Last Friday, under the title Shaping the Future of Sports, Plana spoke in the Hong Kong Theatre to 100 students from this prestigious school of economics and political science in the United Kingdom about the features that define the BIHUB, as well as its main goals and activities.
The FC Barcelona board member stressed the idea that BIHUB, which was launched in March three years ago, has created an ecosystem to foster knowledge and innovation, and how this does not only benefit the club and help to make it more competitive, but that it can also have a positive impact on the rest of the sports industry and society in general. The BIHUB platform is based on a collaborative model through which the club is able to attract companies, institutions and entrepreneurs from the technology sector to develop innovative projects with the aim of making FC Barcelona into the Silicon Valley of sport.
Plana added that the club is uniquely poised to achieve this, as it is one of the largest sports laboratories in the world, with more than 2,400 athletes in five professional and nine amateur sports. The club also has more than 300 million fans worldwide and 4.5 million visitors a year to its museum. All of this represents a diverse test bench for the development of technological, corporate and training programmes.
She went on to describe some of the projects that have already been carried out in the different areas of the BIHUB, such as the partnership with WIMU, a company that specialises in Ultra Wide Band technology, which is is used to measure and analyse athletes’ movements, and from there to improve their performance. She also highlighted the project to develop artificial intelligence based algorithms that predict different tactical patterns and which won the award at last year’s MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, the most important such event in the world organised by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In the area of health and well-being, where work is being done to minimise the health risk factors that affect athletes, Plana mentioned the project with Gatorade, which has used medical research to create a personalised product for each player in accordance with his or her specific hydration needs.