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SAP has changed the face of many industries by allowing decision-makers within those fields to consider how data processing and analytics can benefit them. One of the less highlighted areas that SAP has made inroads into is the world of sport. Given the number of businesses relying on the processing of real-time data to enable them to make decisions, it's not that surprising that SAP has found a home here. From football companies that are using analytics to predict potential injuries or do opponent analysis, to boxers who are trying to ensure they maintain proper form, there's an extensive use for analytical processing in the sports industry.

The Numbers Don't Lie

SAP has seen a lot of new clients from the sports world, adding over 250 customers from the industry as active subscribers. Teams can leverage the portability of wearable devices streamlined to work alongside an SAP HANA data collection and storing utility. Trainers and athletes can then inspect the data after it's collected. They can then use the information there to inform their training regimen or to figure out where they can improve. It's estimated that over 7.7 million data points are collected during a single hour of soccer training.

The Digital Athlete Framework

How does SAP handle this streaming data? We already know that athletes use wearables to monitor their vitals and the number of calories they're burning. For individual athletes, this might be enough, but when you look at team-based games, a single athlete's data taken by itself is an island. For the team to succeed, it needs to combine these isolated collections of data into an overview of each player’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s by doing so that you get a sense of a collective strength of a team – the sort of rich data that fuels everything from a coach’s tactics to the odds of success offered up by gambling sites.

SAP uses a system known as Digital Athlete that can connect to wearables on any member of a team, and collect this data, then stream it for processing and storage on their SAP system. The Digital Athlete Framework follows five major technology trends:

  •     Smart Sensors: wearables and IoT devices are seamlessly connected to the system to collect and log data as it happens

  •     Cloud Computing: The idea of an on-premise machine is old technology. SAP HANA uses cloud servers to ensure that data is always available from anywhere in the world

  •     Real-Time Analytics: With the sheer volume of data produced, real-time analytics is the only way to ensure that the data gives timely insights

  •     Hyperconnectivity: All athletes on a team can be connected simultaneously

  •     Secure Data Storage: Security of information is always a concern, but with advanced security on the cloud, users can rest easy that their data remains safe.

SAP HANA and Real-Time Analysis

The thing that sets SAP apart from other systems is its approach to the analysis of data. Using a similar tactic to the kind used by enterprise-level Big Data analytics, SAP HANA processes streams of data as they come in to ascertain insights. This real-time approach means a coach or trainer can use data received from a game currently being played to adapt their strategies. The Digital Athlete approach is a new trend in the sports industry.

Modern sports teams focus on both the game and the business aspect of operations. SAP offers a lot of tools to help those companies transform their business from a paper-based system to a fully digital one. With the rest of the industry adopting technology to make their lives easier, teams either need to get with the program or get left behind.