Industry News

Qatar 2022 stadium app up for regional tech award

A fan engagement and ticket app developed for the 2022 Fifa World Cup is in line for a major tech award in the Middle East.

The Smart Stadium app, developed by Saudi start-up Near Motion, has made the short-list in the internet of things category by Challenge 22, an innovation awards body set up by the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy to promote creativity in the region ahead of the World Cup.

When fans swipe their ticket and enter the stadium, those with the application installed will receive a personalised message. The app will then take them into the stadium using step-by-step indoor navigation, directing them to different facilities like shops or restrooms.

Faisal Alferdos, Near Motion’s founder, said he is keen to make Qatar 2022 accessible to all fans, regardless of their preferred language. While this type of service has been seen before in other parts of the world for major sporting occasions, Alferdos said he wants to bring a new level of innovation to the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East.

Alferdos aims to have a prototype adapted to a stadium within a year, and is hopeful that a test will soon take place at Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium.

He explained: “It combines mobile ticketing, access management and indoor navigation (including seat and stadium facilities wayfinding), location-based notifications, analytical tools, reporting and much more.

“Assuming that most fans will be holding a smartphone, we’re customising this solution to the World Cup by distributing Bluetooth low energy devices around the stadium that can be detected by the smartphones to perform certain actions. Using this technology, friends will also be able to locate each other.”