Featured on JewishPressTampa.com: Israeli sports tech innovators, local pro teams, share game-changing ideas

Sports technology – some of it coming from Israel – is a rapidly expanding industry that is affecting the way people across the globe watch, attend and interact with sporting events.

The third annual Florida-Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA) Innovation Fusion event highlighted these innovations and connected business leaders, techies, investors, sports lovers and Israel enthusiasts. Held at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC on May 22, the event was sold out.

FIBA, under the umbrella of the Tampa JCCs and Federation, works to develop Israeli businesses and help them expand into the Tampa Bay community.

“We want to bring some of Israel’s best innovations and startups to the Tampa Bay region,” said Gary Gould, CEO of Tampa JCCs and Federation.

This year’s Innovation Fusion event focused on how technology is changing the nature of sports. Key players in the fields of business, innovation and sports spoke at the event, including founders of major Israeli startups and leaders in the local sports industry.

Oren Simanian, the founder of another successful Israeli startup, Colosseum Sport, was one of the keynote speakers at the FIBA event. Colosseum Sport is the first Israeli international sports technology innovation group and Simanian founded StarTAU, Tel Aviv University’s Innovation center and co-founded TAU Ventures, the University venture capital arm.

“We are all connected to sports in some way, whether we are the fans, the players, the people employed in sports industries, or the people drinking beer at the games,” laughed Simanian.

Fewer people are attending in-person sports games than in previous years, Simanian said. The solution, from his perspective, is increased fan engagement. Introducing new technology, such as 3D replays, virtual statistics, sound technology and automatic highlights can help drive a better fan experience in stadiums.

He also suggested that innovators look to the current technology industry leaders for inspiration. Since technology is such an essential tool for modern business success, it’s crucial for entrepreneurial leaders to look to innovative technologies in order to stir new ideas and solutions.

Other keynote speakers, Aviv Shapira and his brother Mateo Shapira, co-founders of Replay Technologies, took the stage to add their experience as innovators and business partners in the sportstech field.

“This is what happens when innovation meets real life,” said Mateo Shapira. “This is what happens when you take a crazy idea and make it a reality.”

Replay technologies produced a new video format that has been adopted at major sporting events around the globe. It helps viewers slow down fast moments in time, watch them from a variety of angles and ultimately judge player performance using the 360 degree viewing technology.

Watching sports games from all sides makes it possible to experience views where no camera is physically placed. The brothers’ goal was to help viewers experience games in a new, immersive way.

“We are redefining what it means to watch and experience sports,” said Aviv Shapira.

Replay technologies was acquired by Intel in 2016. Since then, Aviv Sharpia has taken on a new project, XTEND. XTEND is a human extension platform that uses drones and extended reality technology to mesh virtual experiences and real world atmospheres with extreme accuracy. XTEND makes it possible for users to turn real activities into tech-driven games.

“Think about Skype, but 3D, and you can fly,” said Aviv Shapira.

The brothers both believe that the future of experiencing content lies in extended reality technology. XTEND is currently helping the Israeli Defense Forces to view threats in an innovative and immersive way.

To wrap up the evening, FIBA invited an all-star panel of leaders in the local sports industry to speak. Representatives of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, Orlando Magic plus the Tampa Bay Sports Commission spoke about the impact of technology and innovation on their respective sports.

Read the full Jewish Press of Tampa article here.

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