The four years of anticipation since Spain last hoisted the FIFA World Cup trophy in 2010 have been tremendous, and now the world’s eyes have shifted from South Africa to Brazil as 32 nations will compete in the 20th installment of the FIFA World Cup. Over the course of 32 days, 64 games will be played, beginning with host nation Brazil playing Croatia this Thursday, June 12 and ending at Estadio do Maracana for the World Cup final on July 13, attracting a global audience that reached 3.2 billion in 2010(1)
The 2014 Brazil World Cup expects to have an enormous global impact on social media, communications, advertising and information technology. FIFA, along with hundreds of participating and sponsor companies, will be heavily reliant on innovative technologies that can both withstand record-setting traffic and provide an unparalleled viewing experience. Advertisers will look to capitalize on social media trends and conversations, as the 2014 World Cup has already generated more tweets prior to the event starting than the 2010 World Cup generated throughout the entire tournament(2).
The Opening Kickoff
One of the most inspirational and motivating events of the 2014 World Cup will not take place in the 90 minutes of play. Just prior to the first game, at the opening ceremony this Thursday, June 12, a paraplegic Brazilian will get up from a wheelchair, walk to midfield and kick off to initiate the start of the 20th World Cup. Scientists and engineers in the Walk Again project have constructed a functional, dynamic exoskeleton that operates through the power of thought (3).
The suit is designed to collect brain waves through electrodes, which are passed to a computer, where they are decoded and assigned to move hydraulics on the suit. Three other paraplegics that have been training on the exoskeleton device will also be selected to attend the opening ceremony.
Brazil’s Security Infrastructure
Avnet suppliers IBM and Cisco have developed technological solutions that help the Brazilian government manage transportation, energy and security. IBM is now responsible for the Integrated Command and Control Centers, which oversee security concerns during World Cup matches through interactive monitors that show street cameras, stadium cameras, weather data and more. IBM has provided the hardware, software, analytics and research behind the project, and the network infrastructure and videoconferencing systems are provided by Cisco. In addition, IBM, together with Cisco, are implementing 27 Command and Control Mobile Integrated Centers, a mobile alternative with the information technology, communication systems and video monitoring needed for the 2014 World Cup to safely function (4).
With mobile adoption at the forefront of the IT discussion, developers have made the fan experience more immersive than ever. Apps for iOS, Android and Windows give users a multitude of options to follow the Cup, watch live games and join the conversation with fans from around the world(5). Not only do fans of the game demand up-to-the-second scores and statistics to be provided, but Brazilian public services and government agencies rely on real-time data to help manage the World Cup and more quickly share and resolve incidents. The Rio de Janeiro Operations Centre brings 30 government agencies into a single command location, where video and data from 570 cameras will stream. Nearly 30,000 meters of fiber optic cable will connect the infrastructure of the center. The Command Centre will feature 80 46-inch screens on an 80-square-meter video wall, the largest in Latin America(6).
The amount of data expected to pass through Brazil during the World Cup is expected to surpass 12.6 terabytes, according to Avnet supplier NetApp (7). NetApp will play a significant role in Brazil, FlexPod systems will control the data generated by all video surveillance cameras in the stadiums. Additionally, the World Cup final, to be held on July 13, expects more than 74,000 minutes of high definition video to be uploaded online by fans. Nearly 80% of the United States audience will stream games exclusively online.
On-Field Technology Advances
In 2010, England’s Frank Lampard took a shot in the 38th minute in a 2-1 game against Germany, which struck the crossbar and landed nearly a foot behind the goal line before spinning back into the keeper’s arms. Officials deemed it a no-goal in real-time, and with no sensors or replay availability, the call would stand. A clear momentum-shifter, Germany would go on to win the round of 16 game 4-1. After significant outrage over the disallowed goal, FIFA has elected to implement a new goal-line technology (GLT), provided by Germany-based GoalControl GmbH in the 2014 World Cup (8). GoalControl GLT is equipped with 14 high-speed cameras, strategically positioned to immediately confirm whether or not the ball has fully crossed the goal line.
In 2014, technology will play more of a role at the World Cup than any sporting event in history. Whether you’re cheering on Argentina, Australia, England, Ghana, Japan, the United States, or any of the 32 World Cup teams that span across six continents, fans have the unique opportunity to become a part of history. This World Cup truly offers a multi-screen experience, where fans can watch the games (in 4K resolution) on their television, engage in social media on their computers or mobile devices and follow additional information on the tournament through a variety of mobile apps.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil slogan says it all when it comes 3.2 billion viewers connecting and collaborating together: All in One Rhythm™. As a global organization, Avnet has a distribution presence in nearly all of the 32 competing nations, and will have employees showing their support from all regions around the globe.