Cisco and Octagon launch ‘Connected Scarf’ emotion tracking tool for Manchester City fans

Cisco has partnered with sports agency Octagon to launch The Connected Scarf, a new technology project in support of Cisco’s partnership with Manchester City FC and City Football Group. Unit9, a global production and technology agency, also helped spearhead the initiative.

As part of Cisco’s ongoing efforts to power a more inclusive future, drive innovation, and better connect fans globally with the clubs and players they love, Octagon helped bring to life Cisco’s vision for The Connected Scarf, a wearable technology that helps monitor a fan’s emotional journey throughout a match, providing further insight into the interconnection between the club and its supporters.

“In our work with Manchester City over the past few years, we’ve continuously looked for ways to connect fans to the sport they love, on another level,” said Ashley Marusak, global sports marketing manager for Cisco. “The Connected Scarf is an exciting project for us to pilot together, as we seek to better understand and measure the ups and downs of football fandom, and how the game impacts supporters not only emotionally, but physically as well.”

“Being a fan of any club is an emotional rollercoaster. Thanks to The Connected Scarf we’re now able to understand the physiological emotions fans go through during a game,” said Ryan Shaw, creative director, Octagon UK. “Creating this technology from scratch has been an incredible journey, and we’re incredibly excited about how much this scarf can teach us about fans and club culture.”

Conceptualised and brought to life over a period of four months, this sophisticated wearable is fitted with an open-source device of biometric sensors integrated into the fabric, anonymously capturing bio-signals coming from a series of skin conductance sensors. The Connected Scarf is able to accurately track and record fans’ emotional, physiological and movement data throughout a match. The sensors are also able to capture four separate data streams. These are heart rate, heart rate variability, respiration, oxygen saturation, and hydration; sympathetic nervous system responses that are driven by cognitive and emotional arousal; movements, activity, gesture, rotation and cardinal direction; and temperature that can be used to assess emotional reactions.

When worn by a fan watching their team, the feedback is described as remarkably accurate with fascinating nuances, capturing both positive and negative reactions to goals, tackles and referee decisions.

A two-minute film was created to launch the project, featuring Manchester City men’s stars Jack Grealish and Aymeric Laporte, and documents the development of The Connected Scarf as fans throughout the Etihad Stadium tested the new technology during the team’s crucial victory over Newcastle in the Premier League title run.


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