How will Tech Transform the Way we View Sports? Sandra Lopez, VP at Intel Sports Shares Her Insight

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In this Q&A, Sandra Lopez, Vice President at Intel Sports Group, shares insight on what drove her to a long career at Intel, how the way we view sports will be transformed and some of the points she'll be discussing at Women of Silicon Valley this May 2020.

 

What will you be speaking about at Women of Silicon Valley?

Consumer fan behavior has changed, yet how we consume sports hasn’t experienced a significant change in the past 80 years. The modern fan wants the freedom to choose and interact with sports content in a new and exciting way – they want to be the ones breaking down the plays and sharing their clip with their family and friends.

In its continuous commitment to building the future, Intel Sports is driving the next wave of innovative technologies that are transforming fan experience. Intel Sports is bringing fans closer to the game via incredible immersive media experiences – ultimately providing a new perspective to the game and new ways to interact with their favorite sports content.

  • View "IntelImmersive Media Experiences: Transforming the way Sports Content is Consumed" and other items on the agenda

 

What will people learn from listening to your talk?

First, one has to acknowledge the influence sports has in our society. Sports has shaped society by bringing communities together and having pro-athletes become role models for the next generation of players as well as leaders. This year, Naomi Osaka sharing the on court US Open interview stage with Coco Gauff was a lesson in sportsmanship. The sports influence extends into the world of technology with the investments being made in smart stadiums and investments funds being established to focus on the identification and growth of emerging technologies.

As entrepreneurs, line of business managers or engineers it is important to understand how the convergence of two industries, sports and technology, will affect our society. From how fans will engage with their favorite sports content or athlete, how sports brands will advertise to how new business models will be formed, one needs to understand emerging trends and imagine how it could possibly affect their world.

 

What led you to your career at Intel?

I thrive on growing and developing and midway through my career, I realized I had a gap that is vital to running a global business: a keen understanding of Asian markets. Coming from the software industry, we didn’t focus on Asia, given piracy issues that existed at the time. Thus, I wanted to pursue a role at a company that had a solid foothold in Asia. In addition, I wanted to serve a company that had relentless commitment to enhancing society through the use of technology.

Intel had a long history of operating in China and was also known for its technological innovations for good. When I was given the opportunity to join the Intel family – I couldn’t say no and I have been at Intel for almost 14 years. I am often questioned why I am still at Intel. I have been at Intel for over a decade because there are not only few reputable and ethical companies but also companies that allow you to expand your wings in disciplines that may have not been one’s core competency. I have had transformative opportunities at Intel that have allowed me to grow and develop both professionally and personally.

 

Are you working on anything exciting at the moment that you can share with our readers?

Intel Sports, in partnership with the broader sports eco-system, is developing a new experience that will enable fans to view a play from the perspective that they choose. It will place fans closer to the action by giving them the freedom to choose the perspective of their favorite player or even the referee or ball.

We have partnered and are continuing to partner with several leaders in the sports industry to deliver immersive media experiences to the modern fan. To deliver immersive media experiences, it requires vast amounts of computational power to capture, process, analyze and distribute which is why Intel is uniquely qualified to lead the effort.

 

What do you think we can expect in immersive media experiences in the future?

Today, consumers are creating their own shows on YouTube, Tik Tok or sharing their own playlists on Spotify. We anticipate with these emerging technologies that Intel Sports is engineering, fans will become their own storytellers and will share how they view the play with their friends and family.

 

Both tech and sports can be typically male-dominated sectors, what has been your experience of working in these fields as a woman?

While I thought technology was a tough industry for us, women, I would argue that being a woman in sports is significantly more challenging. Sports is a relationship business with relationships established for years - one’s network matters.

Given I was new to the sports industry, I had to leverage my networking muscle to meet individuals in the sports industry that would open the door for me. Many of the men that I met when I began in sports are now male allies within my community continuing to open the doors and ensuring women are represented in the industry. They recognize that a woman’s voice in sports is valuable because we watch sports, play sports and most likely determine if our children will play a sport.

 

Who is your female tech inspiration and why?

When I was young, I read about Ada Lovelace and was enamored by her.  Specifically, her dexterity and love for both art and math made me realize that I didn’t have to choose between right or left brain. Also, she defied societal rules that only men can be mathematicians as she became a reputable mathematician highly regarded amongst her male colleagues. She was instrumental in establishing the computer science field and she was one of the original women in technology. She has paved the way for women in technology.

 

What advice would you give to women looking to pursue a career in tech?

First, follow your heart and if technology is where your heart resides, pursue it. Second, you will face many obstacles, yet those very obstacles will become your staircase to success. You will learn how to navigate them, how to overcome them and how to face them head on. Overcoming these obstacles will enable you to become an invaluable leader within the technology community.

Finally, we need you. We need 50% of the population represented in the technologies that are created for our society. Not having your voice represented is doing society a disservice. 


About the speaker

Sandra E. Lopez is VP for Intel Sports and Media, responsible for partnering with the sports and media industry to provide the future fans and consumers with the next generation of immersive media experiences. Her team is focused on leading the business, marketing, and market development efforts of Intel Sports and Intel Studios. Lopez is also the co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on VR/AR/XR.

Previously, she led and managed the Fashion wearable business in Intel’s New Technology Group. Earlier in her Intel career, Lopez held various roles within corporate marketing, including director of new business marketing and director of consumer marketing. She's earned various industry honors including Top Woman in Media 2019, HiTEC 100: The Most Influential and Notable Hispanic Professionals in IT, Most Powerful Woman in Technology 2018, Most Influential and Notable Hispanic Professional in Tech and Sports Business Journal Game Changer, and was named among the Top 10 Latina Executives by LATINA Style Inc.

Before joining Intel in 2005, Lopez worked at Adobe Systems Inc., Macromedia, Computer Associates International Inc. and several other technology companies. As part of contributing to the community, she is focused on building the next generation of women leaders.

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