Not many college graduates can claim to be a published author. But at Georgetown, one professor’s class, “Launching the Venture,” has allowed students in the McDonough School of Business to be just that. Over the past year, Matthew Busel (SFS ’17) has devoted his time to learning about the world of augmented reality and its relation to sports, culminating in his book, Game Changer: How Augmented Reality Will Transform the World of Sports.
“‘Game Changer’ is about the emerging technology of augmented reality and how it applies to sports,” Busel said. “The book … covers the Fortune 500 companies as well as the startups that are about to change the way we play sports, watch sports, practice, etc.”
Busel has always had a passion for sports and augmented reality, and, in exploring the synthesis of the two, he has tapped into a cutting-edge field that aims to optimize athletic performance through the development of technologies that enhance the real world, adding virtual features to what an athlete already sees on the court or field. Busel started by making a video that simulated how basketball players might use such technology in practices.
When he presented this video to Eric Koester, professor of “Launching the Venture,” Koester suggested that he hold off on attempting to start a business in this area and instead tackle the challenge of writing a book on the subject. Looking back, Busel believes this process was extremely beneficial, as he had the opportunity to interview dozens of experts on the subject and make connections to people in the field who were eager to hear about his work.
Additionally, in exploring the technology, Busel has refined his ideas for using the technology.
“I think, in the next five years or so, you’ll start to see teams use augmented reality headsets and do things kind of like what I mentioned or showed in the video,” Busel said.
“Imagine showing up to practice and, instead of having a coach have to explain a play one by one to each player, having contextual information already out on the court, so they can see exactly where they should be at what time, when to pass the ball, when to … roll off a screen etc.”
Although he cites examples of where this technology is already being used, such as in Olympic swimming to show names, times and flags on lanes in the television broadcast, Busel sees an opportunity for this industry to expand rapidly over the next few years and unseat the virtual reality technologies that few teams now employ.
“The same way that . . . 10 or 15 years ago, sports and data was super early, like teams might have had one data guy or stat guy, and now they have full staff and teams within their own organization, I expect a similar kind of growth [for augmented reality in sports],” Busel said.
Ideally, ‘Game Changer’ would be a jumping-off point for Busel into a career in the world of augmented reality in sports with an organization like Georgetown basketball or the Washington Wizards. Alternatively, Busel would also like to delve deeper into the technology of the software before returning to the sports world with more expertise on this emerging tool.
Although this technology is not yet widespread in the professional sports world, Busel says he still sees a place for augmented reality to be incorporated here at Georgetown.
“If we’re saying that virtual reality is the now, the new ‘it’ technology that teams are trying out, I think augmented reality is the next one,” Busel said. “I think for a team like Georgetown, who has struggled the past few years and is now undergoing a lot of change, I think it’s the perfect time to just at least start experimenting with this type of stuff and maybe be able to gain some type of edge.”
Busel is excited about the buzz surrounding the technology and the door that Game Changer has opened for him, piquing the interest of major companies to work with him and be among the first to design and champion the benefits of a potentially revolutionary technology.
The publication date for ‘Game Changer:’ How Augmented Reality Will Transform the World of Sports is April 25th.
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