SAP Africa is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the SAP Sports One solution.
The global adoption of SAP’s sports enhancement technologies has been nothing short of remarkable with clubs and organisations like McLaren, the Women’s Tennis Association, Manchester City, the International Cricket Council, Bayern Munich and the National Football League all utilising SAP to improve team training and performance, drive exciting fan engagement and optimise both business and venue operations.
Millions of people around the world have been glued to their screens over the last few weeks as the world’s best vied for positions at the Rio Olympics. South Africans won’t forget Wayde van Niekerk smashing the 400m world record or Caster Semenya who set a national record winning the 800m. This kind of performance highlights not only the importance of optimal training and dedication, but also the significance of a millisecond at a mission-critical moment in time; something that SAP with its 40 plus years of world-class tech experience really gets.
Technology in sport
As recently as a decade ago, the use of technology in Sport was widely deemed controversial. Talent scouts, coaches and journalists gathered data manually and trusted their gut to make strategic decisions, primarily based on past experience. Most paid little attention to technology to fine-tune that approach; that is, until the teams that embraced technology began to innovate and to win more and more regularly. The game was changed forever.
In today’s hyper-connected, data-driven Digital Economy, like every other industry, Sports is experiencing a massive digital transformation. At its heart is the capture and real-time analysis of data in a “digital athlete” framework – a real-time technology platform which acts as a central nervous system connecting millions of pieces of data quickly enough to enable athletes to immediately adapt their performance. Sports organisations across the world are investing modern technologies which tap into data provided by video, social platform interfaces, sensors and wearables.
SAP Sports technology addresses three predominant areas: team performance; fan engagement and stadium experience and management. Leveraging learnings from technology-rich data, trainers can make informed decisions in the moment about how to adjust tactics or formulate the data-driven ideal recommendations for the fitness and performance of the players – and while data won’t drive all decisions, it will help inform with precise real-time objective insights.
Real-time analysis of sports-related data has become prevalent right across the sporting arena, from soccer to motor racing and most things in between, including tennis, cricket, cycling, baseball, sailing hockey and equestrian sports. Harnessing technology, a completely new era in sports has dawned.
A new sports fan experience
According to Statista.com, by 2020, more than 2.95 billion people will participate in social media channels. Sports fans today expect to see scores, stats and customised news updated constantly. They also want to relate to their favourite players and hear news developments first-hand; and in today where boundaries between the physical and virtual worlds are increasingly blurred with 50 billion devices capable of connecting to the Internet, technology is redefining the Sports experience for them.
“Innovation is all about reimagining and improving the way things are done. In SAP’s case, it’s through technology. With SAP’s Sports technologies the idea is simple: unifying team performance and operations data on a real-time platform,” commented Brett Parker, SAP Africa Managing Director. “The results delivered are changing the way teams and athletes prepare, perform and innovate. Bring in-memory computing to the game with the SAP HANA platform and you have something uniquely exciting. Sporting competitions will always still require the right level of talent and skill; but in an era where the difference between success and failure is very often marginal, technology may well be the magic ingredient to ensure success.”