FIFA’s official visit is now behind us and the waiting game is on to see if Qatar will be awarded the 2022 World Cup. If you talk to ten people you will get ten different views on whether Qatar will win and what factors will make or break it. Size, location, weather, legacy, money – we have heard them all. Let me add one – technology.
There is of course the impressive technology being proposed for the stadiums. It is certainly an ambitious goal of creating a stadium that will be open-air, but keep the on-field temperature a comfortable 27 degrees in a Qatar summer. But the technology that will be necessary for Qatar to win the bid goes way beyond the flashy stadiums. The most important technology is the communications systems that will allow the games to be shared with the world, enable security and public works to operate without interruption and also create a new experience for the thousands that would come to Qatar for the matches.
In terms of sharing the games with the world, you really have to push your imagination to think about where technology will be in 12 years. Right now we think it is amazing to be able to livestream a game to our mobile phones anywhere in the world, but in 12 years that may seem old fashioned. We might expect a 3D immersive experience with each match – like we are actually there. Or maybe we’ll want to be able to virtually jump into a game and know what it is like to watch the match from the goalie’s eyes. All this will require an ultra high speed network. This may mean fiber, satellite – who knows, but I am sure Qatar will need to be ready to build the most state-of-the-art network available at the time – and fast.
And when it comes to security, public works and the fan experience, Qatar better be ready for the Internet of Things! They will need to be able to monitor and communicate with all sorts of devices in real time to manage things like crowd movement, traffic, air temperature and even concessions.
If Qatar wants people to “Expect Amazing,” here’s hoping they promised amazing when it comes to technology for their 2022 bid. It very well could be what sets Qatar apart from the other nations. Good luck Qatar!