Augmented Reality In Sports

A game changer in the sports industry

Augmented reality widely known as AR is a type of digital reality which overlays the real world and provide us the best ever and effective experience. AR is an extension to the VR i.e. virtual reality. AR is becoming very popular specifically in case of various business sectors. Starting from small goods to FMCG to heavy goods and services, AR is helping all the sectors through its phenomenal features. Right from planning to manufacturing and at last, for marketing too, AR is becoming an innovative way of business. Various sectors like education, manufacturing, marketing, training, real estate, etc. are getting the most out of AR nowadays. It is becoming the trend of using AR for business. The market size of AR in future is mentioned in the figure below.

One such industry is also having much higher potential of using AR and that is ‘Sports industry’.

AR in various sports

When we talk about AR in the sports industry, we’ll see how naturally and gradually it has been entering sportsmen’s routine and also in sport competitions. Augmented reality in sports is capable enough to improve the skills of athletes, reduce the risk of failures and the risk of injuries, as well as it enhances the viewing experience for the fans too.

Let’s understand this with a real life example. Now, If you are a fan of cricket, then you must have noted that nowadays, AR is playing a crucial role in decision that if the player is out or not. DRS (Decision review system) is being used which is completely based on the AR. It traces the actual ball and gives us the exact possible picture of the path of it after hitting on the pad of the batsman. This use of AR in cricket is becoming widely popular as sometimes umpires mistake due to common human tendency in judging the LBW (Leg Before wicket). We have been witnessing such incidents where the decisions of umpires are wrong and hence the team gets a fair chance to win.

(Source: Google)

AR also provides the opportunity for those fans that could not get the tickets for any match of football or cricket or tennis or any other such game. AR helps in creating a real-like stadium experience. Panasonic has made it possible and has launched their unique AR solution during CES 2018. Here, they demonstrate the accurate mixture of augmented reality and 3D projection mapping for providing a memorable experience at future stadium.

In fact, with the help of AR technology, Panasonic infuses an interactive infotainment in every moment of the game and provides a rich user experience to the audience.

This YouTube video uploaded by Abt Electronics demonstrates the Panasonic vision of integrating the AR in the future sports stadium.

Augmented reality in sports broadcasting

In this particular application, AR gets it done by merging the realistic 3D graphics and interactive visual contents onto the live video feed of the sporting events.

Besides this, applying AR in sports broadcasting allows us to: –

  • Watch a replay of the match on the studio floor in the form of 3D animations.
  • Watch the footage of the live game projected in 3D on the studio floor.
  • Visualize the trajectories of the ball (or player) with the help of virtual lines and curves.

Check it out by clicking the video link here. It shows the integration of AR in FA cup finals 2017.

After the broadcasting and in-game applications of AR in sports’ industry, let’s now have a look from a player’s side.

AR in practicing

Sportsmen and sports teams with their trainers are always looking for the best way to get better results and to ensure the win in actual game.

AR can become an indispensable tool which will be handled by all sportsmen to get real-time data about every hit, run distance, push, throw, and jump. With this information, sportsmen can correct their actions, change the technique, and make the right decision. For the sport industry, the most convenient ways to apply AR is with smart glasses, AR apps for mobile devices and 3D projections.

For example, in American football, we can implement AR both in practices and games in various ways. One of the possibilities is to use players’ visors like Google Glass to provide sportsmen with the real-time data about the positions, the speed of the ball, match time, etc.

(Source: Google)

AR in sports training

New age professional athletes can now take the aid of augmented reality to better their technique and analyze the pros and cons of their training program. The ability of augmented reality to provide real-time data will benefit the sportsmen during training.

Through the augmented reality sports training program, the sportsmen can get information on every hit and miss, jump, push, throw or distance ran etc. in real-time. This helps them to change or correct their action and take better decisions with regards to their training and performance.

(Source: Google)

After training and practice, Fitness is the next important thing for any sportsman. We can have the best of AR for ensuring the fitness of the players too. How? Let’s see.

AR in Fitness

AR in this section can help us in following two ways.

  1. New way of data

    Using AR in fitness opens new possibilities to gather and analyze information. AR based devices can provide us the real-time data about what is going inside and outside your body. AR apps show information about various important things like heart rate, number of steps, running distance, number of calories burned, etc.

    After the release of iOS 11 and ARKit, we’re going to see more AR apps, including apps for health and fitness. One of the first is Fitness AR. It makes it possible for runners, bikers, and hikers to plan their route and review it in brand-new look. This new app uses 3D landscape map to visualize the bike rides, runs, and hikes.

    (Source: Einfochips.com)

  2. Better workouts

    In case you are totally new to fitness, to start your routine can be challenging. Reaching certain goals demands a lot of strength and knowledge. But how to be sure that what you are doing, you do right? AR technology solves this problem. With such a device as the smart glasses, you can get a virtual personal trainer at your home.

AR also helps in innovative marketing of sports.

AR in sports marketing

One of the major challenges for the sponsors and the organizers is to attract people to watch the game of build up the buzz for the sports events.

So here are a few of the ways, AR can be implemented in the sports marketing campaigns are:-

  • By enabling users to click and share selfies with the realistic 3D snaps of their favorite player or team.
  • By integrating the video contents into Newspapers, which can be accessed by hovering your smartphone over an AR marker (e.g., Team Logo) printed on the corner of a page.
  • To create custom face filters with nation’s flag and enable user to share it on social networking sites.

Apart from the above mentioned ideas, currently the organizers have started to use AR in more creative and effective ways. One of the most innovative ways may be marked as “Virtual Hybrid LED digiBOARD“, developed by Supponor with ADI.

AR for sports fans

For sports fans, each and every game or competition is a pure entertainment. Though, over time, simple watching inevitably becomes not enough. Augmented reality apps in sports can bring some positive change and a fresh breath for the audiences.

The main purpose of AR is to bring the action closer to the viewer. And to achieve it, the initial steps have already been made. For example, in September 2017, the example of such app was set in one basketball league in such a way that the user just needs to point the mobile device in front of the field and on the screen; he/she will see all players’ statistics. Moreover, the information about the speed and the trajectory of every hit will also be given.

Till now, we have talked about AR usage real life games. But what about those people out there who just love to play such games on their smart-phones or on a laptop? Well, AR is there for them also. Let’s check it out how?

AR in sports apps

AR can provide the involving experience to the persons that are playing an AR aided game on their personal devices. Apps like AR table tennis; a new demo video shows a person competing against a virtual opponent, using only one real paddle and a Ping-Pong table.

(Source: Venturebeat.com)

AR shooting game , AR cricket and many more are also becoming a popular sensation among the population.

AR aided apps mixes reality and virtuality and that is what users want for completely experiencing the game without doing much by them.

Conclusion

AR in sports improves two major aspects – usefulness and entertainment. Regardless if you are a professional sportsman or an amateur, you may use AR apps to improve your techniques avoiding injuries. And if you are a sports fan, then AR can be useful to be in touch with favourite players or team during events. And if you base your business in the sports industry, Augmented Reality apps could be your successful marketing tool. Hence, it touches almost every aspect of the sports industry.

Keyur Bhalavat Founder and Director

A young entrepreneur full of intellectual energy and concern that transform into an untiring center of knowledge seeking, unafraid of exploring new and fresh ideas however challenging they may happen to be in the field of technology.