Wearables of the World Cup: what the referees, players and managers are sporting

Video assisted referees (what you’ll hear refereed to as VAR) has been the one of the most controversial elements of the World Cup 2018, but it’s not the only tech that’s being used on the football pitches around Russia this month.

Wearable technology has come a long way since the last World Cup. Back in 2014, the Apple Watch was only a teaser announced on stage by Tim Cook and was yet to be on anyone’s wrist, while watches such as the Moto 360, Samsung Gear S and Pebble Steel were among the bestselling smartwatches of the year.

Now in 2018, the whole space has changed for consumers and it’s different for the players on the pitch, managers on the sidelines and referees running around too. 

Below we’re going to break down some of the most interesting wearable tech we know is being used at this year’s World Cup. It may be there is more tech being used for training in anticipation of the competition, but here we’re focusing on technology used in the actual games and training just before the competition.

PlayerTek by Catapult

This smart vest you can see above is from a company called Catapult and has a variety of different gadgets being used in both amateur and professional football. 

Some teams have been wearing the vest underneath their shirts. Egypt, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland and Uruguay have been using the vests to track some vital stats that allows backroom staff to interrogate player data more than ever before.

It was a last minute decision from FIFA, but in early June 2018 the organization deemed the tech as safe for players to wear during official matches and most wearing it will have been using it throughout training too.

The Playertek vest comes with a device inside called the tracking pod that’s placed at the back, it’s used to record player stats such as their top speed.

It also records information such as the distance covered in a match, where each player traveled and how often they sprinted. It’s basic tech, but the Playertek vest offers that slightly extra insight that may give some teams the upper hand at the competition.

The data can be broken down by the team at a later date to try and mathematically work out a way to improve their strategy.

Hublot Big Bang Referee 2018 World Cup watch

A demo of what it looks like on the Hublot watch when a goal is scored

You may have spotted large smartwatches on referee’s wrists during the World Cup so far. This isn’t about sporting a bit of sponsored bling, but a way to offer quick communication of the VAR technology directly to each ref’s wrist.

The tech used is the Hublot Big Bang Referee 2018 World Cup watch – it’s a Wear OS device that you can also buy right now. It’s expensive though, and its main USP is the fact it can communicate World Cup information – a feature that will be irrelevant at the end of the competition.

Referees are fed data about goals scored directly to their wrist within a second of a goal being scored. For those not on the pitch, it also feeds data on when matches are set to take place, when goals are scored (even in other games) and notifications for yellow cards, corners and more.

The watch has even been spotted on manager’s wrists too, with England’s Gareth Southgate clearly sporting the device during the England vs Panama game earlier in the tournament. You can still buy the watch but there are only 2,018 on sale – see what Hublot did there? – and each costs around $5,250, £3,750, AU$6800.

Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems

Another one for the players here as FIFA has introduced its own Electronic Performance and Tracking Systems, but there are a bunch of restrictions on how the technology can be used. 

Trackers can be inserted within the shirts of each player and this way the management team are able to track positioning, passing, pressing and tackles. This is paired with a tablet that shows the game on a 30-second delay.

Only three tablets are given to each team, though. There’s one for an analyst in the stands, one for an analyst on the bench and the third is then for each team’s own medical staff. 

The idea here is it should limit overexertion for players, which is a big worry especially when some teams are playing in an entirely different climate to what they’re used to.

It should hopefully mean a lower risk of injury throughout the tournament, as well as the analysts and medical staff having an even greater knowledge of player performance and risks.

While this technology isn’t clearly visible during the games like the referee’s Hublot smartwatch, this may be one of the most impactful pieces of tech being used throughout the entire tournament.

Does wearable tech work for football teams?

Trainers with the Adidas micoach tracker on the bottom

Fitness trackers and smartwatches encourage us to get up off the sofa and out for a jog, but does tracking this sort of data really make much of an impact on how a whole team plays during the world’s biggest football tournament?

Wearable technology hasn’t been around long enough to make a clear impact over the last few World Cups, but the German national team are convinced it allowed them to make headway to win the 2014 World Cup.

As quoted on GeekWire, Darcy Norman – a performance data analyst for Germany’s side in 2014 – spoke at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 and said working with Adidas’ micoach technology in training and the tournament made a positive impact back at the last World Cup.

The German team wore the small tracking devices in practice sessions to give a full picture of their speed, distance run and heart rate allowing the team to see how each athlete did. The team could then work out better training to hit the weakspots for each team member.

