March 31, 2022
March Madness: 6 IT Innovations That Crossover into Your Industry
See how your organization can model these sports tech trends to enhance the customer experience in any industry.
AI, ML, and Predictive Modeling
Big Data and March Madness is trending as people seek to apply AI with the hopes of building the perfect bracket. Advances in predictive modeling and machine learning make it easier to analyze NCAA historical data. As a result, AI has been a game-changer, literally, by helping athletes spot holes in the competition’s skills or by identifying gaps in their own playbooks.
Outside of March Madness, AI can impact auto insurance rates and improve both clinical documentation and patient outcomes in healthcare. For example, Computer-Assisted Physician Documentation is used to reference patient charts and suggest more real-time specificity to doctor’s notes, which helps to prevent errors. Some sports and concert venues even use statistical analysis to help set ticket prices based on opponents, and artist demand to maximize profit.
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Digital Signage and Video Conferencing
Scoreboards have come a long way from the analog signage of yesteryear. Nowadays when you look up to see the score, you’ll also see animated team logos, replay videos and even promotional offers from sponsors on an enormous canvas composed of vibrant, multi-panel high-definition displays.
Video walls have cropped up in restaurants and convention centers, while interactive flat panels at malls, in classrooms, and in auto showrooms entice consumers with the same level of exceptional color, resolution, and contrast that they expect in other areas of their lives. Hospitals and schools use them for the purpose of wayfinding and training. One university recreated the bridge of a ship to train future U.S. Coast Guard captains on digital simulators levied by an array of large-format LED displays.
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Esports and Virtual Reality
For decades, video games have emulated the likeness, and signature movements of athletes in the NCAA. Now, studies find that athletes who play traditional video games have increased visual acuity, attention to detail, and problem-solving skills. Similarly, schools with Esports programs assert that their athletes are more prone to develop STEM skills such as coding, data analytics, probability, and math.
Gaming is no longer seen as frivolous entertainment. While most Learning Management Systems are typically used as tools in education, some companies are using a gamified LMS for training, to improve retention, and to track professional growth.
With the help of sleep and heart rate monitors, accelerometers, inertia sensors, and the like, athletes are using technology to enhance performance and prevent injury. Gartner predicts that wearable tech like smartwatches, head mounts, ear-worn, clothing, and patches will reach $93 Billion by the end of 2022.
The boom in biometric devices that collect health data doesn’t stop with athletes. A survey conducted by HIMSS revealed that more than half of providers found wearable technology in healthcare helpful in monitoring their patients. In manufacturing, wearables are thought to improve worker safety and increase operational efficiency. Finally, Smart glasses are said to have AR potential in a number of different industries including manufacturing and security.
High-Density Wi-Fi Networks
This year, March Madness Stadiums will be using high-density wireless access points
- connected to handheld devices that scan digital tickets
- by back-office staff and engineers running operations,
- and at concession stands for mobile food ordering.
But these entertainment centers are not so different from the average office building, hospital or educational institution. No matter the location, they each house thousands of people --from fans and customers to employees and professors—sometimes with disparate devices, seeking computing power, access to data, storage, and connectivity. Post pandemic sporting arenas along with any brick-and-mortar space hoping to refresh their technology for the return of IRL people will need to seek out solutions like hyperconverged infrastructure and software-defined networking technologies that can help load-balance in high-density environments.
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As fans seek sites to build interactive brackets and place bets, spoofing--where bad actors mimic popular websites --has the potential to be a huge problem during March Madness, and CISOs are on high alert. In 2023, as consumer data privacy moves from nice to have to need to have, all organizations will need to adopt a security posture that envelopes their full technology stack and lifecycle in and out of basketball season.
Regardless of whether risk is introduced by ticket holders filling seats with smartphones or white-collar workers returning to the office, any IT hardware brought on-premise can be thought of as a “rogue” device. That’s why next-gen firewalls and endpoint encryption are a must-have to keep fans and employees alike safe whether they are purchasing final four souvenirs during contactless checkout or printing proprietary company documents on a networked printer.
CDW Gets that Everyone is a Fan of a Superb Customer Experience
The same technologies enjoyed by sports fans are also appreciated by retail customers, students, employees, and anyone else who is looking for a win without thinking about how the IT works behind the scenes. But none of it is possible without a strong and safe network.
Whether you need to set up high-density WiFi to safely support a stadium full of ticket-holders, an office full of white-collar workers, or a university full of students, CDW will work with your IT team to design a full-stack solution and address any gaps in connectivity and security preventing you from making a slam dunk.