Posted on October 07, 2017

Aspiretech brings industry leaders together to discuss future of tech in sport

Leading figures in tech, business and sport met at the nd ASPIRE TECH Conference hosted at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge to discuss new applications of technology in the sports sector. The one-day conference was held on the first day of ASPIRE4SPORT Congress & Exhibition. Supported by Microsoft, CISCO, IBM and Honeywell, topics at this year’s conference focused on innovation and best practices in disruptive technologies and creating modern, digital and interactive stadium experiences for fans. 

Industry leaders agreed that advancements in connectivity and mobile technology will enable clubs and stadiums to deliver more personalised and informative experience to fans.

During the ASPIRE TECH session which discussed digital stadiums and fan experience, Kenneth E. Martin, Executive Director Global Sales, Sports and Entertainment, Consumer Industries for IBM said: “Technological advancements will allow clubs and stadiums to deliver a more personalised and engaging experience for fans attending a match. From the moment a fan purchases a ticket and leaves their front door to attend a live match, they can opt-in to be updated with information which optimizes their route, provides them with relevant information on the teams playing and even offers bespoke coupons for restaurant and entertainment venues nearby based on their likes.”

Daniel Mehaffey, Business Architect, Digital Innovation & Transformation at Microsoft, said: “The industry is making progress in providing fans with greater access to the moments that matter to them; whether that be through additional points of view of the match, tunnel cams or replays of crucial moments. It can all be delivered directly to fans’ mobiles to enhance their match-day experience.” Improvements to security and sporting performance were key themes in the second discussion at ASPIRE TECH, which discussed the impact of disruptive technologies on sports.

On security, Dima Tamimi, Director of Smart Cities, Mega Events and Vertical Industries, High Growth Regions at Honeywell, said: “Facial recognition technology is improving tenfold every 3-6 months, so its quality today vs what it will be in a year is tremendous. The technology will be able to identify and alert any potential threats across an entire venue at rapid speed. For example, just one person will be able to watch up to 300 cameras at a time and if something out of the ordinary occurs the venue operator will be notified to the problem by the technology. Security can be deployed much faster to diffuse any potential problems, ultimately reducing risks to fans.”

John Short, Global Business Development Executive at IBM’s Sports and Entertainment Practice, said: “Artificial intelligence and machine learning is fundamentally changing how the sports industry views player performance and health. It allows clubs to make more informed decisions on when to rest players, how much time to give individual players to recover and ultimately, how to optimise their performance on the field.” Reflecting on the ASPIRE TECH conference, Aspire Zone Foundation Manager for IT Strategy & Operations, Krishnakumar Kottekkat, said: “Technology is rapidly changing how consumers and businesses approach sports. To deliver a better experience for fans and optimize the performance of athletes across the world, We need to work together to continue to innovate and push the boundaries of technology.”

Ibrahim M. Jaidah, CEO and Chief Architect of the Arab Engineering Bureau, which designed the Al Thumama Stadium for the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar, said: “We consider technology in the earliest stages of designing new stadia. We are working in collaboration with the world’s leading tech companies to deliver the best experience for fans at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”

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Aspire Academy Director General says Qatar can compete with world’s best in 2022

At the opening of this year’s ASPIRE4SPORT Congress & Exhibition, delegates from the world’s biggest football clubs were told about the huge progress being made by the Aspire Academy and the Qatar Football Association in the build up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™. Ivan Bravo, Director General of the Aspire Academy in Qatar, delivered a speech outlining Qatar’s football development programme and the journey Qatar’s young players are undertaking in order to compete with the best teams in the world in 2022.

Speaking at the ASPIRE4SPORT Congress & Exhibition, he said: “Despite some people being skeptical about whether Qatar can compete in 2022, we think very differently. We have no doubt that the team in 2022 can make things happen and compete with some of the best teams playing.” He noted that the Qatari Football Association has worked with the Aspire Academy to identify a footballing philosophy that will define how the national team play at the World Cup, with players coached in those playing principles through all stages of their development.

He said: “We want to be an aggressive team that plays with depth and width. That has structure and solidarity. All of our coaches believe we are on a mission. But we want all our players to believe in the model so we can compete with the rest.” He noted that central to Qatar’s football development model is instilling a belief in the players that “the kids from the neighborhoods in Doha can compete with the rest in the world.” He added: “We want to create a sense of national pride in those that want to play for Qatar. We want to see a real passion for wearing the national jersey.”

The approach to player development has been to ensure that Qatar’s players are constantly facing new challenges so that they are prepared for what is to come at the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™. Bravo added: “All these guys are coming up very quickly. Feeling the jersey and feeling the pride.” One strategy being implemented by Qatar Football Association is allowing its youth players to compete at tournaments against older players, in the belief that facing difficult challenges early in their career means that they are better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. In what is a sign of the progress being made, players from Qatar recently been competing with players from Belgian’s Jupiler Pro League and Spain’s La Liga.

