Cloud Services to drive the future of sports

Cloud Expert Speak
Cloud Services to drive the future of sports

Phillip Liu, General Manager of Middle East and Africa, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence explains how cloud technology is all set to spearhead the future of sports.

Even though cloud technologies have been bringing multiple benefits to businesses for a few years now, their unlimited applications have continued to be a game-changer for many industries. Cloud computing has helped businesses evolve, transforming legacy services into innovative solutions that meet the needs of both companies and consumers.

In our rapidly changing environment, a wide range of sectors has turned to the cloud to ensure efficiency and business continuity. Take the sports industry, for example – it is on the cusp of a major digital transformation with the cloud poised to redefine key events while also ensuring immense value to athletes, teams, and fans worldwide.

As the industry continues to go through a period of unprecedented change, the ability to recognize this market disruption and respond effectively is more critical today than ever. The pandemic is likely to remain a pressing challenge throughout 2021, therefore it is important for sports organizations to invest in cloud solutions – everything from streaming platforms and augmented or virtual reality to sensor technology that leverages AI, and ‘virtual fans’ – in order to influence and boost their level of year-round engagement.

Intelligent Sports Planning

City and event planners stand to benefit from the digitalization of sports events, particularly from the way innovative sports solutions facilitate smarter planning. This means getting to and from major live events will be smoother and more efficient in the future, as traffic, public transport provisioning, parking, and queueing systems can be optimized through cloud technologies.

Using expected visitor inflows as a basis, event organizers can now assess passenger density around the city and provide bus or taxi fleets based on real-time demand and capacity. This data-driven intelligence and responsiveness can also play a part in managing a contingency, such as a road traffic accident, or expediting response times in case of a medical incident.

At the sporting venue, spectators and organizers can enhance health and safety standards owing to visual AI technology and prediction software.

Event Simulation Services (ESS)
Sport, by its very nature, is a highly competitive pursuit where fans want to be front and center of the action. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud computing companies have conceptualized new solutions to help remote event organizers implement virtual layout plans for the positioning of the equipment, facilities, and cameras.

ESS provide an immersive cloud-based simulated environment to optimize every stage of a sports fixture. In doing so, they eliminate the need for physical venue surveys and rehearsals when a team is planning a global event that requires coordination with sportspersons from multiple countries. During an event, operational adjustments can be made in real-time using ESS that prevent and reduce various risk factors as an event unfolds while optimizing the engagement experience for the event’s stakeholders. In addition, ESS provide plenty of data for post-event analysis.

Press Conference on the Cloud
Traditionally, journalists needed to physically attend press conferences to ask questions and get the required information from organizers. However, through leveraging the cloud, sports organizers today are able to host virtual press conferences that allow journalists to get the insights they need without ever physically stepping into a press conference.

Compared to conventional media conferences, this innovative approach helps broaden the reach and increase efficiencies for the media industry and event organizers alike. It also scales up media influence and impact through enabling journalists to effectively be in two places at once, giving them access to high-quality content and facilitating virtual interactions with representatives from anywhere in the world.

Virtual Fans
Every moment counts at a major sports event – for the competing athletes as well as the stadium-based spectators fortunate enough to watch the action. However, fans cannot always attend their favourite sporting events – at least that was true until now. Thanks to technology, fans can now show their support via the internet – through cloud solutions, fan videos are automatically collected and filtered from a variety of social network platforms, and then curated, checked, and projected onto a jumbotron in a stadium or published on the web portals, resulting in the biggest possible cheer from the world’s sporting fans.

As such, this technology puts fans from all over the world at the center of the action, allowing them to cheer on their favourite teams and athletes from the virtual sidelines and have their videos screened at world-class venues via the internet.

Cloud computing technology is bringing all sports fans – whether they are watching an event live or online – closer to the sports they enjoy. What’s more, this is improving the quality of individual athlete performances, raising the bar on sports events, and providing immersive experiences that enable fans to engage with their sports heroes in new and different ways. For sports teams, associations, and event organizers, cloud services help them build their brand and audience and deliver events seamlessly and securely. These factors are crucial in ensuring that the world bounces back from 2020 and starts welcoming spectators to major sports events once again.