Smart Arenas and the Internet of Things in Professional Sport

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Technological advances have made strong wireless connections and smart devices readily available and applicable to several industries. In professional sports, smart arenas and wearable technology have brought exciting new changes to sports management and athletic training. Fans are becoming more engaged and young student athletes are inspired to train and perform like their favorite pro athletes.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by the Ohio University’s online Master of Athletic Administration program.

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The Widespread Adoption of the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) market is growing every year, and many industries are investing in the technology.

IoT Is Everywhere

IoT consists of billions of smart devices wirelessly connecting to each other. Intel predicts there will be 200 billion connected devices ready to be part of the IoT by 2020.

Industries Are Investing in IoT

Spending on IoT tech is projected to hit $267 billion by 2020. Intel estimates this figure will hit $6.2 trillion by 2025.

While IoT technologies are widespread over multiple industries, 40.2% of the tech is devoted to business and manufacturing, and healthcare claims 30.3% of the distribution. 8.3% of IoT technologies are associated with retail, and 7.7% can be found in security.

Smart Arenas for Fan Engagement

Smart arenas equipped with sensors, cameras, and digital signs connect fans, athletes, and athletic directors via wired and wireless devices.

Connected Technology in Smart Arenas

There are many advantages to having an arena connected with tech devices. It leads to faster Wi-Fi connections and can deliver real-time stats to mobile devices. Fans can order concessions from seats to avoid lines, and if they do get up, giant HD monitors around the arenas ensure they won’t miss any of the action. Smart arenas can also utilize apps to direct fans to available parking spaces as well as their seats. Additionally, they can feature bathrooms with sensors to notify when maintenance is needed, leading to cleaner facilities. Finally, surveillance cameras can be used to monitor crowd behavior for increased safety.

Current Smart Stadiums

The Georgia Dome in Atlanta deploys a 360-degree, 63,000-square-foot HD Video Halo Board during games. The indoor stadium also boasts more than 2,000 video displays and features a security management system that includes traffic control, managed doors, and video intercom systems.

Sun Life Stadium in Miami uses IBMCloud’s Intelligent Operations Center to process real-time data on visitor traffic, weather patterns, fan spending, and social media sentiment. It’s also connected to a mobile app that provides fans with access to scores and stats and allows for information sharing. Additionally, the tech provides fans with alerts to inform them about the shortest concession lines.

IoT for Training and Performance

The IoT and wearable devices assist athletic directors and coaches in training their athletes, while student athletes track pros’ stats as well as their own progress.

Wearable devices can connect pro and student athletes. Devices worn by the pros make sports data available to student athletes to inspire and inform their own training. These metrics include human performance-driven data on heart rate, body temp, and blood lactate concentration. They can also include athletic performance relating to speed, vertical acceleration, and joint angular momentum. Additionally, it can track various sports performance metrics such as tackles in football, speed of serve in tennis, or distance jumped. Finally, they can track various derived statistical data, such as slugging percentage in baseball or goals against average in hockey.

How Can Athletic Directors Monitor Training and Performance with IoT?

Cisco’s Connected Athlete project allows ADs to track athletic activity and performance in several intricate ways. For instance, sensors in an athlete’s shoes collect real-time data to the Cisco Intelligence Network. Data can also stream via stadium Wi-Fi to teams, coaches, and fans during games. Additionally, heart rate and other biometric-related data can monitor an athlete’s health and can help reduce injuries.

Another tracking system that can be used is Catapult USA’s Wearable Athlete Tracking. This system features a computer mouse-sized device weighing a little more than an ounce, which can be discreetly attached to a uniform. It also features gyroscopes, magnetometers, accelerometers, and GPS systems to provide over 100 data points per second. The data culled by the devices can assist coaches with training program design, fatigue, and injury recovery time monitoring. It can also help coaches identify player weakness and can allow them to make athlete-to-athlete performance comparisons.

The Internet of Things and smart devices benefit sports on both a scholastic and a professional level. Smart arenas are changing the fan experience, as well as the training and coaching methods of pro athletes and ADs. Additionally, student athletes gain insight from the same IoT technologies as they nurture their skills.

About Ohio University’s Master of Athletic Administration (MAA) program

Ohio University’s MAA program is designed for interscholastic athletic professionals and others (including athletic administrators and coaches) seeking to advance their careers as interscholastic athletic directors and manage successful athletic departments.

A leader in sports education, Ohio University launched the nation’s first academic program in sports administration. The program works in collaboration with the NIAAA to prepare graduates for certification and is accredited by the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA). For more information, contact Ohio University’s MAA program representatives now.