This period before we say our Goodbyes to the old year is always a rollercoaster, but this year it’s all another level because every day we have a chance to sit down for a bit (a long bit) and feel *united* with the whole world. No matter who’s playing, there’s always a team to cheer for, and that’s just beautiful.
Today is all about tech associated with the Qatari World Cup – both inside the stadiums and beyond them.
Unbundling the World Cup… and Qatari tech scene
$300B went into this Cup and that figure includes the tech spending, too. For many reasons, this is the most tech Cup ever. It uses AI to check on all the fans around the 8 stadiums, predict and tackle overcrowding and keep the stadium temperature under control. Plus, there is network of 15,000 cameras with facial recognition tech. This may be on the creepy side… But in general, controlling the crowds is important to prevent chaos, because chaos at a packed football stadium is the last thing anyone wants…
AI is also deployed during matches to help match officials make better offside decisions with the help of 12 tracking cameras mounted below the stadium roof as well as 29(!) data points on each player. Oh, and there is a sensor at the centre of each match ball, which submits ball data 500 times per second. Just wow. 😶
Since the 2018 World Cup, match referees have been relying on VAR system (Video assistant referee) developed by Hawk-Eye Innovations Ltd. It helps them make decisions about goals, penalties, direct red cards and even mistaken identities of players. And when it comes to the players, for the first time ever they can track themselves through the FIFA Player App, which monitors their on-field performance and offers player-tailored insights shortly after a match is over. (So they can keep replaying those goals on repeat :P)
Outside the stadiums, tech is also thriving. Let’s break down the many ways tech is accompanying the hundreds of thousands of fans in Qatar these days.
7 distinct categories, but the list is far from complete. Consider it as a teaser of Qatari tech startup scene. Bear in mind that when compiling the list, I thought of services that World Cup fans would require or need most during their stays.
Esports – and sportstech in general – have obviously gained on importance and Qatar Sportstech is the country’s leading sports accelerator program supported by QDB, Ministry of Economy and Commerce and others. Its alumni are both local and international startups.
When it comes to food, the pockets of F&B businesses in GCC should swell by $6B, most of which will go to Qatari businesses, followed by Dubai (a popular stopover on the way to Qatar). Virtual kitchen operators have felt the most impact in Dubai and their major target are the fans who enjoy watching at home.
And for those tired of Airbnb lofts – would you rather spend the night on a cruise ship? No problem, you can choose from 2 floating hotels.
What shall I add?
Hats off, Qatar.
Image credit: FIFA
TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)
All about tech related to this year’s World Cup in Qatar. I cover tech inside the 8 stadiums as well as tech outside them – in specific, how tech is accompanying fans in Qatar (and not just them). I present an infograph on Unbundling World Cup: 7 distinct areas including esports & gaming, moving around and e-commerce places selling gifts.
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KSA : Mexico is on tonight. That should be interesting.