Due to our success in premier sports venues such as the Fiserv Forum and teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks, we are partnered with the Sports Innovation Lab (SIL) to help venues better understand how fans and technology interact with venues. Chris Lord, Armored Things co-founder and CTO, is featured alongside SIL stadium partners in SIL’s latest research project – dedicated to using AI to plan, build and expand stadiums.
Hear what Lord has to say about the democratization of data, and how we’re empowering venue managers to make ROI-related decisions relating to crowd management. You can also check out the entire report for key takeaways on how AI is empowering smart stadiums.
AI is technology that has been and will continue to work in conjunction with humans to improve overall human performance. Artificial intelligence leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind (IBM, 2021). Robert Muehlbauer, Senior Manager of Business Development at Axis Communications described artificial intelligence in its simplest form as using a machine or a computer to do tasks that a human would. The benefits are myriad and significant—with AI and computation, we can make workflows quicker and more efficient. Over the years, popular conceptions of AI and Machine Learning have been shaped, for better or worse, by depictions in popular media such as film, television, games, and beyond.
Sometimes presented as a seemingly endless futuristic possibility space, sometimes presented as a great threat to humanity, AI captivates popular imaginations. Not surprisingly, the realities of AI and ML do not conform to popular media depictions. AI is neither a technological panacea nor an existential threat. AI and ML are computational tools that have the power to make us more efficient and to make us smarter. At the end of the day, AI and Machine Learning exist to make our work and our lives easier and better.
The thrill of standing shoulder to shoulder with other fans, on your feet as the game clock expires, as your team buries the buzzer-beater, is inimitable and irreplaceable. It’s this feeling of shared experience and the “power of togetherness” that keeps live sports, with attendant fans, a primary pillar of the sports industry. The global COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 that continues to shake the world has not only forced the sports industry to take a closer look at how we construct and design our live sports entertainment, it has also shaken the confidence of fans who continue to want the power of togetherness but who harbor concerns about the safety of attending live sports. The“return to play” has forced the whole of sports, from the professionals producing the contests to the fans adoring the action, to rethink our priorities and the role technology plays in bringing us all back together.
It is incumbent upon stadia operators and sports properties to change their thinking about the design of fan experience, and new pandemic-generated challenges that need to be addressed to ensure fan health, safety, and security. AI provides a suite of technologies, specific to problem-solving. that will play a foundational role in this change. Today, because of the rapid evolution of AI technologies, we can consider the impact of AI on a larger scale. AI is the future of sports stadium infrastructure—replacing traditional building and repair practices and implementing data solutions to create a live sports environment that is healthier, safer, and more secure for fans. To address the essential needs of fans, sports venues need to reimagine AI technologies as a new form of infrastructure, solving problems that used to be addressed through brick, mortar, pipe, and personnel.
AI and Machine Learning are being implemented in every facet of security. Physical and cyber security will continually be a main focus for venue operators and fans. Knowledge is power, so the more that technology knows, the better it will be able to output improved processes. In return, when the knowledge is made public, fans are able to digest it and change their behaviors to feel more secure. CTO and co-founder of Armored Things, Chris Lord, spoke on the democratic nature of data and the importance of understanding the problem, resources, partner companies, and areas to scale in order to be successful. The idea that data is a democracy, and understanding the problem, resources, and partner companies you want to scale can differentiate success.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are no longer “nice to have” technologies in the smart venue network, they are increasingly essential. AI and ML are infrastructure—critical systems that, together and as part of the broader infrastructure of a venue, provide the platform for fan experience.