The 2006 Fifa World Cup is shaping up to be as much a technological extravaganza as it will be a sporting event.
T-Systems, one of the companies behind the event’s technology, has said the focus will be on high-tech stadiums and multimedia equipment, including HDTV. It is a focus the press is expected to benefit from greatly. A superfast 100 Mbit/s LAN will cover every stadium right up to pitch side, allowing photographers and journalists to communicate with their editorial teams and assemble their columns even as the match progresses.
The most interesting technology for those unable to make it to the tournament will be the introduction of HDTV. T-Systems will have around 20 HDTV cameras in each of the 12 stadiums, meaning that those with state of the art televisions will be able to view the action in previously unheard of picture quality.
Security will also be getting an IT boost, with RFID tagged tickets tracking movement into, around, and out of stadiums. Scanners will allow access to areas defined by the ticket type and will log each fan’s movement through the stadium. Alongside this, digital video cameras, which can read the writing on program notes, will monitor the crowds while the security forces will communicate using a bug proof, state of the art digital radio network.
Among the technological bells and whistles there will be a few notable absences however. Chip tagged footballs, which were trialed at a recent tournament, will miss the plane to the Germany as will streaming coverage to mobile phones. The tournament is nevertheless shaping up to be spectacular no matter what your area of interest.