German National Football Team Uses Real-Time Analytics for a Competitive Edge

As a top contender, the German National Football team is looking for every advantage to bring to the pitch during the 2014 FIFA World Cup* event in São Paulo, Brazil. According to this German_Football.pngPCWorld article, the German team is partnering with SAP to use in-memory data analytics to increase team performance.

Personalized training regimens to optimize play

SAP HANA* software is an in-memory data analytics platform used by businesses—including sports teams—to analyze huge amounts of data in milliseconds. The data come from sensors carried by the players and in the ball that collect millions of positional data points and feed them into the SAP HANA platform for real-time calculation of player parameters such as acceleration, speed, and ball contacts. The results make it possible to visualize and analyze performance information so that coaches, trainers, and players can see what is happening, where they need to improve, how they can better defend or attack the opposing team, and how they might alter the training to reduce the risk of player injury. These insights translate into a competitive advantage – something every athlete and team is trying to create and exploit.

Source: “Big Data Analysis in Football with SAP HANA.” SAP TV (2014).

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Source: “Big Data Analysis in Football with SAP HANA.” SAP TV (2014).

Big data analytics and the business of sports

Like many other businesses, the sports and entertainment industry is starting to test and operationalize big data analytics. The annual MIT Sloan* Sports Analytics Conference has seized the mantle as the place to (at least publicly) talk about sports analytics. Optimized, personal training regimens, as well as perspective on overall team performance, enable teams to make the best use of their sometimes fantastically expensive talent investments (Germany’s first World Cup opponent, Portugal, features superstar Cristiano Ronaldo with his $200 million five year contract coupled to $28 million a year in endorsements!).

If you’re a fan, the use of big data to improve athletic performance could make for some great action on the big screen. SAP HANA analytics is trying to make a big difference to the German National Football team. Sit back and see if you agree that the investment in big data technology is giving them a competitive advantage in their 2014 World Cup so-called “Group of Death.” Their first match is against Portugal on June 16, followed by June 21 against Ghana and June 26 against the United States. And be sure to sign up for the Intel IT Center Essential Series on Big Data that provides insights on big data trends along with detailed research and planning tools to tackle analytics projects.

Do you think big data analytics can be an effective way to improve performance in sports? Also, how does your organization use big data to improve performance? Please share your thoughts.

-Paul Crawford

Follow Paul Crawford on Twitter @RPaulCrawford
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