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Digital Russia 2018 – are you ready for the most hi-tech World Cup ever?

It’s that time again - football’s greatest spectacle is upon us, and World Cup fever has taken over here at Headland!

Russia 2018 will be the most hi-tech football tournament ever staged, and so it’s not just the players and skills on the pitch that will be grabbing our attention. Broadcasters, advertising agencies, digital gurus, bloggers, vloggers, and technical innovators have been working towards this event for months, hoping to create special digital moments that will stop us in our tracks.

What started years ago with flickering black and white images and occasional pre-recorded highlights is now a global multimedia extravaganza of real-time digital content – so what are the big tech stories from the World Cup so far?

It’s just like being there

The BBC will be broadcasting the tournament in virtual reality for the first time. In their words, VR will allow viewers to “be transported to a fully immersive stadium experience, through headsets, as if they are sitting in their own hospitality box.” It’s certainly much cheaper and easier than organising your own trip to Russia.

Digital stickers?

The Panini sticker album that so many of us remember fondly from our childhoods can now be filled in online in a purely digital version. “And they call this progress?” we hear you ask.

Can VAR get its act together?

One of the more contentious issues regarding the World Cup is VAR – Video Assistant Referees – with Russia 2018 being the first time the controversial technology has been used at a World Cup. As VAR has been less than convincing so far, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for this one.

Hi-tech World Cup ball is out-of-this-world

The "Telstar 18" – the official match ball for the World Cup – is the first to ever contain a microchip. NFC (near field communication) technology will allow data to be passed from the ball to nearby devices in real-time. Impressively, the ball has also been tested out by Russian cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station.

See all the goals on the go

Twitter have partnered with ITV to broadcast World Cup highlights in real-time on your timeline - so no matter where you are, you’ll be able to see all the goals as they’re scored.

The only World Cup wallchart you need

And finally - one of the most important parts of a World Cup experience is a good wallchart. This is one of our favourites, as it very conveniently lists the times of all the games and the TV channel you can watch them on. Simple but incredibly useful.

No matter what, Russia 2018 is set to be the most viewed and talked about sports tournament ever held. The 2014 World Cup semi-final between Brazil and Germany is still the most-tweeted sports event in history, with 35.6 million tweets – there’s a good chance that that record could be broken in Russia this summer. Here’s to a great tournament!

Published: 5 June 2018

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