Innovation can come from the strangest of places. We often think of technology being developed by tech companies – as if it’s scientists altruistically working on discovering the truths of the universe. In reality, problem-solving is the number one driver behind inventions. Well, profit maximisation is the number one driver, but the point is that advancements in tech often come from niche problem-solving in specific industries.
Below are 3 industries that help drive technological advancements that don’t always get the credit they deserve.
Sports are constantly evolving in their digital transformation. The way we consume our news from a sport site instead of Teletext is perhaps where it began, but it’s landed us in a position where even the rules of football have changed to accommodate technology such as VAR.
Data is quickly becoming the major currency in sports such as football. Teams of all quality are beginning to hire data scientists and even astrophysicists to develop their approach to data. Such data is often derived from AI (i.e. automatically tracking player behaviours) and is then analysed with AI. Liverpool, one of the greatest teams of the past decade, hired their manager because of a simulation that told them Klopp’s recent performance at Dortmund wasn’t as bad as it seemed on paper.
Player profiling and recruitment is just one aspect of how developments in AI are dictating footballing decisions. When it comes to the fan experience of games, advancements in VR has meant a fan can immersively watch a game as if they were sat in the stadium – not to mention that streaming services are taking over cable consumption.
Of course, sports science has come a long way too, which seemed to start with the introduction of Arsene Wenger in the Premier League, who brought a wealth of nutritional knowledge among other things. But it is increasingly proficient heart rate monitoring and other biometric data that is being cleverly analysed to help optimise rest and recovery – knowing when a player is approaching too much strain for the day in training.
Whilst working from home is becoming more and more prevalent, it’s clear that remote study is also the future too. Whether it’s an avid autodidact or simply a child who is being homeschooled, educational resources are becoming increasingly digitised which is improving their effectiveness.
For example, instead of sitting at a kitchen table trying to do homework being surrounded by a busy household, a child can put on a VR (thus blocking out distracting external sensory input) and be sat in a virtual classroom. This immersion can help create a classroom environment from anywhere.
There are also a ton of education VR games that are pushing the boundaries on what VR can achieve. Educational games can be a great way to not only engage the student better but implement sophisticated learning methodologies and accurately track performance.
Film is also an overlooked industry when it comes to developing technologies – although it’s difficult to know if film advances technology or if technology advances film – or a bit of both.
Everything from the editing and shooting to the distribution and consumption has been digitsed over the years. CGI revolutionised how filmmakers would go about creating effects, meaning creating one-off unique sets or even costumes is no longer needed. If anything, it is the cost-cutting nature of some of this technology that is driving its development.
CGI is becoming increasingly sophisticated which can have positive impacts in other industries too, like the news, implant surgery, retail, social media and marketing. Being able to visualise your potential outfit or cosmetic surgery before you go ahead is extremely useful to consumers, which is why retailers and surgeries are using such technology.
Netflix, which went from a CD rental company to the largest streaming service in the world, showed what potential technology has when it comes to consuming film. In a sense, Netflix even helped progress Youtube and the like, making it commonplace for boomers and such to consume media over their WiFi and on their Firesticks (which is how Youtube is also consumed).
This form of distribution is controversial in the sense that many people believe traditional cinema is suffering. But, it seems that the inevitable progression may be virtual cinema, in which many are already consuming films in the MetaVerse sitting virtually next to their friend.
When reading the news we can get the impression that industries are being shaped by technology – as if it exists and grows in isolation. In reality, it is the competition between companies within certain industries that are fighting to offer the best technology – whether it is firms in education or sports. Being able to supply Software as a Service is also a massively lucrative driver, which is why firms such as Ubitrack work so hard to develop software that can automatically track as many useful data points as possible.