Sport and technologies
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    Sport and technologies

    The sport and technologies are the stimulators for people to move forward. Sport helps to develop physical part, technologies  The Olympics as a promoter of the latest technologies, the 2020 Games in Tokyo became the first Olympics where ultra-fast 5G communication and, accordingly, augmented and virtual reality technologies were used. Historically, the Olympic Games have been a grand platform for popularizing technological achievements. The Japanese edition of Japan Times recalls what modern technologies were widely used after their demonstration at the Olympic Games. The most striking example is the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta (USA), when the Internet was used for the first time and the rapid development of digital technologies began.


    Until 1996, television was the main means of transmitting information, but a lot has changed by the Olympics in Atlanta. To encourage technological innovation, that year the US government amended the Communications Act of 1934, allowing telecom operators and broadcasting corporations to operate in each other's markets. This helped NBC and Microsoft to jointly create a news company MSNBC to cover the Olympic Games in Atlanta. For the 1996 Olympic Games, Intel announced Intercast technology, which allowed you to simultaneously view TV shows and information from the Internet. By inserting the TV tuner card into a personal computer, the user could watch TV shows in one IntercastViewer window, and HTML web pages in another. After its debut at the Olympics, Intercast was used by several television networks, including NBC, CNN, The Weather Channel and MTV2. At the same time, at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, the largest credit card company Visa Inc. deployed a Visa Cash non-cash payment system (a smart card with a built-in chip could be either one-time or replenished by transferring money to it from a personal bank account through a network of specialized ATMs). The electronic money system allowed the guests of the Olympics to ride trains, pay for small expenses easily and quickly, without cash.


