In the world of sport we see records being broken left, right and centre. Athletes are getting faster, stronger and more accurate by the day, thanks to scientific and training developments. Technology is aiding performance and helping athletes achieve their maximum potential.
Despite some problems, the business side of sport is hitting new personal bests too. This summer's transfer window saw Premier League clubs splash out a record £835 million on transfers. That beats the previous record by £200 million. Football has historically been slow to identify and reap the benefits of technology on the pitch, but is now making the most of goal-line technology and vanishing spray. So what developments can we expect to see in the future - both on and off the pitch?
Keep your eye on the ball
Training developments will help footballers to up their game. Wearable technology like Google Glass is an area to really keep an eye on - in more ways than one. Occlusion testing, whereby sensory perception is limited either virtually or digitally, has already seen use in the NFL. Glasses or other visual equipment can be used to briefly inhibit an athlete's view of their surroundings. For athletes who need to focus on the ball when there is a lot of action going on around them, training in this way can really improve on-the-pitch perception. Training with temporary moments of blindness works in the same way as adding weight to the body: once the inhibitor is removed, the athlete is usually capable of operating more efficiently than before.
It's not only in training that the NFL is more technologically advanced than the English Premier League. The organisation adopted electronic signature technology last year after the fax failure fiasco which affected Elvis Dumervile. A broken fax machine meant the player missed his signing deadline and was released by his team. Fluffed signings are something football fans in the UK know all too well. With deals going right to the wire on deadline day, missed opportunities occur frequently as clubs fail to deal with the sudden and dramatic influx of paperwork. An outdated reliance on fax machines only compounds the problem. This is something the Premier League needs to change for the future; like numerous other industries already are, the business of football needs to embrace technology and go digital.
Referees have a blinder
Wearable technology extends beyond training for the players. Rugby fans enjoy 'Ref Cam' (above), where a camera is placed on the referee to share their viewpoint. It provides a unique perspective on the game that is close to the action and reveals all. The potential for football to adopt the same innovation is there. Sharing the referee's viewpoint could reveal why certain decisions are either made or missed (it can also look spectacular, as Nike's 'Take it to the next level' advert (below) demonstrates). It maintains the human nature of the sport, but uses technology to share even more with spectators. Collaboration is a business technology trend - why can't it apply to sport too?
No matter where you look, technology is permeating the world of sport. It's always interesting to watch football matches from 20 years ago, when the shirts were baggy, footballs were heavy and boots weren't bright pink. Technological innovations have dramatically altered kit and refereeing decisions. The future of sports technology lies in science, wearables and the back-office. When technology is adopted throughout the football world, we can expect to watch the beautiful game in a way we have never experienced before.
Mark Law is the head of business development and a sports technology expert at DocuSign