Last week’s article highlighted key technological advancements in sport and tied them with Big Data and Sports. Various gains of technology in sports have been highlighted in both articles. This edition looks at what may be said to be some of the negative impacts of technology in sports and opportunities for Kenyans in sports technology.
Nothing can be said to have advantages only; same as technology in sport. Technology does not come cheap and is not easily available to most sportspeople. Its increased or exclusive use may come at a disadvantage to many especially in jurisdictions with less purchasing power. Competitions at the lower level may also die with the increased technology as they may be ignored completely. Further, technology may not be available at all levels of the competition meaning that it cannot be used as a total replacement for human involvement altogether. In officiating, it may lead to distrust or undermining of officials’ decisions and expertise where technology may be seen as the final decider.
For the fans and spectators, the experience of an ‘actual’ game or match cannot be said to be the same as the one in Virtual Reality. Virtual Reality may also diminish the actual experience of the sport and reduce the usual atmosphere at live games. The intensity of physical activity which is at the heart of sporting competition may also reduce significantly. The participation in sport as a way of enhancing fitness may also be affected.
With privacy and its invasion being see as one of the main glitches with technology generally, this could also spill over to the sports industry. Data handling and storage is key as hacking is a real danger with technology.
Having highlighted the above, what are the opportunities in technology for sports in Kenya?
The field of technology introduces various careers and revenue generating ventures that can be explored both by the direct sports stakeholders, professionals and entrepreneurs in Kenya. Such areas include data analytics, sports science analysis, software development, business technology management, bioinformatics, biomedical engineering and information systems security among others. With unemployment rates escalating each year, perhaps venturing into these fields would be a welcome reprieve to curbing the problem.
The efficiency and accuracy of technology highlighted previously could also improve the sports industry in Kenya. Revenue would expand beyond the traditional income generating schemes if technology is tapped into in areas such as marketing and ticketing. Further, sportspeople would function at their optimum and benchmark with similar athletes in other jurisdictions which have increasingly embraced technology.
Innovation is at the heart of the modern world. As such, encouraged use of technology will certainly encourage more innovation. With increased innovation, there is room for improvement in all spheres of life including technology. With Vision 2030 seeking to ‘Revitalize and Harness Science, Technology and Innovation for Kenya’s Prosperity and Global Competitiveness’, then the sports industry has a lot of catch up to do in terms of innovation and embracing the role of technology fully.