Cloud Sports…

Data storage has long been an insatiable thirst for consumers and commercial enterprises alike. From a storage perspective, businesses and individuals wish to archive everything they possibly can. Rooms that were once filled with filing cabinets transformed into rooms full of hard drives. For the individual, the worn and torn scrapbook turned into the portable USB drive.

Convenience has also been the name of the game. Flexible working arrangements require employees to be able to work from home just as they would at their desk. Of course, remote access to the company’s documents and files are an important part of this. For the individual, carrying around a USB or portable hard drive was deemed too inconvenient. Instead, the success of Google Drive, Drop Box, Box, OneDrive and others show that, for many, cloud storage trumps all else.

The question has been how would different industries adopt the benefits of cloud storage? And what would be the impact? Would it enable new offerings, or simply make existing ones more cost effective?

Sport provides an interesting case study. Colloquially seen as the refuge from all things technology, the sporting industry, instead, has begun to adopt cloud storage with great success.

Sporting organizations typically leverage cloud storage in three ways; to aid performance of their athletes through enhanced evaluation and measurement techniques, to aid their relationship with fans through customized offerings in the style of the latest CRM techniques, and to enhance and proliferate the broadcast of their sport.

Examples of all three are aplenty, but I’ll note some of the most well-known case studies that have come to light in this still nascent stage of sport’s experimentation cloud storage.

In the 2018 World Cup, one of the hot favourites Brazil adopted a novel approach to managing the hydration of their players. Through a partnership with Gatorade, each Brazilian player has their own ‘smart bottle’ which tracks what type of fluid and how much of it they drink. The accompanying ‘smart patch’ tracks and analyses the athlete’s sweat to provide further information. This enables the team’s physios and sport scientists to track and design a training and hydration program specific to each player in order to maximize their performance. It provides insight into the player’s performance that would not have been possible before.

Formula 1 recently announced AWS as their cloud services provider, moving most of their data infrastructure from on-location to the cloud. The idea is to enable a much richer data offering for teams and fans alike, utilizing both benefits of cloud storage. For teams, the more cost-effective cloud solution provides some financial relief and potentially opens up the sport to new entrants. It also allows teams to make faster decisions with more data than would have been possible before.

For fans, the offering of Formula 1 as a spectacle has never been more promising. AWS solutions will allow fans to be able to see, in real time, the same data and information the teams see at the race tracks. The experience provided is deeper and more accessible through mobile platforms all around the world. From a business point of view, it is a necessary step the sport’s management had to take to advance their product.

Similarly, tournament-based events of all sizes have benefitted greatly from the cloud. The reliance on physical infrastructure investment for a short broadcast period of 2 to 4 weeks often meant that providing such a service was very expensive, or just not feasible at all. However, with the advent of cloud storage broadcasters not only are capable of satisfying their short-term infrastructure demands as needed, they’ve been able to enhance their streaming offerings to ultimately provide viewers with a better product.

The concept of cloud elasticity is only just starting to seep into our everyday lives. From a sporting perspective, this technology is being leveraged to enable better experiences for fans, players and organisations alike. In combination with the ever-developing Internet of Things, the innovation in this area is nowhere near finished yet.

The bottom line is that we are all the winners of sport’s embracement of the cloud.