ITEXPO 2023: Future of Work Metaverse Session Takes a Turn and Looks at VR/AR Applications in Live Sports

Is there anything that can make South Florida even more desirable in February? Yes – ITEXPO. This year, the subject matter experts have discussed the importance of AI, hybrid work, and employee experience in the workplace, called the Future of Work EXPO. However, this particular session looked at the foundational technologies for the modern world, consisting of augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality.

In the past several years, VR & AR technology (XR) has been rapidly advancing. but the expert panel described that only the big billion-dollar companies are leading the use cases in the field with the reason being the technology cost. Early in the session the panelists highlighted that VR is quickly becoming an invaluable tool in the sports industry because of its ability to create immersive and interactive experiences. XR is transforming the way we think about sports, both in-person and virtually. 

XR in Sports

VR has already been used to create a variety of sports-related experiences, including training simulations, live streaming events, and interactive games. In the professional sports world, VR has been used to provide players with a unique training experience. One such example of this is NFL players using VR to practice plays to improve their decision-making skills in a simulated game environment, enabling them to experience different scenarios and make decisions in real-time, without the risk of injury.

Beyond training, VR can also be used to create immersive and interactive experiences for fans. An example of this is how the NBA has used VR to allow fans to experience games from the perspective of a player or referee, providing them with a unique and exciting view of the game. Additionally, VR can be used to provide fans with a more interactive experience during events, allowing them to explore the venue, interact with other fans, and access additional content and information.

What stood out in the conversation was that they expect users to put on a headset and place them live onto the soccer field with the players of the upcoming 2024 World Cup. This will enable experiences never before imagined no matter how many camera angles the linear TV feed can provide. It was an incredibly exciting and intriguing demonstration.

In-Person Sports

There is massive potential for VR in sports, but the demand for in-person events is still incredibly strong. The experience of attending a live sporting event is challenging to replicate in a virtual environment, and most fans still prefer the excitement and energy of being part of a live audience.

However, VR can play a vital role in enhancing the in-person sports experience. How? Well, VR headsets can provide fans with a closer look at the action, allowing them to see and experience the game in ways never imagined before. VR can also be used to create interactive and engaging experiences within the stadium, such as interactive games and challenges.

Lastly, VR can be used to enhance the safety and security of sporting events because security personnel can use VR to simulate emergency scenarios and develop response plans, helping to ensure the safety of all attendees. 

Back to the Future

Throwing it back to what the event was all about – the future of work – Benjamin Cavallari, CEO & Founder of Chariot Payments described that AR could even replace the cell phone. Why do you need to look at a device to get your information when you have a heads up display? The ability to display up-to-date news about the individual organization you are talking to, or an immersive video conference, or simple questions like “what will the weather be on my business trip?” The use cases for AR are endless with the technology enabling the imagination.

Wrap Up

To sum it up, the future of work is grounded in supporting the Hybrid Workforce, and rightfully so, but when the dust settles and it truly becomes the new norm, XR will level the playing field. Not just in sports, but also, immersive experiences.