The analytics of things ... and sports


Who cares about sports and data? Not just athletes, coaches and fans. It turns out that many companies outside of sporting organisations are also associated with the sports industry.  For example, financial services organisations are actively involved in sports sponsorships. Retailers sell fan merchandise. Telcos build social engagement strategies around sporting events. And more recently, sporting apps and devices are a large part of the internet of things (IoT) data deluge. At a recent analytics in sports conference, almost every delegate at the conference talked about wearables, video imaging and smart building devices to stream instant data.

I recently attended the Analytics in Sports conference in my hometown of Melbourne, Australia along with more than 750 attendees from all types of industries. It was fascinating to engage with the sporting buffs who are also crazy about data.  Who would have thought, right?

Attendees from every industry were scratching their heads over HOW to use the collected sports and performance data for commercial value.

ballsEnter the analytics of things (AoT) - the ONLY application that is going to bring meaning to the emergent IoT creation.  Here are some facts as to why you should start considering the AoT.

  • Fact 1: Cisco - 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020 – that’s only one Olympics Games away!
  • Fact 2: Gartner - Economic value of the IoT, across a number of industries, will reach $1.9 trillion worldwide by 2020.

Based on these two points, it’s time to ride the IoT wave. Everyday objects are connected via the internet and nowadays, cars, homes, transport, roads and my Wahoo kicker (bike trainer) are all part of the network. I can ride the Tour de France course with someone in South Africa and collect data on our collective performance.  What’s the value?  Insights to improve my competitive performance and win the virtual race.  I am a victim of AoT, but for the better.  Here are my three rules to live by if you are going to extract value from IoT with AoT:

  1. Don’t wait! You’d be familiar with Aesop’s fable, the Tortoise and the Hare. The lesson is that if you take a nap, even your unexpected competitor can win the race. Fable to fact, the IoT race is outlined in the researchpaper, Capitalizing on Sensor Data Opportunities, which is based on a survey of 500 IndustryWeek subscribers.  It’s a must read NOW to jump start your IoT strategy. The paper details:
    • What types of companies are using sensors and how they are using them.
    • Describes how sensors can make manufacturers more competitive.
    • Provides guidance on how to best prepare for making the inevitable influx of sensor generated data a continuously flowing stream of opportunity instead of a unexpected flood that disrupts and distracts.
  2. Think quick!
  3. Too much data, not enough insights. Where do I start? This is a common discussion I have had with many senior analytics managers. It's so overwhelming to be confronted with this complex data problem, while not so complex.  Remember – data is streaming in faster than ever before, so it’s not necessary to set aside time to develop models in a 3 month project plan. Those days are gone.  Now you can act faster and stream analytics as the data flows in, allowing you to think quickly and act now to create the ultimate customer experience through IoT.  SAS Event Stream Processing gets results with Analytics for IoT with up to 800,000 event per second.  Read the Benchmark brief to see how it outperforms.

  4. Invest now!
  5. The value will come soon. If you haven’t already invested in analytics technology or resources, then you are already behind in the race to get the advantage.

Learn more about the Internet of Things.


About Author

Natalie Mendes

Natalie Mendes born and raised in Melbourne, intended on a TV and entertainment career to host music programs. She grew up with a passion for 80’s British pop, Motown dancing and Statistics. Switching from an Arts degree to an Applied Statistics and Computer Science degree specializing in Psychology, her life took a different direction towards football statistics, fire risk modelling, credit risk and more recently earning a title of CEOA – Chief Excitement Officer for Analytics. She heads up the Analytics capabilities for SAS Australia / New Zealand and sits on the industry advisory board for Latrobe University as she has a passion to help new graduates thrive in this discipline. She is an enthusiastic evangelist for the application of analytics and is motivated about using this to interrupt the digital disruption.

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