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The World Cup, its technology and the next three weeks of your life

What to expect when you are spectating
Fri Jun 13 2014, 14:09

Fifa World Cup trophyTHE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY has thrown itself into the World Cup like a striker throws himself to the ground in front of goal. We've rounded up how the wonderful world of IT can help you enjoy the World Cup even more.

Twitter and social networking
Twitter has sent its users some information on the competition and its methods of dealing with and displaying its information. There will be a lot of it and Twitter promises that supporters can get information by the second. If that sounds overwhelming you might want to consider a break from social networking, or less radically, the judicious use of Twitter's new Mute button option.

The ball
The competition has a new ball, the Adidas Brazuka, which presumably is a portmanteau of Brazil and bazooka. NASA seized on the ball that is set to make goalkeepers days a nightmare and decided to make a lesson in aerodynamics out of it. NASA also seemed to admit that its fans are not football people. "Sports provide a great opportunity to introduce the next generation of researchers to our field of aerodynamics by showing them something they can relate to," said Rabi Mehta, chief of the Experimental Aero-Physics Branch at NASA's Ames Research Center as he showed off the tests.

The ball can move at a very fast whip and can be rather unpredictable. In half of those two respects it is a lot like the England team.

The BBC and 4K broadcasting
The BBC, a longtime football broadcaster, is competing with rivals for eyeballs and is looking to give ultra high definition football fans a treat with a few very pretty 4K broadcasts. Though only three matches are to be shown in 4K, as far as test beds go, the action-packed, colourful spectacle of the World Cup competition is a very good option.

Planet of the apps
Football related apps stretch as far as the eye can see. Like pies eaten at stadiums the content of apps and their appeal can sometimes be limited. Our interest in the sheer bulk of football infused apps is also limited. We were mildly moved by a urinal soccer game that was recommended to us, but actually it only moved us toward a private stall. Expect a lot of football related apps in your timelines and feeds and choose the simplest, most comprehensive one.

Not everyone likes the competition
Hacktivist group Anonymous threatened to protest the competition, and so far it has lived up to that. Of course its announcements led to more outpourings and an almost denial of service like barrage of security industry commentators looking to disapprove of it.

Apropos of that...
Expect to be blighted with a range of email and social networking scams that ask you to click on a link in order to learn something that no other source apparently is reporting. This will serve as an opportunity for the industry to remind you that even if you are that stupid there is technology that can mitigate your risk.

Football is going underground
In London, subway users will get to enjoy both wireless connections as they travel from station to station and the ability to check scores on time information displays. This means that even if your train, which is already late, very hot, and probably full already, is cancelled, you will still be able to keep up with the action that you wanted to go home and watch.

The referee, often the most criticised man on the pitch, has got some technology support and amongst the kit at his disposal is a spray that can be used to mark where a free kick should be taken. The sprayed on point disappears after a short period, meaning that no one should confuse it as the penalty spot.

Goal line technology
It's here and will prevent the kind of terrible decisions that have both benefited and denied England in the past. If a ball crosses a line the referee will be alerted to this fact in a message on his wrist watch. We hope it is loud enough for rival teams to hear.

Speaking of rival teams
Brazil, the acknowledged favourite, has shirts that have better airflow than before - we know, but it all counts. Ball swinging Adidas reckons that it has enough t-shirt technology to keep even the hottest players cool. µ


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