That’s what the ladybug I found inside an apricots box, bought the other day, thinks. And why not? If Paul the octopus, Shaheen the camel, Nelly the elephant or your favorite animal can predict the world cup results, then why not that shy ladybug? I will not say how the insect indicated its choice, in case this prediction actually influences the results, but will update this blog after the cup season is over.
I am not a true football fan and I won’t be upset if my ladybug prediction turns wrong. In fact, I do not have a specific team to support. My interest is not in camels extending their necks to indicate a winning team or who bets on which team, but in scientific predictions based on data mining and analytics (if any), data transfer and storage as well as mobile viewing. How do we determine the likelihood of a certain team winning a match? And beyond getting a flat screen TV and channel subscription, or going to the nearby cafe’ for collective viewing, how to be updated through your mobile phone or tablet?
Several entities created their own models to predict the result of each match leading to the cup winner. Some of these models are based on historical statistics and others are more sophisticated incorporating specific players, positions, ranks, wages, crowds and so on. Among them are Goldman Sachs, FiveThirtyEight, Bloomberg and many others – including this interactive graphic. Sporting Intelligence uses different indicators including an aggregation to find a winner in the tournament and ends up with a few candidates. There is little intelligence and too much stats in all these models, and they are as good as our psychic animals.
Big data, cloud computing, content delivery, goal sensors, networking and carriers will be distinguished guests (actually hosts) in the game. Massive data in the form of video, audio, scores, events, images, comments and other interactions need to be recorded, transferred and secured in real time. The game is supposed to be the first truly digital world cup.
Since many will use their mobile phones and other smart devices to keep up with the games, several apps are available. You can find a few selected lists for both Android and iOs at Digital Trends or UK Telegraph (most of which are free) with the FIFA official app as top candidate. Make sure you do not download infected apps from un-trusted sources.
Brazilians are already protesting the $11 billion cup cost as too high, which may be true, but this investment should have good immediate returns and is likely to continue to do so later on. The hidden losing investment will be in the form of lost work hours or low productivity all around the world by football fans.
Football, or soccer to be more accurate, is a great game for both players and crowds. You can enjoy being in the field or around it (physically or virtually), but you should not cross those boundaries or violate the non-written rules and turn it into religion or national identity. It’s just a game and should not be seen as battles in a new world war.
Ladybug update (July 14, 2014): so that was pretty close! I have to admit though that Mrs. ladybug had nothing to do with football predictions. She happened to be the first creature I saw before I wrote the above article. I just wanted to say that you can’t use models or psychos to predict world cup results – it’s all, simply, gambling. Till next cup!