As technology evolves and the world around us changes, sports organisations must endeavour to keep track with, or better yet, keep ahead of global trends.
At the International Teqball Federation (FITEQ) we embrace the challenge of continuously innovating to ensure our sport remains relevant and appealing to young people. We cannot afford to stand still and miss the chance to engage with future generations.
There are now an estimated 2.5 billion gamers in the world, which is almost a third of the world’s population. This number will grow even further, with children becoming increasingly accustomed to digital devices at a very young age. To some people this is concerning; however it is a reality that we cannot change and instead we must adapt and seize the opportunity that this presents.
Already, we have seen how technology has rapidly accelerated education of children through online teaching, particularly in developing countries, while also allowing young people to express themselves in a creative and entrepreneurial way.
In sport, we have the opportunity to capitalise on this new digital era and promote active and healthy living. Technology has advanced to a point where we can encourage young people to be more active through virtual sports on mobile apps or gaming consoles. Since the formation of FITEQ, this has been a central part of our global development strategy and we are now in the implementation phase of our very own virtual sport - SQILLER, which uses world-leading technology to enable users to be physically active in a digital environment.
Over the past few years, but particularly during the pandemic, we have witnessed sports organisations trying to connect with their global communities through digital means. In some sports, this is now extending beyond fan engagement and entering into a new realm where organisations are creating sporting opportunities for grassroots and elite athletes.
At FITEQ, we truly believe this is the future and it cannot be a temporary solution that is forgotten after the world returns to normal. We’re confident that this will not be the case and the recent launch of the Olympic Virtual Series is a strong indicator that the Olympic Movement fully appreciates the value of virtual sports that have a physical element.
SQILLER is a fully developed mobile app, which uses artificial intelligence, computer vision and machine learning to track kinetic movement and enable ball recognition. Our world-class technological platform allows any young athlete to physically play sport using just a ball and a smart phone.
While SQILLER improves the core skills needed to succeed in teqball, it is also a platform that can help any athlete with their balance, concentration and attention to detail.
The app challenges users to complete a variety of skill challenges set by teqball ambassadors, including Ronaldinho, and teqball legends like Cafu. Users must record themselves accurately recreating those skills to the best of their ability. They can do this in any environment, be it their garden, their local park or even their bedroom. Users can compete independently or against another member of the online teqball community. This latter point is particularly important for us, as we want to promote SQILLER’s ability to instantly connect teqers from different parts of the world.
We have built a digital following of over four million people in the past few years, across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube and a number of other channels. Players and fans are engaging directly with FITEQ every day, sharing their content with us or simply enjoying the content we create. Our digital growth led to FITEQ being ranked the seventh most effective sport on social media in BCW’s 2020 report and it is a clear sign of the progress our sport is making.
👉@fcbarcelona is definitely TEQ🤩🔴🔵 - tag who you think would be best at teqball in the Barca squad👇— TEQBALL (@Teqball) May 10, 2021
•#Teqball #WorldIsCurved #Teq #Lifestyle #Barca #FCBarcelona #Trincao #Mingueza pic.twitter.com/qCrQ7FO98Y
However, we want to go even further than this; we want the teqball fans to engage with each other in the same way they engage with us. Virtual sports, like SQILLER, are the perfect mechanism for achieving this goal, while the growing digital community to be more active.
SQILLER allows any passionate sports fan to pick up their mobile phone and a ball, complete one of the tasks set in the app, and then challenge someone on the other side of the world.
We are living in a world where online communication is just as powerful as the exchanges we have in-person. People are looking for immediate interactions with like-minded people; you only have to look at the dramatic rise of social media to realise this. So while building relationships at a local level, which is something our National Federations are doing an excellent job in, remains of the utmost importance, we want to simultaneously use our virtual sport to bring people together through a shared passion.
The accessibility of SQILLER and the wide-range of users it appeals to, combined with our existing digital presence, presents the opportunity to reach new audiences around the world, create meaningful relationships within the teqball family and encourage more people to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. As a sports organisation, these are three of our core objectives, all of which our virtual sport can help us achieve.