    The key games in terms of stimulating technological innovation were the 2012 Games in London. This was the first Olympiad that was held after smartphones became very popular all over the world. The spectators came to the Olympic venues with their smartphones and could not only cheer for the athletes at the stadiums, but also watch the games in general, follow other events through the screens of mobile devices. For the Olympic Games in London, the telecom operator BT Group and the BBC TV company have joined forces to provide streaming services. So people got the opportunity to watch competitions that were not broadcast on television. We can say that the success of streaming of American companies, such as YouTube and Netflix, began with the Olympic Games in London. The BBC also filmed and broadcast the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the main competitions using 3D technologies around the world. Tokyo 2020 (2021) Japanese IT companies have extensively used the Tokyo Olympics to present their technologies to the whole world. For the first time since its launch, 5G wireless communication was used here, which supports AR/VR technologies. Due to the pandemic, the competitions were held without spectators, so a modern competition viewing system using 5G technologies was used, which was developed by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT) and its partners. The spectators of the sailing competitions watched videos from special drones and high-definition cameras installed on the boats. In swimming, NTT introduced special augmented reality glasses that allow viewers to view information about the distance and profiles of athletes superimposed on the video of the swims. At the Tokyo Olympics, they also tested the face recognition system developed by NEC Corporation, which is relevant in the era of the coronavirus. The system controlled the entrance of athletes and officials to the competition venues. The faces of the incoming users and even their badges were read. Japan's largest automaker, Toyota Motor Corporation, announced the prospects in the mobility sector and the great future of automated driving technology. An unmanned electric bus e-Palette was delivering officials of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo to the facilities. Other technologies in the spotlight include technologies with artificial intelligence, such as the Fujitsu gymnastics evaluation system, which uses artificial intelligence and 3D laser light, which was supposed to help judges evaluate the performances of gymnasts. And 4K/8K broadcasting technologies have helped viewers watch the Olympic Games in ultra-high resolution. Drones were also used to recreate the logo of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the night sky at the opening ceremony. But this is rather a continuation of the history of drones at the Olympics — their first spectacular appearance was at the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang (South Korea) in 2018. History shows that various technologies were developed after they were demonstrated at the Olympic Games. "The last Olympic Games in Tokyo, in turn, will become a catalyst for the wider use of augmented and virtual reality technologies," the Japanese publication concludes. The concept of sports has been changing and expanding for a long time. Back in the days when chess and checkers were declared sports, it became obvious that not only trained muscles can be a decisive factor in sports competitions. By the way, when did chess become a sport? The International Olympic Committee recognized FIDE and chess as a non-Olympic sport in 1999, but at the national level such recognition occurred much earlier: for example, in the USSR, the title of master of sports in chess was introduced in 1935. And bridge was honored to be recognized by the International Olympic Committee 4 years earlier than chess. Well, now the expansion of the concept of sports is influenced by two important factors — the development of information technologies and biotech. The video game industry gave birth to esports, which, by the way, is included in the Russian register of sports by the order of the Ministry of Sports of 2016. Since the potential variety of computer games and virtual reality is limitless, it is impossible to imagine what scale esports competitions can reach in the future and how many different championships there will be in various games. The idea immediately comes to mind that AR — augmented reality technologies will come to any area where VR technologies are used today, tomorrow. Perhaps the main drawback of esports is the limited physical experience of the player. Whatever happens in virtual reality, the player must sit at the computer. Here, augmented reality technologies come to the rescue. In essence, we are talking about the synthesis of the possibilities of computer games and such sports and tactical games as paintball and airsoft. By the way, these games themselves can still fight for their place in the world of big sports and the Olympics, but they will be able to achieve much greater success if they are "enhanced" with the help of AR. A sports game with augmented reality in the foreseeable future may become one of the most popular and spectacular types of sports. The player in it will not be tied to a computer, as in ordinary esports: he will still have to run, shoot, overcome obstacles, etc. But for the player himself — and, most importantly, for many viewers — it will look as colorful and accompanied by the same number of special effects as video games or movies "Goalkeeper of the Galaxy" and "First Player get ready". A sports hall can turn into outer space or a mountain gorge, in which jumping over precipices is possible, and a children's electric car can become an aircraft capable of moving in three dimensions. Of course, to" cheat " such a game will require huge computing power; it will not be cheap. You can do without the direct participation of a person. There are already "Robot Battles", which, we note, are competitions not only between operators who control self-moving devices, but also between their development teams. Since robotics is developing rapidly, the formats of such a" new sport " as robot battles are likely to become more diverse. We should expect competitions of unmanned aerial vehicles, competitions of floating robots, competitions of robots on the accuracy of manipulators, on the speed of work, on overcoming obstacle courses by robots; maybe even competitions of industrial and warehouse robots — who knows? Finally, you can imagine competitions of mixed teams, including — as is quite often the case in science fiction-both people and robots. Now let's turn to the world of biotech. Already today, big sport has been divided into two main sections that differ in the physical status of participants: there is sports and there are para-sports competitions for disabled people. However, disability today is the object of the use of the latest technological solutions, and now there is a "cyberathletics" - competitions of people with high-tech prostheses. Meanwhile, biotechnologies promise us various improvements of the human body in the future. The dreams of science fiction writers about cyborgs — that is, the synthesis of technology with biological organisms-are gradually becoming a reality. Thus, just as in many sports, there is a differentiation of athletes by weight categories, and at the" macro level " there is a separation of ordinary sports and sports for people with disabilities, so in the future there may be special competitions for those whose bodies are improved in one way or another — starting with cyber prostheses. Modern big sports tries to reject biotechnological improvements of the body — and prohibits doping. Obviously, an athlete with high-tech prostheses will also not be allowed to participate in jumping or running competitions. But, probably, the way out will be to allocate the owners of" enhanced " bodies to a special category and hold separate competitions for them. We have yet to find out what kind of improvements — not only technical, but chemical, biological, even genetic — biotechnologies can offer for the athlete's body. Moreover, cyborgization is possible not only in the irreversible form of prosthetics, but also in a lighter format — through "wearable gadgets", such as exoskeletons and robot suits. A separate kind of sport that we will see is the competition of people in robot suits; in fact — it is again a synthesis, this time between ordinary sports and the "battle of robots". As in the case of other technical sports, such as auto racing, the victory in such sports will depend on the skill of the athlete, on his technical team, and on the developers and manufacturers of means to enhance his bodily capabilities. Sports will continue to exist as a competition of people and even in some sense a competition of human bodies — but only bodies that are continued into virtual reality, into augmented reality, into the reality of robots imitating people and devices that enhance the capabilities of the body. As for traditional sports, they will not disappear anywhere, but, of course, they will attract less attention to themselves: competition from new types of competitions will increase every decade. In Germany, they came up with how to make cyborgs out of people The German company Bosch has developed innovative smart glasses that can make a real cyborg out of any person. Smart glasses from the company not only analyze everything that happens around events and objects, but also transmit information important to their owner directly to the retina of the human eye. Judging by the film "Terminator", this is how the hero of Arnold Schwarzenegger analyzed the world around him. That is, in the store, the owner of such glasses can receive information about the products on the shelves, they will tell the drivers the right route, and in the cooking process they will help with recipes. The technology is called Light Drive, and the solution based on it can be installed in any ordinary glasses that a person uses, Bosch explains on its website. Now it consists of microscanners( MEMS mirrors), optical elements, sensors and intelligent software. A holographic element is embedded in the lens, the reflection of light from it "receives" a microelectromechanical scanner and then projects it onto the retina of the eye. The solution weighs very little, only about 10 g. The solution can be supplemented with smart sensor chips from the company, for example, a pressure sensor, a compass, an accelerometer. Thus, the glasses will be able to understand the language of touch, and in the future-gestures. The company promises that the images will be clear and bright even in the conditions of a sunny day. The company will show the new development for the first time to visitors of the American technology exhibition CES in January 2020 in Las Vegas. It is expected that the company will not produce smart glasses independently, but will integrate the new technology with manufacturers already operating on the market. The tiny size of the system will make it an ideal addition to traditional glasses, the company believes and expects big sales: after all, 6 out of 10 people around the world today wear glasses. "The Light Drive system is the smallest and lightest solution on the market and can convert almost any glasses into smart ones. With such glasses, users get a lot of new navigation information and short messages. This makes driving safer and eliminates the constant "glancing" at smartphones or smart watches, " says Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO of Bosch Sensortec. It is expected that the new devices can enter the market as early as 2021. The games begin: why do investors need esports The prize fund of The International Dota 2 esports tournament exceeds 1.5 billion rubles ($25 million), and the leading players one by one become ambassadors of the world's leading brands. For business, participation in the industry provides an ideal opportunity to reach a young audience that is not covered by TV broadcasting (primarily through integration into broadcasts and sponsorship). Investors also see the potential for earnings in the new market. They have already tasted the market abroad: according to PWC, in the United States alone in 2018, private investors invested $1.8 billion in esports startups. Russia is also catching up — so, in 2018, ESforce esports holding acquired for $100 million Mail.Ru Group. So what can the gaming industry and esports as an important part of it offer investors in reality? We will briefly tell you about the main market trends that we discussed within the framework of SmartTalk "No more toys: how to make money on virtual reality?" (the organizer was the company "Rosgosstrakh Life"). The market for growth At a minimum, the industry is attractive to investors due to its active growth dynamics. So, according to PWC, if in 2014 the market volume barely reached $200 thousand, then in 2019 it promises to come close to $1 billion. According to Yaroslav Meshalkin, Director of Strategic Communications at ESforce Holding, between 6 and 12 million people are already involved in the esports market in Russia, and the volume of the industry in money is $45 million. So far, this is only 5% of the global market, but it is already the largest in Europe. Dmitry Nuriakhmetov, Head of the Investment Department of Rosgosstrakh Life, offers more impressive estimates. He clarifies that the audience of games around the world is about 2.5 billion people, to some extent connected with the market, that is, it is more than one in three on the planet. According to him, the global esports market demonstrates growth rates higher than the IT market as a whole and, according to Goldman Sachs forecasts, it can show an increase of 350% in five years.