Data from training was ultimately what encouraged the German manager Joachim Low to bring on player Gotze to the World Cup final in 2014. That happened in the 88th minute of the game, and Gotze went on to score the only goal of the game in extra-time winning it for Germany.

It may not be meticulously tested science that wearable tech is the way for football teams to improve, but it’s hard to deny it didn’t have a positive impact on Germany’s game at a decisive moment. 

The less said about Germany’s performance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup the better, but perhaps the introduction of all this new wearable tech means we’ll see teams play better in the tournament than ever. 

  • TechRadar’s World Cup coverage is brought to you in association with Honor 

Fortnite Battle Royale news and updates: Playground mode is now live

[Update: Fortnite now has a long-awaited practice mode – Playground. This new addition will let you hone your skills without the pressure of a full competitive match. Read on for all the details.]

There hasn’t been a gaming phenomenon like Fortnite Battle Royale for some time. Huge gunfights spread out over a giant map, it’s attracting millions of players across the globe.

Available for free on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and iOS Fortnite Battle Royale supports up to 100 players at a time in a game, either playing as individuals or in squads of up to four. When starting up, you’re thrown onto an island with no weapons or armor and you must scavenge for supplies and fight for your life to be the last man or squad standing at the end of the game.

Like most Battle Royale games, Fortnite is split into matches of varying length with a map that shrinks as the match progresses, forcing players closer together. 

Epic Games actively works on Fortnite Battle Royale, making regular changes through patches and updates. Here you’ll be able to find the latest changes to the game. 

What’s the latest Fortnite update?

Fortnite finally has a practice mode! After a series of delays leading up to its release, Fortnite Playgrounds allows players to hone their skills in the regular Fortnite map, but limits the player count to just four.

You’ll be able to run around for an hour, practising base building while also getting to grips with all the weapons the game has to offer. The final five minutes of the hour see Fortnite’s endgame storm blow in, shrinking the map, in order to give players a feel for what it’s like when the pressure to move inland kicks in.

Llamas, treasure chests and resources will all be plentiful in Playground (with resource gathering carried out at double speed), so you’ll have lots to play with.

Likewise, there will be tons of ammunition lying around. You’ll be able to practice gunplay with friends, but don’t fret – the beginner-orientated Playground allows for unlimited respawns while you learn the ropes of each weapon’s unique abilities.

What’s coming up in Fortnite?

Fortnite is a game that undergoes frequent updates so week-by-week you can expect to see patches which either squash bugs or make small changes to gameplay that improve the overall game experience. 

In the long term, Epic Games has announced that it’s looking to make some game-improving changes. These will include more Limited Time Modes as well as improvements to performance, quality of life and the games replay system. Players who prefer using controllers will see improvements made building, as well as the ability to turn of aim assist while building for greater accuracy.

In terms of Limited Time modes, 50v50 might hang around for longer. However, a new Limited Time mode called Playground could be in the works. This mode would take place in the usual map but it’d be longer with more resources to hand. 

We can also expect to see more interesting Limited Time items like the recently introduced jet packs in the future. 

Can I play Fortnite on mobile?

Yes you can! Well, kind of. Fortnite is definitely coming to mobiles and some iOS owners can play it already but the rollout is slow and it’ll be a couple of months before it comes to Android.

Who can play Fortnite on mobile?

Right now, Epic is sending out invites to iOS device owners who have signed up on the official Fortnite site. For testing a server scaling, these invites are being rolled out steadily before a full release. A few months from now, Android owners will be able to access the game to. But at the moment, it’s a selection of iOS players.

If you sign up on the site now you will get an invite eventually and as long as you’re using iOS 11 on iPhone 6S/SE, iPad Mini 4, iPad Air 2, iPad 2017, iPad Pro devices or later you’ll be fine. Oh, and you’ll need an internet connection naturally. 

Is it the full game?

It is the full Fortnite game.  There are some small differences: it’s not quite as visually impressive as it is on more powerful devices, the controls are touchscreen, and a lot of audio cues have been made visual so you can play comfortably in public without the need for headphones. But you won’t be missing out on any features.  

What’s the deal with cross-play?

Though Xbox One and PS4 owners can’t play the game together, these consoles can play with PC and mobile devices. And Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PC and mobile players can all play together. So if you’ve got friends that prefer PC, others that prefer console and you’re off on holiday with your mobile, you can still all play together. Just as long as there’s not one friend that dared to buy a different console from everyone else.

