Sunday, viewers around the world will tune in to Super Bowl LI as the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots. In recent years, the games have been arguably disappointing for some fans. (I am looking at you Seattle Seahawks).
It never gets any easier to watch ...
Aside from the 325 million gallons of beer Americans are expected to consume, viewers will focus on the spectacle of the game, not realizing the amount of technology coordination required to make things go off without a hitch.
Technology is on center stage as stadiums become more wired, filled with big-screen TVs and people raising their smart phones to capture the event from their seats, no matter how far they are from the field.
But more than what is seen at the game, there is technology behind the scenes supporting the entire spectacle. Not unlike the additional network capacity offered to the Olympic Games in Rio to support the crush of users online, cell phone providers like Sprint, Verizon and AT&T have to increase capacity by setting up temporary cell towers for the game, according to Houston Public Media.
Some of the upgrades cell providers made were permanent, to improve cell reception in Houston, where the game will take place. Per the report, AT&T spent $40 million on network improvements, $35 million of which were made for permanent upgrades.
There are people who believe football is best viewed on TV, with every hit or touchdown replayed over and over again until the network decides to return to the live game. Last year, an average of 111.9 million people tuned in to watch Super Bowl L, the third largest audience in TV history.
Now, the television experience is set to become even more immersive. Sunday, for the first time FOX will broadcast the Super Bowl in virtual reality, in partnership with Live Like, GeekWire reports. Using the FOX Sports VR app and some VR gear, allowing viewers to experience the biggest plays from immersive angles.
Let's just hope the lights don't go out at this Super Bowl.
Free cybersecurity advice
Besides the fancy new technology, the Super Bowl is a big event from a security perspective, classified as a tier 1 national security event by the Department of Homeland Security. With the advancement of technology, there are now cybersecurity concerns surrounding the game. Whether it's social engineering, false advertisements with attached malware or the threat of a large scale DDoS attack, cybersecurity disruptions would prove embarrassing and difficult to quickly mitigate.
Service providers do their best to protect customers, but some have made not so great decisions around the game. Take Charter Spectrum the second largest cable and ISP in the U.S. TechCrunch reports, On Jan. 23, the company Tweeted: "Change your WiFi password and show guests where your loyalty lies! #ThatsMyTeam!"
Though the Tweet has since been deleted, it encouraged people to change their WiFi password to "GO_ATLANTA" or "GO_NEWENGLAND." Please don't do that. That's a terrible idea.
Perhaps Spectrum will just stick to Tweeting about the Puppy Bowl from now on and not offer cybersecurity advice.
Bing has spoken and it thinks the Patriots will win.
As for my predictions, I believe this will be the greatest Super Bowl commercial of all time. It's already a classic. "Hi, I'm the internet. What did you think I'd look like ... I'm wiry." Get it? He's wiry?