Social TV

Many people love going to the stadium, to watch their favorite team play. All dressed up, with a beer in their hand, flags, scarves and just enjoying the atmosphere of the game. Others prefer to rather stay at home and watch the game on their TV with popcorn and in their warm and cozy living room, without being soaked with beer during the ecstasy of a goal and ending up deaf because of the loud cheering. For the “coach-potatoes” there is a new innovation called Social TV.

What is Social TV?

James Warren describes Social TV as the “ mass online collaborative experienced that occur in real time during TV broadcasts, extending the viewing experience beyond the google box and towards interaction with the social media.”

It is nothing new following a game via Facebook or Twitter. Whether following a game via TV or Livestream doesn’t matter, anymore says Julian Gradke.

The video below is an example of Social TV during the Copa America Soccer Tournament.

According to Julian Gradke, there might be a time when Smartphones and Tablet PC’s completly replace the TV, by simply following the sport over Facebook or Twitter.

New Innovations

An example for Social TV is the Application Zeebox in the UK, presented by Blogger Martin Bryant. Zeebox combines a UK TV guide with social features. You can log in with Facebook and see what your friends are watching and when celebrities talk about a show or program on twitter. Once you tap on the show can see the cast list, the latest tweets and news about it and a chart tracking popularity.

Here the Promo Video of Zeebox:

My opinion

Social TV can be a nice possibility to follow your team and live your passion where ever you are; whether on the train, waiting for the bus etc. But personally I think I wouldn’t be to fond of it. Firstly, because everybody wouldn’t get their nose away from their smartphone or tablet PC and secondly because the relaxation of sitting on the couch and enjoying a nice game of soccer while others are running around like crazy would be lost.

Technologies? No, thanks. It’s a matter of time

In my Human eye vs. “Hawk-Eye” post last week I gave an example of a technology that is used in tennis when there is doubt about a ball having dropped down on the line or outside the field. It will provide us with an animated video showing with a 3-6mm accuracy where the ball hit the ground. (more…)

Apps for horseback riding?

A few days ago I scrolled through our blog and stumbled over Julia’s post about the Nike app that enhances your running experience. I thought that this was a very neat invention and wondered if there is something similar for my type of sport. And yes, there is!!!

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Human eye vs. “Hawk-Eye”

When we started blogging, annehwr already introduced us to the topic of “the role of technologies being used in sports”. In her post she was also referring to the so called “Hawk-Eye” technology and she touched the debate on whether it is a good tool to be used or not.

Being a tennis player, sometimes I of course watch tennis matches and I follow the big tournaments broadcasted on television. But today I will not talk about the players and their play but about a very helpful tool used during first-elite level matches.

Pressure

Over the last decades, tennis sport has experienced a certain development: the equipment has changed, racquets are made from different materials than before and today there are played courts of artificial surfaces.  This all led to a faster play in general. Along with that there have emerged several cases of officials’ line calling that stirred up controversy. So, there has been increasing pressure from all different parts to adopt a system that will give assistance in line-calling.

Today I will give you the “tennis view” on the “Hawk-Eye” technology and in my next post I will give you a debate and an example of a sport that is not benefitting yet from such technology.

What is “Hawk-Eye” ?

Just to give you a quick understandable explanation: “Hawk-Eye” is a line calling system that works with high-speed cameras placed around the court. This system is recording from different angles the balls’ trajectory and can so compute a 3D image of the ball and the spot where it hit the ground.

It is not only about “in” or ‘’out’’

Jason Tsang writes in his blog about the additional use of the “Hawk-Eye” system apart from preventing the umpire of wrong line calls. He states that this tracking system also allows for statistics that can be also shown to the audience. Further he argues that even the players could benefit during the match from the stats displayed as they could adjust their play.

Opponents

Nevertheless, there are doubters of this technology. Most famous person in this context could be Roger Federer being cited: “A pure waste of money.”

It is to mention that according to Jason the system costs approximately $20,000 to $25,000 USD per week for one court.

Bloggers Anonymous and Geoff are challenging the accuracy of the technology as they are wondering about the balls’ compression and skid and the images proportionality. They claim that the images look as though the ball’s entire diameter always comes in contact with the court (as we can see a perfectly round and quite large imprint of the ball).

Jeff Walker adds that the “Hawk-Eye” system takes out the emotion of a match. He says that if we have had replay back then we would have never seen legendary tirades of players against umpires. He declares that this was definitely more entertaining than a computer spitting out a result.

Proponents

But there are a lot of people who are in favor of  “Hawk-Eye”. Jamea Jackson stated that she feels relieved as she is not wasting any more time on getting angry about wrong umpire decisions (and while being angry loosing points). And she disagreed on peoples’ opinion that the system throwing off the timing and the rhythm of the match.

