Game on! See how technology can help both players and fans.\ FEATURE
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Game on! See how technology can help both players and fans.

It's National Signing Day for college football and that means teams are snapping up their picks for next year as quick as a center snaps the football to quarterbacks. For the first time ever, college prospects can lock up their scholarships and formally sign a Letter of Intent early.

And while all eyes may be on potential future NFL players, the future of the game centers around technology.  Since September, the NFL has used chips in the football to help coaches and analysts evaluate the game once it's over. But as the New York Times reports, during close calls that come down to inches or millimeters, referees rely on eyeing a ball in a clutch situation.  For now, there's no technology to replace a referee spotting a ball to measure first downs, and there are no immediate plans to incorporate it.

See also: Sports teams tackle VR

When it comes to safety on the field, technology has been used in helmets to record the number of hits a player takes during a game. According to SB Nation, sensors track the hits and severity, which gets sent to a handheld sensor used by trainers.

And beyond the gridiron, plenty of athletes use Cisco technology to help improve their game. Take Japanese table tennis stars, Kasumi Ishikawa and Tomokazu Harimoto. Cisco is providing them with Cisco Spark and other collaboration technologies to better communicate with their coaches.

Technology also plays a big role for fans. As Stephanie Chan wrote earlier this year, when it comes to watching football and other games, Cisco has long helped enhance the fan experience with its connected stadium solutions.

So, no matter if you're an athlete or a fan, technology is becoming more vital than ever.

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About Liza Meak @lizameak

Liza Meak is a Manager of Social Media Communications at Cisco. She writes and produces content for The Network, Cisco's technology news site.