Suraj Pai, vice president, platform solutions, SE Asia, SAP
When the recently concluded F1 race had vroomed into town, it became a great opportunity for many tech companies to showcase what role they play in a race that usually remains hidden from the public eye. It is only when you talk to tech companies that you realize how critical technology is in an F1 like event--for organizers, for participants and even for media and fans.
I had the opportunity to hear from the executives of Walldorf, Baden-Württemberg, Germany-headquartered software firm, SAP, who shared with me how the company contributed to the performance of its F1 partner, Mclaren.
And SAP is not just stopping at F1. It is also providing technology solutions to a host of other sports. According to Suraj Pai, vice president, platform solutions, SE Asia, SAP, sports has emerged as the 25th and newest vertical industry market for his company. In APAC alone, the sports market was worth $20 billion in 2013. The F1 event alone contributes $112 million to Singapore's tourism revenue.
Pushing new boundaries
Using SAP's new technologies such as big data analytics, SAP HANA (High Perfromance Analytic Appliance) platform and mobile computing and cloud applications, SAP is helping the sports and entertainment industry to push new boundaries.
For the F1 race, Pai said that SAP was partnering with the McLaren team. The team has adopted SAP's HANA platform and associated HEC support.
Pai said that sports like F1 are extremely competitive and if a team can get even a millisecond advantage by using technology, it will go for it. The McLaren car is, for instance, equipped with about 200 sensors to capture data that are analysed by SAP solutions to improve performance on the track.
Paul Wetton, McLaren Group's head of business systems, finds SAP HANA revolutionary. "The revolution with HANA is that businesses are made to operate in real time," Wetton says. "Historically there has always been a separation of data currency from the real time nature of business, so the data being interpreted and relied on by decision-makers can be a day, a week, a month or more out of date."
But the uses of SAP technology goes beyond performance enhancement. Kolkata Knight Riders in India, one of India's top cricket teams, owned by Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, uses SAP's solutions to enhance their talent selection process, said Pai.
He said that SAP's sports and entertainment solution portfolio adds value and new experiences for everyone, from fans to sports fanatics. For example, they can engage fan bases through enhanced statistical insights, fantasy initiatives, game-day experience and two-way dialogue with their teams.
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