So, to sum it up I think that James Blake gave a good statement on the use of the system as he argued that the speed of the ball sometimes just makes it impossible to see, even for trained people and that a simple replay can eliminate human error.

Obviously it is a good tool but just like Anonymous observes that the system is mostly only used on the center court (the ONE main court of a tournament) it advantages (only) top players as they can challenge line-calls in order to find out if the ball was in or out. I think there must be found a solution for the cost issue, otherwise this technology will instead of gaining representative value, loose it. All players competing in the same tournament should be given access to the same tools.

Technology as a helping Aid

 In my last blog posts I wrote about how technology is used as sport equipment and how it can enhance the athlete’s performance in a competition and maybe give him/her an advantage over the competitors. Also I covered the subject of disability and how technology can enable a disabled person to become an athlete. Now I would like to show you the non-competitive side of technology in sports: Technology as a helping aid in your training.

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Nike – More than just a smart running shoe

On August, 31 2008 for the first time thousands of  people in 25 cities put on their running shoes and ran together about 5.113.860 kilometers. They started in Taipei and finished in LA. They were all part oft he human race 10K and ran for one goal and finally for one official destination: Nikeplus.com, writes Wolverine.

Nike+ is not just running with a smart shoe and an iPod as I mentioned in my last blog, BUT Nike+ is about inspiring and connecting runners’ worldwide. “They are offering runners new ways to compete and race. It’s an unprecedented way to bring an entirely new running experience to consumers around the globe”, states Trevor Edwards, Nike Vice President for Brand and Category Management on the blog coyle media.

The power of social networks

Pat Coyle explains if you would join the running community -starting competitions by sharing your running data and experiences with the community- this community provides a valuable experience for you. Every costumer who joins the community is adding value to each member and the brand itself. This is called network effect and means that the Nike community is depended on the number of costumers using it. Because of this valuable experience you unlikely switch brands, means you probably stay with Nike. To switch brands would mean leaving your friends behind. The more people join, the more likely a bandwagon effect is created, since more value is added to the community and finally to you.

The community developed into an asset not just for the costumers, but also for the company itself. Thus, Nike has gained valuable Market shares since the last years, as Amy Calistri suggests, because of a stronger brand loyalty towards Nike.

Challenges in the Asian Market

The author of the blog New Views argues that difficulties arise when entering a new market. In Asia for example running is not very common. The target consumers never see it as something they enjoy doing. It’s something very rigorous and painful for them.

Running doesn’t come with spectators

Many people in China living in huge cities crowed by cars, bikes, and rickshaws and on the other hand running cannot provide spectators like basketball and football. Therefore Nike has to find a way to give people in China social currency, that people are worshiped by their friends and in my point of view the Nike+ campaign could help a lot there.

Create a momentum and carry it forward

As the author points out with a quotation of Ms. Huang (Nike’s communications director for Greater China) the company is very confident with the future prospects concerning the chinese market, because there is a positive perception about running right now in China. Nike is certainly aware of the fact that running just will remain a niche sport in China, but hopefully a lot of people become interested and just give it a try.

And maybe there comes the time, were all these people are participants of the –now- annual Human Race by Nike.

They will always keep track..

Working on a Saturday, how awesome is that? I was sitting in the office, spinning around on the office chair waiting for my workmate to arrive. Frankly, doing promotion is not the most fulfilled job in the world but the company I am working for, an uptown fitness center, is quite interesting. So as I was sitting there, bored as hell, I stared at one of the computers of a permanent employee. ‘Hey what’s that?’, I asked. ‘A program to keep track of members’, he answered. ‘Hey how cool is that, how is it called?’ – ‘Membertrack’.

In depth- what is ‘Membertrack’?

Innova Tech Software  is a software company which offers an integrated system of health and fitness assessment and member management software modules. Among other software they also provide this program called ‘Membertrack’ . Now what explicitly does it do? Basically it provides the employee standing behind the front-desk with information about the client when they check in with their cards. The software then shows individual data such as whether the customer can use the sauna or if the usage of a locker is included.

Other member tracking software

Membership Manage Professionals is another example for a tracking and management software. It deals with member payments details, member attendance and multiple bank accounts and transactions. This program can be as well applied to the personal use or other fields than fitness companies. Angelo argues that for him, this software is a ‘must’. He reasons his statement by saying that he is now able to create and send invoices, maintain contact lists, track income and expenses and much more. According to Angelo Membership Manage Professionals is a reliable and easy to use software.

