, a stadium having AR can come alive. In Argentina, the Estudiantes de la Plata club hosts a projection of animations during the game. At the NFL, a giant raven, Baltimore Ravens’ mascot, flies over the crowd. With AR glasses, the walls of the stadium and the corridors can come to life and tell stories by displaying animations and images with the history of the clubs.
The organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games announced the launch of an immersive video project with which they want to help spectators experience for each of their 55 sports.
The project consists of a series of videos of the upcoming Games, recorded from the perspective of the athletes, achieving an effect as if it were AR. Filmed with cameras that record from multiple angles at once, through the video’s, sports fans will be able to immerse themselves in realistic competition scenarios and hear statements from the athletes.
Broadcasts: With the advent of 5G, watching the game at home will never be the same. The spectator will be able to watch the games from any location on the field, as they please. Also, they will be able to watch broadcasts covering the 360 degrees of the field, from every possible angle, and they will also be able to watch it from the perspective of the athletes. According to Shawn Bryant, Intel Sports’ managing director, who is implementing this in the NBA, “spectators will be able to watch anything they want, however and whenever they want.” Children will have the chance to customise the teams and turn them into cartoon characters, an experimental project that the English Premier League is working on. In sports such as golf, it is possible to provide the spectator with all the shots of a day, even a database that gives them access to any shot of a championship. With AR, spectators watching a live broadcast can also find indexed advertising on the field in an attractive and surprising way.
Sports technology company OZ Sports has joined forces with the visual content studio VX Productions to launch a product, designed to enhance the broadcast of sports events taking place in empty stadiums during the pandemic. It allows spectators to be dynamically added to live broadcasts with AR. Virtual fans can personalize their experience with their own avatars, club shirts, and cheer from home via an app.
Trainings: At the Sports Tomorrow Congress organized by Barça Innovation Hub, Arsene Wenger stated that VR will be the most useful tool for prospective coaches as they will be able to rewatch the game in 3D, in the same situation in which it was played and with all the players. The Rezzil tool already provides teams such as Manchester City, PSG, or Arsenal with a range of virtual training exercises, which has also been adjusted to a free access app for fans and gamers. A Japanese softball team has used it to train batting by programming pitches with certain characteristics. In the United States, it has been tested in college American football divisions and, according to coaches, it helps players process and learn to throw “without playing”. In other sports, such as Formula 1 or Nascar, it is estimated that VR will be fully integrated in the short term. In the case of individual sports, such as running, there are also some VR applications that allow athletes to have gamified experiences such as Zombies, Run!.
These augmented reality glasses, project a live holographic opponent into your field of view, in order to boost and motivate the user’s performance. Having a running partner has proven to be more effective to maximize a running workout. It also allows the user to train with a virtual partner anywhere and at any time easing scheduling workouts.
Learning: The possibilities of VR and AR to create didactic and pedagogical environments are practically endless. At the US Open, in an AR installation, a virtual Sloane Stephens gave tennis lessons to visitors. Google has launched swimming goggles, Form SmartSwimGoggles, that enable their users to check the time, number of strokes and performance metrics. Valuable information for the training of professional swimmers. In academic and highly qualified professional environments, it is stated that VR is as a way to train oneself to make presentations in order not to suffer from stage fright. In the United States, Pennsylvania’s Blue Band del Beaver Stadium has started to use VR. The musicians have to jump onto the field with more than a hundred thousand people screaming. With VR, the most novice ones can make their appearance as many times as they need before the big day so as to overcome anxiety.
Risky Situations: Professional training is one of the great assets of VR and AR. Especially, the training of those who have to work in dangerous environments or in emergency situations. It has been demonstrated that when immersive experiences are created, user participation is greater, which leads to a more engaged learning experience. In the United States, between 2008 and 2014, 100 firefighters passed away during training. Not only is virtual training raising the level of education, but it is also saving lives. After reaching records in the number of truck accidents in the United States, companies such as Advanced Training Systems and VR Motion have created learning simulators. Some of them have already been incorporated into secondary schools. In other cases, in order to train personnel in hazardous conditions, BP and Igloo Vision, partnered to create a simulation of their oil refinery in Hull, England, in which personnel training was useful to reduce the chances of repeating the same mistakes in the real world. For firefighters, one of the tools used is Flaim, developed in New Zealand. This tool consists in fighting a fire and it provides firefighters with devices to feel the heat of the simulation. In the coming years, it is expected that the study of catastrophes or accidents will be followed by experiential learning processes, creating situations that have already occurred and others that have already been simulated. This field will also be useful for security personnel in stadiums and major events.
Data Analysis: One of the greatest challenges for analysts is to present the information they retrieve from a football game in real time. Different representations of possession, sense of play or number of effective actions that they need to know. With AR glasses, technicians can watch the game and obtain that information at the same time. Live computer graphics. Chris Kluwe stated in a TED Talk that American football players, a sport played with helmets, will be able to access data such as the speed of the ball, the position of the players, etc. to improve their performance. Concerning fans, many apps have already been developed, such as Virtual Coach, which will allow fans at the stadium to point at a player with their mobile phones and access their data and statistics during the game. Other fields, such as agriculture, are already using AR and Big Data. With the glasses, workers would have all the information on their plantations, crops, or tools available while keeping their hands free.
CATEGORY: MARKETING, COMMUNICATION AND MANAGEMENT
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