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Beyond Goal-Line Technology: A Seamless FIFA World Cup?

Funny how when I started researching this article about technology at the FIFA World Cup, the first thing that came up was the debate as to whether or not to use goal-line technology to determine whether a goal happened or not – didn’t realize that with all of those eyes and cameras already there that we actually needed more technology to figure that out. Well, if it stops the bickering, I’m all for it. Of course, even if we use it, I’ll bet if it the goals don’t go their way, we’ll start hearing shouts of “Who programmed that technology?!” from the losing team. Reminds me of the whole “who programmed the US voting machine” scandal from a few years back. We may never know. 😉

But I digress. I’m not in Brazil but would love to hear from those with boots on the ground – is it a seamless World Cup? Are you able to use your smartphone to walk directly to your seat in the stadium? Are you able to order food and drinks from your seat, delivered directly to your seat? More importantly, are you able to see the latest replay sent seamlessly to your phone while you are sitting in the stands, without you asking for it? Of course, in a seamless world:

1. Your tickets would be purchased well in advance for you as soon as they went on sale, since it knows you are a fan

2. Your seats would be selected for you automatically based on your personal preferences

3. Your friends on Facebook would be told where you were sitting and be invited to join you

4. On the big day, your calendar would alert you when you had to leave to get there in plenty of time, based on the amount of traffic, both people and cars, that you will encounter on the way. Using GPS and BLE sensors embedded all over the stadium and vicinity, it would be able to tell you exactly how long it would take for you to get from where you are to where you need to be – and even suggest less polluting method to get there – walk or talk public transit.

5. Once you got there, it would detect your presence and guide you directly to your seat

6. You’d be able to order food and drinks as above

7. During play, contextually relevant information regarding what is going on, such as the backstories of the players, the plays which are going on, other games – the history of this match and location, would be streamed to you during the match

8. On close plays, instant replays would be streamed to your phone so that you can watch without you asking for them

9. A life log of the event could be streamed from your phone to everyone you know while you were watching. You could resend key moments to your buddies automatically

10. Once the match is over – directions to your car – or the nearest bar if you won – would automatically come to your phone.

11. A few hours later, your phone senses that you aren’t able to drive home, and calls an autonomous car to pick you up and take you home

12. A few days later, a t-shirt in your size appears on your doorstep, a memento of the match

Of course, some of these things are here now – others are not quite here. But as William Gibson famously said “The future is already here, its just not evenly distributed” – so if you ask me, all we need to do is to distribute the future.