    Equating to sports

    A bonus for potential investors of the industry promises to be the relative clarity of forecasts regarding its future. According to Maxim Dreval, the founder of the international online learning platform in the field of esports Learn2Play, from the point of view of forecasts, it is possible and worth focusing on the dynamics of the traditional sports market. "In fact, the market repeats the model of any popular sport, and if you really think about how and what will develop in the industry, it's enough to see how it happens in sports," says Maxim Dreval. The advantages of the industry are in speed: so, if conventional football has been going to the podium for decades, then in esports it will only take years.

    Monetization of rights

    According to Dmitry Nuriakhmetov, the entire gaming industry, including esports as one of the parts, will show better profitability in the next 3-5 years than the market average. In his opinion, this trend is primarily due to the organic growth of the market due to the involvement of an increasingly mass audience. But it will also be of great importance to overcome the technical limitations associated with the insufficiently powerful computers of most players (according to the Steam platform, more than 50% of users ' computers remain such). Already today, there are technologies that allow you to transfer computing power to remote servers, and only broadcast an image to the end user's devices. However, the industry faces the problem of meeting the current high estimates. As Yaroslav Meshalkin clarifies, for example, the assessments of American esports clubs are more likely to correspond to the models of IT companies. Two growth points will allow esports to meet expectations — the monetization of media channels (primarily broadcast rights) and the transition to a paid subscription model for content or services. Where to invest? One of the possible approaches is investing in talents, or esports players and teams. According to Maxim Dreval, it is worth investing more in promising players, because in this case, the multipliers will grow disproportionately at the output. In particular, there is no strict regulation in esports that restricts the investor in the rights to players (as, say, in the same football), and the age of esports players is often very small, which affects the cost of contracts. Investments in shares of companies involved in the gaming industry remain a more structured approach. Such can be manufacturers of game content — Chinese Tencent and American Activision Blizzard, Amazon with the Twitch platform and, of course, manufacturers of specialized equipment, such as NVIDIA, says Dmitry Nuriakhmetov. For investors in the industry, there are also protected tools on the market. Among the latter are products related to life insurance (for example, in the first half of 2019, the Rosgosstrakh Life strategy for the gaming industry showed +10%). "We are looking towards investment solutions, we are looking for strategies for clients, and the gaming industry is one of the directions," Dmitry Nuriakhmetov said.



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