VR or Virtual Reality is one of the main technologies which will transform and disrupt the sports world big time. Fans, athletes, coaches, gamers, viewers and corporations are stand to benefit from this trend. We discuss 10 powerful reasons why Virtual Reality (VR) is here to stay and sports is to benefit.
Let’s very briefly explain the difference between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality first. VR (Virtual Reality) is a technology that puts you in an artificial real 3D environment. It feels like you are part(icipant) of(in) this environment. In contrast AR (Augmented Reality) overlays digital information on the real world environment, it is the environment which you seen now. Virtual Reality will be a widely used technology in the future. Imagine yourself at home or whereever with your headgear or glasses on! With VR you will have that all immersive real-time 3-D experience.
The sports industry is one of the industries which will change in a major way because of VR. It means participants will have to change their traditional ways of thinking and acting and get their act together. Below we discuss 10 ways how the sports industry will be impacted.
Without a doubt the viewer at home will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Virtual Reality. Tickets sold out? No worries, you still can see the game as if you are at the game. Buy yourself a VR headset and you are in! In what? In the stadium ofcourse! VR will deliver you an all immersive experience you can only dream of!
Imagine sitting in the stadium together with your buddies and watching the game having a 360 degree view. You just turn your head sideways and see your buddy sitting next to you in the stands. Be aware, it is virtual! In reality he will be sitting on his sofa at home, just like you! You can watch with them, have fun, burp and cheer on your favorite team together. It will be a ball like never before!
Broadcasters will offer different packages in the future. You want additional services such as picking your own camera angle? Game on! You want to have a birdseye view? No problem. You want to be in the lockerroom? Consider it done!
Imagine you are a fan and want to experience the feeling of a professional baseball player. Easy! You can train with a real baseball bat that’s tracked in Virtual Reality against real pitchers using the data of these pitchers. You will immediately get insight on how you your swing is compared to other sluggers. Maybe you are more talented than you realise!
Or how about putting on your VR headset and imagine you are the quarterback or striker of a football or soccer team. You will see what the players see, you will feel what they feel, live during the game as it happens! Real time data are sent from the player to you. You will feel their heartbeat, their stress, feel the impact when they are hit or swing their bat or kick the ball! 5 G will allow for such experiences in the future. Simulation seats will even let you feel the G forces, acceleration or tyreslip of a Formula One car! Experience is the buzzword here!
Watch this great video from the Canadian company Dbox and you will immediately understand the great potential on how to get more fans aboard by using Virtual Reality!
For trainers and coaches VR should be a dream! For a start they can coach their athletes from whatever location in the world. With 5G allowing for ultrafast streaming of data collected from sensors and wearables, they will get the necessary realtime feedback from their athletes. Data combined with vision will make their jobs a lot easier. But there is more! What to think of virtual arenas where real game situations can be simulated. This way tactical and strategical skills of players and teams can be hugely enhanced. In fact it will be much easier, safer and cheaper.
VR can for example substitute human pitchers and allow players to practice hitting for as long as they want. Such training can help a lot! Players can strike as many balls as they want, whethher it is a curve or fast ball. Simultaneously pitchers do not overstrain their arms! Pretty useful for both I would say.
The athletes are also to benefit big time. As discussed above, they will be able to train more effectively avoiding injuries and improving their technical skills. This technology will also enable them to train for example inside when it is bad weather. VR combined with 5G will enable them to train virtually (with headsets on) with ultra quick response times, which resemble the real outside circumstances. It opens a wide array of possibilities and will lead to more effectiveness in training. Watch for example this skiing video.
And what to think of virtual arenas, where you can mimic the real match situation? As a player you will be confronted with the noise of the stadium, the lights etc. This way, you will also be able to have the emontional and mental experience as well.
The new generations like to play games. However, many are more attracted to E-games than to sports. If combining the two, you’ve got yourself a winner. Exercising or playing sports is more fun when you gamify them. With your VR hololens or glasses all kind of games are available now, which will encourage you to do sports more often! Watch the video below. It is a good example of exercising in a fun way. Yes, it should move you gamers! There are many more! Here you will find some further great examples.
Also interesting to read: 9 powerful reasons why gamification of sports matters a lot
Whereas participation of traditional sports can be enhanced by games, e-games can also be transformed into real exciting new sports. This is called sportification. What should you think of? Undoubtedly you have heard of the famous e-game Fortnite! Well now, imagine yourself playing Fortnite in an empty factory hall. You will be the live moving participant in your own game equipped with just your VR head gear and artificial gun……it is the 10 times more sophisticated version of paintball. Many more games will follow and a whole tribe of new E-athletes will come to the fore!
Also interesting to read: sportification new mantra of the game industry
The combination of sports integrated with technology will be luring new young participants and such technosports will gain market share! A good example is Hado, which is becoming incredibly popular in countries such as Japan and Singapore. This is an easy one, Hado has everything to become popular amongst the younger generation as it integrates two worlds (sports and technology games) as the video below shows. I can’t wait to try it myself!
VR will also have a huge impact on amateur sports. It not only can help you in improving yous skills, ypu can also do it in the comfort of your home. Just put your headgear on and start rowing or cycling or whatever sports ypu want to do. In my recent blog post (see link below) I discussed the many ways how you can do Virtual Sports. It may create a revolution. You can row in Paris, cycle in the Alps and make friends in between. Holodia is a company that is active in this field but there are many more!
But there is more! Just put on your VR headgear and start a game of golf on St Andrews in the comfort of your home. Or what about the amateur athlete which now can be accompanied by his virtual or holographic coach who is telling him what to do and how to improve. The possibilities are endless!
Also interesting to read: 7 great examples of virtual sports
Whether you are a sports equipment or clothing manufacturer, a fitness company, a broadcaster or whatever yu can think of, the arrival of VR will disrupt you to some extent. Use it or lose it. For broadcasters the little decription of what a viewer wants to experience says it all. Allow for this or you will be out.
Virtual reality is also already used in the design of sporting clothes and equipment design. Designers can create apparel from the customers perspective. It will be fully immersive and will give them th eopportunity to easily change their design. Sports retailing will also change. A VR store will give the customer a store experience at home. Shopping will not be the same. Moreover, you can see yourself wearing this great outfit on the tennis court. VR will do this and visualisation will be real!
The fitness industry also will be in for big changes. Not only will they increasingly have to battle with fitness at home as I described in an earlier post, they also have to offer VR experiences themselves, which makes it more fun to do that boring workout.
Refereeing will also undergo big changes. First of all, VR will provide them with an ideal way to advance their skills to the next level. The video below shows you how. Besides this, don’t be surprised when in four to five years time referees will be equipped with 3D goggles. Satellite tracking will create a live VAR for referees where they virtually can become the player and hence can make a better decision straight away.
You may believe this is all a bit far fetched and still far away, but it is closer than you think. There are many companies busy with this technology as it represents a big opportunity. If you have any comments, please wrire below or send me a mail.
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