There’s also cross-progression. So, if you’re logged into your Fortnite account on mobile playing and you later log into your console to play, everything you did on mobile later that day is carried over.  

Sounds great, how do I get it?

We have a guide on how to get Fortnite on mobile on TechRadar and we’re constantly updating it with the latest rollout news. If your device isn’t there yet, keep checking back and one day it probably will be.

What’s a Battle Pass?

The Battle Pass is a purchasable item in Fortnite that gives you access to exclusive in-game rewards. 

As players complete daily challenges and level up their rank, they earn Battle Stars which can then be used to unlock Tiers in their Battle Pass. Each new Tier you unlock will bring both Free and Premium rewards. The Tiers vary from season to season but in season three you get around 100 items in each Battle Pass which can take anywhere between 75 and 150 hours of play to unlock. 

Everyone that has a Battle Pass will get the Free reward they unlock, but only Premium Pass holders will get the Premium reward. Battle Pass Premium can only be purchased with in-game V bucks and not with real money.

You can purchase a Battle Pass for around £7/$10 in the Battle Pass tab of the game’s menu. 

Twitch Prime benefits

Those who use Twitch Prime and play Fortnite will be glad to know that they have access to free loot right now. Those with a Prime account can claim the Fortnite Twitch Prime Pack  and the Fortnite Twitch Prime Pack 2 which include a host of cosmetic items and are available across all platforms.

The first pack includes two exclusive gliders and outfits: the Havoc Outfit and Back Bling, plus the Sub Commander Outfit and Slipstream Glider.  The second pack contains three exclusive items for Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode including the camouflage-heavy Trailblazer Outfit, the True North Back Bling, and the Tenderizer Pickaxe. There’s also a brand new dance emote for those that like the dance floor as much as the battleground. 

The packs can only be claimed on a single platform, but they can be shared across PC/console and mobile as long as you use the same Epic account across these platforms. You can’t however, share your loot across PS4 and Xbox One even if you are using the same Epic account. 

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Stackpath rebrands to help push integration further

As alluded in a recent interview by its CEO, StackPath has unveiled its next iteration of its platform and services which brings together the multitude of brands that it has acquired over the past two years under one label.

The company, which merged with Server Density only a few months ago, has fingers in many pies (including Usenet and VPN) but the focus of its B2B business is primarily on secure data delivery.

The four components of which include a content delivery network (CDN), a Web Application Firewall (WAF), Managed DNS and a monitoring service (provided by Server Density).

  • Check out our list of best CDN services

Aggressive expansion

The company has also aggressively expanded its network to include more tier-1 network carries, premium peering points, DDoS mitigation and full infrastructure deployment.

It can currently provide 40Tbps of global bandwidth via 45 advanced secure edged PoPs (points of presence) globally with more coming up later this year.

In comparison, the biggest CDN provider on the market, Akamai, operates nearly 60 PoPs across the world with more than 240,000 servers and can handle in excess of 60Tbps.

Amazon is adding 100 electric vans to its delivery fleet

Amazon, one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, is looking into using EVs to deliver all of your Amazon Prime Day goodies… next year. 

Mercedes-Benz announced today that it had sold 100 of its eVito electric vans to Amazon Logistics. The vans are will deploy within Amazon’s fleet sometime in 2019. 

The eVito has a range of 100 to 150 kilometers (62 to 93 miles) before needing a recharge, depending on use conditions. Primarily designed for urban environments, the eVito could be a great fit for Amazon, which tends to locate its distribution centers close to most major cities. 

It takes six hours to fully recharge its three 41 kWh batteries, and can hit max speeds of 80-120 km/h (50-75 mph) while carrying a max payload of 1,073 kg (2,366 lbs), depending on how you configure the engine to save or test the battery life. 

Mercedes claims its electric vans are “less expensive than diesel in the long run”, as the front-loaded cost for batteries will be “offset by lower energy and maintenance costs”. Lower distribution costs may factor more into Amazon’s investment into EVs than environmental concerns. 

High-end fashion manufacturer Hermés has also bought into Mercedes’ pilot eVito program. Both Hermés and Amazon Logistics will test their vans in Bochum and Düsseldorf, Germany, so you won’t see them stateside just yet. 

