Last updated: 27 June 2016
“Football’s Coming Home”, the Euro 1996 soccer anthem famously went. Twenty years on, the sport’s truly “coming home” to the people that matter most – the supporters. Advances in technology mean fans are set to engage with this tournament’s matches more than ever before, and will be able to become fully immersed in the experience. To celebrate Euro 2016 and the increasing role of technology in the sport, we’re offering our blog readers the chance to win a connected ball and a special match tracking poster, where you can record the tournament results all the way to the final.
To participate, simply submit your details with the quick and easy form below. To win the ball, we need you to channel your inner Paul the Octopus and predict who will win the competition before Thursday 30th June – or the Quarter Finals. With Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Portugal and England among the favorites, we’re interested to see who you’ll pick!
So, how exactly could technology change the way we watch and enjoy soccer in the future? The connected ball is one example of technology enhancing the fan experience – and making training a lot more fun. It comes equipped with sensors, which collects data on all sorts of things such as accuracy and velocity. The data can be transmitted to a smartphone app and used to improve a fan’s soccer skills – hopefully helping them mimic a Cristiano Ronaldo step-over in their back garden. Perhaps one day they’ll be used in official matches to provide cutting edge insights.
The IoT is also allowing fans to bring the stadium atmosphere to their living rooms with lights flashing in their team’s colors. Viewers could use Philips Hue connected bulbs and the IFTTT app to make the moment a team scores extra special.
We’re also excited about the potential of connected smart glasses – these could enable a supporter to adopt a player’s vision or position during a critical moment of play from history. Imagine being able to see through the eyes of Marco Van Basten as he sent an incredible volley into the back of the net to win Euro 1988 for the Netherlands!
The IoT is also driving the creation of ‘Alert Shirts’, which enable supporters to ‘feel what the players feel’. Data transmitted from the footballers’ smart clothing allows the shirt to ‘create sensations’ for the wearer, such as pressure, impact, despair, exhaustion and adrenalin. Supporting your national team could be about to become an even more thrilling and nail-biting experience! Imagine feeling the thump of Andrea Pirlo’s heartbeat as he lined up a beautiful penalty in the shootout versus England in Euro 2012.
For fans lucky enough to be making their way to the soccer stadium, they’re set to benefit from a tech revolution. Fans are starting to say goodbye to paper tickets, which are easy to lose and can be stolen or forged, thanks to secure NFC-enabled wristbands, which can be purchased before the event and loaded with an entrance code. Fans are already able to gain real-time data from matches via intelligent smartphone apps – supporters of Champions League 2016 winners, Real Madrid, can already engage with the club on their smartphones and receive offers from their favorite stadium, the Santiago Bernabeu. It’s not just soccer – the NFL has benefitted from technology, as we mentioned in our previous post.
Don’t miss out on the chance to win a connected ball and match tracking poster. Be a Euro 2016 tech hero and enter our competition! Plus, tell us your views on the role of technology in enhancing the soccer fan experience by tweeting to us at @Gemalto, or by posting a comment below.