Thursday, June 26, 2014

Enjoying FIFA World Cup with Simple, yet Powerful Technologies

As expected, this edition of the FIFA World Cup hasn't spared emotions for soccer fans so far. We watched epic challenges. We have been surprised by some excellent defeats (Spain, England, Italy and more). We discovered Suarez appetite for glory and Van Persie's abilities for a new career in olympic diving.
But the real big thing of this edition is how technologies are helping making the World Cup even more fair, competitive and enjoyable.

The Goal-Line technology has been deployed and is giving a valuable contribution determining when the ball has completely crossed the goal line with the assistance of electronic devices and at the same time assisting the referee in awarding a goal or not.  Clubs and national teams are already using Big Data and tracking technologies that can measure the tendencies of players in very specific situations, helping coaches taking better decisions on team strategy and players' positions.

But What about Supporters?

As a soccer fan I've been totally thrilled by the opportunity of catering my friends living abroad and comment the match of our team along its progression just talking on's second-screen apps, which have been presented some days ago. Plus, the opportunity to see a written second-per-second running commentary on a easy app for mobile phones helped beating frustration when watching a match on TV was simply impossibile.

Furthermore, TOK also offers live statistics and a ball position heat-map during the match progressions, fully disclosing the potential of real-time technologies for sports.

In fact, second-screen apps with live data can drastically improve the event experience for a larger number of sports besides soccer. Formula 1 or MotoGP fans, for example, would take great benefits by companion apps which could show lap time, vehicle position on the track and speed on a common iOS/Android device. It's not hard to imagine a head-to-head feature to follow the final sprints along with a number of live statistics within innovative telemetry and second screen applications.

Back in the days, a Lightstreamer-based solution developed by LBi, a global marketing and technology agency, streamed real-time data from the America's Cup yachts race. Boat positions, external environment parameters and other telemetry data have been tracked and distributed over the web and to programmers through public APIs. Starting from 2010 NASA's International Space Station Live! (ISSLive!) opted for Lightstreamer to display real-time telemetry and mission timeline data from the space station.

We released a Race Telemetry Demo which could be a good starting point to explore the Lightstreamer potential for this kind of apps. Any takers?

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