Mercedes also announced the eSprinter, the big brother to the eVito. The eSprinter’s max distance, speed and payload are nearly identical to the eVito’s, except with 10.5 m3 max cargo volume, compared to six m3. 

The German automaker has plenty of other futuristic projects in the works, including an AI-powered car, support for virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and autonomous drone delivery.

A promising e-trend

Amazon isn’t the only major distributor to jump onto the EV bandwagon. UPS recently bought 35 electric trucks to test in Paris and London. 

Credit: UPS

Ride-sharing companies are also buying into adding electric cars to their fleets. Uber just announced it would provide “monetary incentives” to drivers willing to purchase and use EVs for transporting passengers. And Zipcar just added 300 VW e-Golfs to its fleet in London. 

Yet if Amazon fully buys into EVs for a good portion of its deliveries, and other distributors follow its lead, global emissions could be significantly impacted for the better. 

Via Engadget

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  • Driverless cars: what you need to know about the future of cars

StumbleUpon has stumbled its last

StumbleUpon, a content discovery engine from the early days of the internet that attracted 40 million users over its 16-year run, shut down Sunday. But, its successor will launch before long.

Before sites like Facebook, Tumblr and Reddit made it easy for people to curate their own bubbles of personally relevant content, sites like StumbleUpon helped people find popular web pages and receive recommendations for similar web pages. 

Now, after 60 billion “Stumble” clicks and years of financial turmoil, including eBay buying and then selling StumbleUpon back to its original owners, the site has finally shuttered. 

Garrett Camp, who also co-founded Uber, announced the decision last week in a Medium post. In it, he said that the remaining Stumble team would move on to Mix.com, a new content discovery platform. 

“Mix.com combines social and semantic personalization into one streamlined experience,” Camp says. “It also makes it easier for people to organize content into meaningful collections. This will help you find obscure but interesting content that has been recommended by people you know and trust.”

If you’re one of those 40 million StumbleUpon users who stuck with the site this long, don’t worry about losing your personalized content. Camp also assured that these users will be able to import favorites and tags to Mix “over the next couple of months”. 

How many clicks will Mix get?

Mix will likely launch fully within that one- to two-month time frame, so people looking for a way to look for cool websites should keep an eye out for that. 

Camp says Mix will work on any smartphone and browser. Hopefully, the Mix app will have better ratings than the StumbleUpon iOS app. 

The main question, of course, is whether Mix will make an impression amidst so many other popular social networks. Of course, many former StumbleUpon fans may try out the new platform out of a sense of nostalgia.

This news is also an excellent reminder to check out your old favorite websites from the ’90s and early ’00s and see if they’re still kicking. Is Geocities still around?

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How to watch Colombia vs England: live stream World Cup football free from anywhere

We’ve been here before. Last time it was Colombia vs England at a World Cup finals twenty years ago, Darren Anderton and, yes, a David Beckham free kick gave England a 2-0 win. But here at Russia 2018, it could easily be a different story – and you can watch a free Colombia vs England live stream from anywhere in the world.

England started the 2018 FIFA World Cup given a very slim chance of getting very far in Russia, but that 6-1 Panama destruction and a Harry Kane hat-trick suddenly made them a very real threat in many peoples’ eyes. And now that they’re on the so-called easier half of the World Cup draw, memories of 1966 are beginning to stir again.

For Colombia, it feels like a lot rests on the late fitness call of their talisman James Rodríguez. He may have yet to show himself as the threat that won him the Golden Boot in Brazil four years ago, but his undoubted quality could be key. Colombia are no one-man team however, with the likes of Juan Cuadrado and Radamel Falcao bringing the star power.

Keep reading to discover how to live stream Colombia vs England – and, indeed, every World Cup 2018 match – no matter where in the world you are. Below we’ll tell you exactly how to watch on your TV, mobile device and it doesn’t have to cost you a thing.

Use a VPN to watch the World Cup 2018 from anywhere for FREE

You don’t have to miss a single minute of World Cup soccer – even if the country where you are isn’t broadcasting certain games. Because every second of action is being shown somewhere (the UK, for example, is televising every game for free – see below), you can simply use a VPN to login to a region that is broadcasting the game. And it’s really easy to do:

How to stream England vs Colombia live in the UK 

How to watch Colombia vs England: US live stream 

How to live stream Colombia vs England in Canada

How to watch England vs Colombia: live stream in Australia

How to watch England vs Colombia: New Zealand live stream 

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