Innovation, Media, Technology, Travel

Exciting Innovations at the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup

The UX Connections team will soon be over in sunny Dubai on our company-wide trip. Whilst experiencing the culture and innovation from the Middle East, we’ll be counting down the days until the FIFA 2022 World Cup, which starts on 20th November in Qatar. Therefore, continuing our UX Inspirations series we’d like to talk about how innovative technologies are being utilised to improve the overall experience for World Cup guests and tourists.

Al Rihla

One of the most basic but important elements of any football match is the ball. This year at the Qatar World Cup, the official match ball is not just any ball – it’s innovative and revolutionary. Developed by Adidas, the official ball was named Al Rihla, meaning ‘the journey’ in Arabic. By analysing tons of data and performing countless tests, the lab of Adidas created the fastest ball in flight which also comes with improved accuracy and consistency to keep up with the intense games.

The two iconic features of Al Rihla include:

  • Speedshell, which is a special PU skin with 20 panels. Its texture and surface deboss enhances the flight stability and swerve.
  • CRT-Core, which is the heart of the ball, providing remarkable rebound accuracy and air retention. It supports the accuracy and consistency required by fast games.

(Source: Goal)

Apart from Speedshell and CRT-Core, Al Rihla contains a sensor in the centre of the ball which is able to track ball movement. It sends very precise data 500 times per second to be analysed by AI. This is vital to improving the VAR system, enabling faster and more accurate decision making.

Besides, no other World Cup ball is made exclusively with water-based glues and inks as Al Rihla. Al Rihla is a ball of sustainability and innovation.

The NavBuddy App

The story of the NavBuddy app is quite spectacular – the two founders, Mohammad Al Saffar and Ahammed Waseem, won a ‘tech-hackathon’ back in 2019 whilst being the youngest team competing against experienced industry professionals. After this success, the team wanted to build a product that hadn’t been seen before, that could solve real-life stresses. So, they settled on the issue of indoor navigation, aiming to advance the way users of their app could move around inside large, complex buildings. That is where the inspiration for NavBuddy’s came from!

NavBuddy, endorsed by the official Qatar World Cup, is an indoor navigation system that allows users to find various points of interest within malls, stadiums, hospitals, and other venues seamlessly and in real-time. All the user has to do is feed in their desired location, and follow the app’s directions. NavBuddy uses Bluetooth and sensor fusion technology to keep up with their users, and guide them to their desired location. It can also monitor crowds and send alerts regarding how many people are in a certain area.

(Source: ILoveQatar)

This technology will definitely come in handy for visitors of the FIFA World Cup, since they’ll no doubt be in-and-out of numerous stadiums throughout their visit. It is often assumed that once you arrive at your destination, the need for navigation is over, but this is a common oversight. Large indoor areas can be exceptionally hard to navigate, especially when you’re in another country where you do not speak their native language. We’re sure that this app will provide vital support to all those visiting for the event!


The last World Cup Innovation on our list is ‘Bonocle’, a product of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy Innovation Programme, Challenge 22. Being put to use at the Qatar FIFA World Cup, It works by converting digital content into Braille, thus allowing fans with visual impairments to have the same access to content as everyone else. Founders Ramy Soliman and Abdelrazak Aly first came up with the idea for Bonocle after Abdelrazek had an accident whilst at university. Once he joined the university special needs centre, they spent a lot of their semester there, eventually befriending some of the disabled students. Once they were introduced to the technology options available to their friends, they were shocked at the sheer outdatedness of the technology. From that point onward, they decided to work on technology that could improve digital accessibility. Talking about the use of it during the FIFA World Cup, they said:

“Bonocle will enable the blind community all over the world to experience the World Cup in 2022 in new ways that were never available before. It will improve their ability to move around Doha with fewer restrictions, and more freedom to navigate and interact”.

(Source: Euro News)

Bonocle will not only improve the experience of World Cup guests, but it will also shape the future of digital accessibility as a whole, acting as a key exemplar of how technology can be utilised to improve the everyday experiences for millions of people. 

The technological innovations that have been put in place for the upcoming Qatar World Cup are exceptionally forward-thinking. It’s great to see the amount of accessibility measures that have been prioritised by the event managers, and the country as a whole. We’re excited to see how it will go, especially since Qatar is the first Middle Eastern country to ever host the event! Make sure to check out our previous articles in our Down in Dubai: UX Inspirations series, and let us know which team you’ll be supporting at this year’s FIFA World Cup!

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