 

Aspire4Sport Congress & Exhibition

One of the major themes from the first day was the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™, with a focus on the progress being made both on and off the field by the Qatar FA’s football team, and the development of the Qatar’s stadiums in the run up to the event. In a speech delivered to delegates, Ivan Bravo, Director General of the Aspire Academy in Qatar, said: “Despite some people being skeptical about whether Qatar can compete in 2022, we think very differently. We have no doubt that the team in 2022 can make things happen and compete with some of the best teams playing.”

This message was supported by footballing legend Kevin Keegan. In a Star Chat, hosted by Sky Sports’ Hayley McQueen, Keegan said that he believes the World Cup will be a success: “I think Qatar will surprise a lot of people with the World Cup. I think it will be a great world cup, no doubt about it.”

In another Star Chat later in that day, Qatar’s high jumping world champion Mutaz Barshim, discussed his ambition to inspire future generation of athletes to do great things, both in Qatar and around the world. He said: “I want to be remembered for being the greatest ever. I want to be someone that inspires people to get out and do something with their life.” He also highlighted how partnering with the Aspire Academy has helped him to not only compete with the best athletes in the world, but to beat them, as he did by winning gold at the most recent World Championships held in London.

He said: “The Aspire Academy is the pillar for sportspeople in Doha. Not just in football but also for athletics. At the Aspire Academy, there are so many people working hard to make sure Qatar has athletes performing at the highest level. The most important thing the Academy taught me was self-confidence. It changed my mindset as an athlete, as I started to see myself as a professional athlete in my mind. Another thing they gave me is time. Some parents think sport is a waste of time, that you should concentrate on your studies. But with the Aspire Academy, I didn’t have to choose. I received both the best sports training and an education delivered to the highest standard. Here you have everything in the same place, along with the best coaches and the best facilities.”

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Global sporting greats praise the first day of ASPIRE4SPORT Congress & Exhibition in London

Today marked the first day of the ASPIRE4SPORT Congress & Exhibition in London, a two-day event held at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge, designed to shape the future of the sports industry, enhance the fan experience and spread best practice in athlete development. In attendance was HE the Minister of Culture and Sports Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali, Qatar's Ambassador to the United Kingdom Yousef bin Ali Al Khater and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) Secretary General HE Hassan Al Thawadi as well as Chelsea F.C.’s Chairman, Bruce Buck.

The Aspire Academy welcomed some of the world’s leading tech companies, major European and Qatari sports industry professionals, as well as representatives from 80 of the world’s most prestigious football clubs – which form part of the “Aspire in the World Fellows” community – including Manchester United, Arsenal, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Juventus. This bespoke and unparalleled attendance made the event one of the largest and most influential gatherings of its kind anywhere in the world.

There were also sporting greats in attendance, including former Italian coach, Arrigo Sacchi, one of the most influential managers of all time, former Newcastle United coach, Kevin Keegan, as well as Aspire Academy graduate, and Qatar’s high jumping world champion Mutaz Barshim, the second highest jumper of all time. Former Netherland international footballer Ronald de Boer was also in attendance. Speaking at the event, Arrigo Sacchi, who managed one of the greatest AC Milan teams of all time, said: “It’s a great event which has been really well organized. I think the event is really important as it will help people to evolve and to improve. Listening to others, comparing with others, it’s something that will make you better.”

One of the major themes from the first day was the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™, with a focus on the progress being made both on and off the field by the Qatari national football team, and the development of the Qatar’s stadiums in the run up to the event. In a speech delivered to delegates, Ivan Bravo, Director General of the Aspire Academy in Qatar, said: “Despite some people being skeptical about whether Qatar can compete in 2022, we think very differently. We have no doubt that the team in 2022 can make things happen and compete with some of the best teams playing.”

This message was supported by footballing legend Kevin Keegan. In a Star Chat, hosted by Sky Sports’ Hayley McQueen, Keegan said that he believes the World Cup will be a success: “I think Qatar will surprise a lot of people with the World Cup. I think it will be a great world cup, no doubt about it.” In another Star Chat later in that day, Qatar’s high jumping world champion Mutaz Barshim, discussed his ambition to inspire future generation of athletes to do great things, both in Qatar and around the world.

He said: “I want to be remembered for being the greatest ever. I want to be someone that inspires people to get out and do something with their life.” He also highlighted how partnering with the Aspire Academy has helped him to not only compete with the best athletes in the world, but to beat them, as he did by winning gold at the most recent World Championships held in London. He said: “The Aspire Academy is the pillar for sportspeople in Doha. Not just in football but also for athletics. At the Aspire Academy, there are so many people working hard to make sure Qatar has athletes performing at the highest level. The most important thing the Academy taught me was self-confidence. It changed my mindset as an athlete, as I started to see myself as a professional athlete in my mind. Another thing they gave me is time. Some parents think sport is a waste of time, that you should concentrate on your studies. But with the Aspire Academy, I didn’t have to choose. I received both the best sports training and an education delivered to the highest standard. Here you have everything in the same place, along with the best coaches and the best facilities.”

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