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Super Bowl 2014 And Google Glass, Revolutionizing Lifestyle Computing

Jan 29 2014, 9:05am CST | by

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Super Bowl 2014 And Google Glass, Revolutionizing Lifestyle Computing

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Super Bowl 2014 And Google Glass, Revolutionizing Lifestyle Computing

The NFL is a curiosity to us Europeans, at least those of us who follow major sporting events. As Super Bowl 2014 comes round we are expecting more marketing innovations – something to match last year’s OREO opportunism, perhaps? We’re not so taken with the game itself. But something else is happening to stir our interest. The rise of the wearable computing revolution.

Wearable computing can revolutionize every day sport, not just for the season’s biggest event. In fact, like everything else in mobile, once it catches hold we know it will revolutionize sport, in particular the in-stadium experience (but my guess is it will also change how we report and share sports’ experiences). In fact, you can see in the examples below how wearable computing actually becomes lifestyle computing.

This weekend the focus will be on sport. NFL attendance has dropped consistently over the past five years, partly due to improved living room experiences and the second screen. Wearable computing can redress the living room-stadium deficit. It will become one of the great use-cases for wearables and this year Google is doing its bit to test the water with Google Glass at Super Bowl 2014.

Before going into detail, first, the stadium issue. Sports attendance at major games is not under threat everywhere.  It is well nigh impossible at this stage to get a ticket to a soccer game involving Manchester United, for example, unless you want to travel to Turkey for an early Champions League game (but then Turkish teams are among the best followed in Europe too). English Premier League attendance increased last season but many grounds are 95%+ full anyway. And English attendance is behind that in Germany where the Bundesliga packs them in.

Nonetheless wearable computing could do more for soccer, just like it will for the NFL.

NFL stadiums are beginning to embrace high density Wifi and analytics (Extreme Networks has a sponsorship deal with the NFL and a scaled-up roll out of better Wifi is expected in the close season. The same is true for European soccer but the progress there is slow because vendors are currently focused more on US sport.

So that deals with the infrastructure. Once it is in place, expect wearables to come into their own, especially Glass-like heads up displays. Super Bowl 2014 has got people thinking more about it the possibilities.

1. New reportage. This year Google Glass will be worn by sports commentator and reporter John Kucko – as reported here on Forbes. A global TV audience will get a heads-up perspective which will be as close to being there as it possible.

2. New player perspectives. The Broncos’ Terrance Knighton has been wearing Glass in the match build up. See his YouTube videos here.  Golden Tate has been wearing them for the Seahawks. Viewers are getting more from the inside than ever.

3. Social angles. But actually these are pretty small beer compared to what we will get when the Glass competition heats up and attendees get a choice of Glass-like products to augment their in-stadium experiences. Right now they have their smartphones but it’s a distraction to hold up a smartphone to catch some action.

Appirio’s Clinton Bonner recently pointed out that with general availability fans could swap perspectives on the game, as it progressed. Know someone in a more advantageous position for a play? Hook into their view of the game. But social goes much further – sports clubs are the most connected brands on the planet, just about pipped by the biggest celebrities. There are going to be video rights problems to solve as fans with HUDs inevitably become super-efficient content creators and sharers.

4. New ad real estate. That requires Glass-like products to become as ubiquitous at games as 3D glasses are in the cinema. It puts pressure on price of course because clubs are going to rent these products out to people – it’s the only way to guarantee a much improved experience. But that’s perfect because making them available to fans will give Google,and clubs, new advertising real-estate.

5. New instant purchasing options. It will also make impulse purchasing, say of memorabilia, a whole lot easier. That could be a burger or a present to take home to the kids.

6. More visual angles. It opens up either ad-supported or paid unique camera angles. In Rugby fans already have access to the ref’s mic but as Bonner points out, you could buy into any one of a number of unique angles.

7. Analytics. Then there is analytics. The kind of questions that can be answered not only relate to the game and preferred angles but what else do fans watch in down-time. In rugby as in NFL games never flow and fans need useful, fulfilling distractions. It doesn’t need a wearable for clubs to analyze what else their fans are doing during a match but a heads up display is a great place to create better context for them based on their activities.

There’s no question Google will already be figuring out these and multiple other options. It raises a number of questions.

The first is whether a high cost product is the right one for this use-case. Durable but cheap Glass-like HUDs could withstand game-by-game rental a whole lot better than finely engineered ones.

Google is proving bit-by-bit that there are many use-cases for Glass but not necessarily a ubiquitous use-case as there is for smartphones.

In other words we will want Glass for very specific applications, like surgeons in the operating theater, attendees at a live event. That means the market will be fragmented and the long, public, Google experiment is fueling the competitive landscape.

Win-win, you might say. Intel or Samsung Glass at a game is still real-estate for Google. Seems to be. But Google surely has to stand up and be counted as a hardware vendor too. Meanwhile I’m still looking for a ticket to a Manchester United game hopefully in time to use next season’s new must-have sports’ accessory.

Follow me on Twitter @haydn1701 or join me on Facebook. I am here on Google

Source: Forbes


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