The soccer championships are over and we are still in awe of the grandeur and thrill that it had kept engaged us. Well, among other thrills there were some tech factors in this FIFA World CUP 2022 that held our attention. It was the first time that the championship was happening in the Gulf states and the innovative technologies involved in the successful execution of the entire event were not to be missed.
World Cup is like an age-old tradition that we would never like to change. However, these technological applications have taught us that technology can always make things better. In this article, we will share the cutting-edge high-tech solutions which were used in the Qatar World Cup 2022.
1. Soccer balls with motion tracking
The first on the list is the motion tracking sensors fitted on the ball. It was developed by Adidas and saw its first application in the FIFA World CUP Qatar 2022. The connected ball technology was used to track every movement made on the ball. Tracking of every kick and header was made possible with this technology. The sensors sent data to the officials who watched the game on electronic mediums. This helped them to decide on the instances where disputes arose during the game and give offside decisions.
2. Offside tracking through semi-automation
The motion sensors backed the semi-automated offside tracking. This technology helped in reducing stoppage time while offside checking during matches. There was a total of 12 cameras installed underneath the roof of the stadium. These cameras were used to track the ball and the 29 data points trackable on the players. This meant that this system sent real-time data about the movements of the players’ limbs at any given point of time during the match.
According to the reports produced by FIFA, these cameras measured the data points up to 50 times per second. This tech applies artificial intelligence to track the offside players. To make it even more exciting, this tech application generated 3D animation detailing the instance of the ball being played which was instantly displayed on the giant screens inside the stadium.
3. Video assistant referees
A world cup match and no controversies on the calls? That is just impossible! To deal with the controversies for a tournament like FIFA World Cup 2022, tech support was much needed. Video assistant referee or VAR had been in use since the 2018 World Cup. In the FIFA 2022 soccer tournament, the VAR was used again to help referees with decision-making.
VAR is used to minimize the errors made by the referees on the pitch. It uses certain algorithms and data points received from the 12 cameras installed underneath the stadium roof and then passes on the collected data to an AI-backed system. The AI system then sends automated alerts to the officials monitoring the match inside a video operation room.
These data help them to understand the nature of the call taken by the referee and inform him. This way the more accurate calls could be taken for the entire championship.
4. Lowering the temperature inside the stadium
One person for whom this entire soccer event in Qatar was made possible and enjoyable, is Professor Saud Abdulaziz Abdul Ghani, popularly known as Dr. Cool. The high temperatures in Qatar were a big resistance for the players to perform and for the huge sports event to occur. Without a proper cooling system, the international tournament was literally impossible. However, cooling such a large space is not the job of standard cooling machines.
Professor Ghani with his intelligent application of technology inside the stadium made cooling the interior atmosphere possible. With his help, new cooling systems were installed which cooled outside air coming inside through pipes. Sensors helped to regulate the temperature between 64 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Insulation and tech-fueled spot-cooling were used in places where audiences were. This entire cooling system was backed with solar energy.
5. AI-backed match predictions
Developed by The Alan Turing Institute, an AI model was used to predict the results of FIFA 2022. The algorithm used the dataset of a GitHub user which is based on the results of international soccer tournaments since 1872. The stress is put on World Cup matches and more recent matches for the datasets. Also, the AI model is fed with official FIFA rankings so that the model can produce an up-to-date estimation of each team’s performance. This year the Alan Turing team ran the AI model 1,00,000 times before predicting the possible winning team.
6. Connected stadium
This AI technology was used in this 2022 soccer championship to aid security officials in crowd management. The AI model was designed to predict crowd surges and intimate security officials of overcrowding. This way issues related to mass gatherings could be minimized with this latest AI-backed technology.
We are not sure whether the semi-automated processes would be replaced by fully-automated processes pushing out the manual work in the future, but technology surely is something that has made a soccer tournament possible in the scorching heat of a Gulf state. Whether it was about the right decision-making during the matches or the correct prediction of the match results, technology ruled the entire event like the king.
Needless to say, the AI model or application of solar technology, this year the FIFA World Cup has shown us that technology in sports matches is going to shape the future of international matches as well. The use of high-tech solutions in FIFA 2022 is said to be the ‘biggest hit’ in the history of soccer world championships.
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