Why is it important to use a good member tracking software?

Cecil recommends to use an efficient CRM (Customer- Relationship- Management) software for several reasons. She supports that idea by the statement that the leads and sales process is of prime importance to any business and that they could be in danger while not managing it properly. A good CRM software can provide the following issues:

  1. Lead Missing: accidently deleting leads or mails going to spam
  2. Lead Log: leads coming from different sources like phones, websites, email, calls can be quite confusing and lead to distribution
  3. Missing contact details: Managing numerous contact details on mails or computers can result in a big loss, tracking the previous conversations with the client and following up on time can also become quite a difficult task.

If you ask me..

..after coping with this topic I realized how important it is to keep track. We learned already how SQL can help us, but there seem to be a lot more out there! Can you imagine working for e.g. an insurance company and overlook all your clients without a tracking program? I doubt that. So it was cool to research on that as I was confronted with it in my daily life and it caught my curiosity.

Disability Sports: Cheating or Support?

When I wrote the post about technology in sports last week I found myself thinking about my position regarding the conflict I wrote about. Up to which point should we allow and use technology in sports? And then an interesting thought came up to my mind: What about the disabled, who compete for example in the Paralympics? They use exceptional technology but not only to increase their performance but primarily to be able to do the sport in the first place. So I asked myself, is this then an exception that we should not include in the discussion mentioned earlier? Should they be allowed to use any technology they want? (more…)

Nike – The smart running shoe

As a passionate jogger, there comes the time where just running is not sufficient anymore even less if one is going to participate in Berlin Half Marathon. I have been at this point for the last weeks and I have been wondering whether I could find out how much kilometers I run in a certain time period. To recreate my routes on Google maps was not an option. So I started researching for something, which could solve my problem. (more…)

The Role of Technology in Sports

The Role of Technology in Sports

From early on sport has always been very important to humans. You can enjoy it either by playing or watching it but either way it is about winning or seeing someone (or some team) win. To be that winning one an athlete, his/her team, his/her sponsors and whoever might have an influence on the athlete’s career, will keep improving his/her condition, training methods and, very important, the equipment that is being used. And here comes a major conflict point in today’s sports: Until which point should technology be used in sports? And what is its role?

Technology as a part of society and sport – or not?

This blog I found, is from the sport and technology debate at the British science festival in 2011 and the videos of the speakers are very powerful. Professor Haake claims that sport and technology have always coexisted and that technology has always been a part of sports. It started with starting heels for the sprints at the Olympics, the sports equipment like a soccer ball, a lawn mower which promoted lawn sports and a timer, and ended (for now) with portable 3D cameras, high speed videos and mew materials like Titanium, to make sport equipment lighter.

According to Professor Haake sport and technology reflect society and those advancement should be allowed – at least up to a certain point. Dr. Parry, also participating in the debate, also claims that technology changes the sporting events into better ones but for him it is a question of which bits of technology WE want. The people want to see the best athlete and not the best equipment, which can turn the competition into an “unfair” game.

Technology as an unnecessary intervention into natural justice

And then there are the more concrete anti-technology opinions. M_Campbell23 states that decision reviews, video replays and goal-line technology ruin the spectacle of games, and reduce them to clinical, quasi-legal inquiries. The administrators always want to get everything right 100% of the time. This though takes the fun out of the game and up to this point sport had survived as the spectacle, which enthralls us without a sub-committee forming to discuss every contentious decision.

Furthermore the blog explains that what these legal guys will never understand is that sport embraces natural justice; their intervention is not necessary. But they stand behind the argument around “well you’ve got the technology there, doesn’t do any harm to use it”. But according to the author it does do harm.

Technology as a modern tool in sports

According to Lionjkt the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) can enhance the games themselves, secure ticketing and boost the quality of the in-stadium spectator experience. It can add value and visibility to different kinds of sporting events and can avoid bad offside decisions. But not only in soccer but also in other sports, like tennis, or marathon racing, RFID is used. It provides a very accurate timing of each athlete (as in the marathon racing) and also helpful video evidence when it comes to off decisions in tennis and similar sports (which are also enhanced by different methods like the Hawk-Eye line-calling system).

Hawk-Eye line-calling system

Technology in Sports – A Conflict in Society

Sport is very important to most of the people in our society, which makes the conflict about technology even more passionate. Some think that technology leads to better decisions and accuracy but on the other side people find themselves angry with all that technology that destroys the real competition that should be about what humans can do, and replaces it with a competition of “who has the better technology”. I think that up to a certain point technology helps to keep the game fair (in the case of offside decisions for example), but when it comes to the equipment the importance of technology should be limited.