With the thrilling finish to the 2014 NFL season still fresh in our collective minds and the NBA Allstar game fading into the rear view mirror, it can only mean one thing in the sporting world - it's Go Time! The 2015 NASCAR season gets officially underway this Sunday with the biggest race of all, the Daytona 500.
So how does this relate the Internet of Things (IoT)? Well, sporting events, no matter how old school they may be, are – and have been - incorporating new school technology for many years. For instance, the NFL uses connected devices to enliven the experience for fans of the game. They can embed connected accelerometers in the helmets or uniforms of players, then give fans the opportunity to subscribe to additional data streams showing impact speeds, g-forces or other features of the contact sport.
Such technology not only holds the means to a more personal experience of the game for fans, but it could also become a lynchpin to player safety, measuring the impact and effect of person-to-person contact on an empirical scale and taking all guesswork out of the current “concussion protocol” process.
By extension, and even more importantly, the technology could cut across all youth sports and create a stronger bridge to player safety for developing bodies. A worthwhile M2M/IoT investment for sure!
There’s also a hidden secret behind the sport of racing often overlooked by the average sports fan.
Racing, and especially NASCAR, is all about data - tons of data! The cars are filled with sensors that monitor every movement. With top speeds approaching 200 mph a simple vibration in the first lap could lead to major problems by the end of the race and cause the car to be slower. Even if it’s a mere second, that could mean the difference between first and 10th place.
Sending real-time data back to the crew chief in the pit, these sensors monitor every last detail of the car’s performance. While the drivers themselves aren't engineers, with the exception of Ryan Newman, they are intimately familiar with the performance of their cars and also act as sensors, sending real-time data to the pit as well.
This data is then used throughout the race to make adjustments to compensate for race conditions, weather, and the occasional “love taps” that may occur from lap to lap, or in the case of Brad Keselowski, on pit road, but that's for a different post.
One of the most innovative uses of race car data can be found on NASCAR.com’s, RaceView. Watch NASCAR races from every conceivable angle including on the track, inside the car for the driver’s perspective, jump from car to car and since the views are entirely generated from sensors it is possible to go to places where TV camera cannot reach such as under the car, on top of the hood or virtually anywhere else on the track that is captured by sensors and collected with all the other massive amounts of data from each race.
RaceView was introduced in 2007 by Turner Sports and the team from Sport Vision, the company behind the yellow first down marker in football. And in keeping with being ahead of their time, RaceView will be delivering the IoT into the homes of so many Americans on Sunday afternoon as they watch to see if Dale Earnhardt, Jr can win his second consecutive Daytona 500 or if Jeff Gordon can kick off his final season with his first win since 2005.Start your engines!