It is an unquestionable reality that technology plays an increasingly important role in the world of sports. Of course effort, talent and even certain doses of fortune remain essential in the pursuit of excellence in triumph, but the most advanced Technological tools, such as telemetry, artificial intelligence, big data or virtual reality can contribute in a fundamental way to achieve that goal more effectively or quickly.
Perhaps they are more popular its applications in motor sports, with its maximum expression in the Formula 1 or MotoGP, where their constant presence has brought these advanced solutions closer to fans. But they also enjoy a significant prominence in most disciplines today, both in the preparation of the athletes themselves, the management of the clubs or the work of the coaches. Own Rafael Nadal improved his mythical forehand after a detailed telemetry study, a mere example of the influence of these technologies in sport at any of its levels.
To discuss the value of data and telemetry, AS organized a writing meeting, in collaboration with HP, in which four experts in the field they expressed their opinions on the matter. It was about Catalina Roa, Marketing Director of HP Iberia; Patricia Pozuelo, Technical Sales Director for EMEA and Chief Technology Officer for Intel Spain; Hector Martin, communication and marketing director of HRC in the MotoGP World Championship and Esteban Granero, professional footballer and founder of Olocip, company specialized in artificial intelligence applied to sports.
It was Catalina Roa, with his perspective from an industry leading company like HP, who began by explaining what technology has acquired a new dimension in telemetry thanks to the development of computational power: “From HP our goal has always been help the customer with their needs. In the case of the team MotoGP Honda, when we started working with them to implement telemetry solutions we found that we had a line of computers that fit the bill perfectly with your demands. The Z line is a high-performance range, with power and capabilities that are essential for the job. It is also durability is very important, They are teams that travel all over the world and that move on the circuits, so they must be resistant but at the same time light ”.
Patricia Pozuelo, from Intel, share constant evolution experienced by processors and their consequent advantages in the application to the world of sport: “We we associate telemetry with data, to your measurement. Intel changed its strategy in 2018 and now we are precisely a data-centric company. Our mission is to treat this data, process it and by handling it we can help to better predict what is going to happen and get better marks or results. For this we use devices such as sensors or 3D cameras that allow these data to be obtained for further processing ”.
From the most practical approach of the professional athlete, Esteban Granero agrees in endorsing the relevance that these technologies have in sporting activity: “Footballers and clubs seek to optimize performance, as in any other specialty. We what we are monitored, thanks to the technologies of sensorization that collect information through balls, shin guards or vests. And another technology that is very booming is computer vision, that is to say, without the need to have any type of sensors that are cameras that provide this performance data ”.
A valuable help
Hector Martin knows perfectly the value of telemetry applied at the highest level, as is the premier category of the Motorcycle World Championship. And it highlights its importance to facilitate the complex task of the adaptation of the machines to the requirements of the rider: “For a couple of decades computers have been part of our lives in MotoGP, but it is true that it is becoming more and more important. get the most information in the shortest time possible. Therefore they need powerful equipment, This allows us to handle much more data, essential to anticipate what may happen and advance performance. In our case, the help that HP and Intel give us is essential, with equipment that meets such demands ”.
One of the priorities for most companies, including of course technological ones, and for society in general is The sustainability. In this sense Catalina Roa explain to what extent the tools are sustainable to which we refer: “For HP, sustainability is a priority right now, we want to be the most sustainable and fair technology company. It is something that is reflected in our catalog and of course the Z line is no exception. For example, the plastic used in these products it is recycled from recovery in the oceans, the manufacturing process uses renewable energy, exist substances that are restricted for use on computers, we have reduced the single-use plastic by 19% … We are concerned about society, people and the planet ”.
It is a philosophy shared by Intel, as detailed Patricia Pozuelo: “In our company we invest every year in sustainability, posing a series of objectives such as reducing emissions in production or limit the generation of waste. In fact, by 2030 our goal is to create zero waste to the landfill, that is, all technologies are reused or recycled. Refering to carbon footprint, our devices are designed to function more and more with less energy consumption ”.
Returning to the more practical aspect of the use of technologies, Barn is a good connoisseur, through his company Olocip, of the perception that athletes and clubs have of them: “The evolution of technology associated with data is growing a lot in sport. Now everyone knows what its use can bring, the important thing at this point is to know how to do it, discover ways to get the most out of that information. It is useless to have a lot of data if it is not used correctly, it can even generate rejection if it is not translated into really useful information, generating knowledge and creating predictions ”.
Data management and telemetry are not only applicable to elite sport, although at that level it reaches its maximum expression. In the case of motorcycling, Hector Martin believes that it also serves for talent detection: “The computer is one more member of a competition team, either in the World Cup or in lower categories. We can control the physical appearance, the performance on the track, the feeding patterns … That does not mean that the talent of a pilot is superior, but it does it is an aid to achieve the objectives and squeeze those capacities ”.
The virtual reality and artificial intelligence they are gaining ground in sports. And it is Patricia pozuelo who discovers how its implementation is taking place: “The use of virtual reality allows emulate real-world scenarios in which athletes can simulate that carry out their activity. They make it easy to do tests that create algorithms that they can be trained for optimal performance. At Intel we have a business unit that is dedicated exclusively to artificial intelligence, with the aim of applying it to our processors, even in equipment for common users that in this way will have a greater capacity to process the data, thus squeezing the technology to get the best of oneself “.
This constant technological development requires qualified professionals, even specialized in the world of competition. Catalina Roa analyzes the current situation of this sector in Spain: “Talent is essential, more engineers are needed who are capable of entering the world of sport. And I wish there were more women who were interested in technology, perhaps it is thought that this is a very masculine world, but I consider that women have their space and we must all build it ”.
All these comments and explanations clearly reveal that the influence of technology on sport will be more important every day and that its practitioners, at all levels, will benefit from its advantages, something in which they will play a crucial role projects like those of companies who participated in this debate.