Football in the clouds - fashion or a necessity?

    June 1 - the final of the Champions League football. There are “Tottenham Hotspur” and “Liverpool”, in a dramatic struggle, defended their right to fight for the most prestigious cup for clubs. However, we want to talk not only about football clubs, but about technologies that help to win matches and win medals.

    The first successful cloud projects in sports

    Cloud sports have been actively implemented in sports for five years now. So, in 2014, NBC Olympics (part of the NBC Sports Group holding) usedCisco Videoscape Television Services Delivery Platform cloud software hardware and components for transcoding and content management during television broadcasts from the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. Cloud computing has helped create a simple, agile and flexible streaming architecture for live streaming and on-demand content transfer from the cloud.

    At Wimbledon in 2016, the IBM Watson cognitive system was launched, which is able to analyze user messages on social networks in order to determine their emotions and offer the content that interests them. For broadcasts, a “cloud” was also used. It solved the problem of dynamic allocation of resources for the distribution of the load and allowed to update the results of the tournament faster than on the scoreboard of the central court. Technology Overview Alreadywas on Habré .

    At the Rio Olympics in the same 2016, the most significant moments were broadcast in virtual reality mode. 85 hours of panoramic video were available to Samsung Gear VR owners and Viasat subscribers. Cloud technologies analyzed and overlaid data from GPS trackers on canoes and kayaks, so fans could compare tactics of different teams and changes in crew speed. And the clouds helped control the health of athletes!

    What about football?

    Football clubs are interested in collecting maximum data about the game, the physical and mental state of the players. Both their own and rivals. In addition to the sports component, you need to remember about the accompanying "kitchen". Clubs need solutions to automate the stadium, plan and control the training process, organize and conduct selection activities, electronic document management, personnel records, etc.

    What does the cloud have to do with it? The automation systems of Russian football clubs have cloud versions that have a number of undeniable advantages. They simplify control over the club’s internal business processes and save on their own IT infrastructure. In addition, the team coach can access analytical data at any time and from any place where there is Internet access.

    CSKA and Zenit have introduced cloud technologies to more effectively interact with fans. And, for example, the Spartak Academy of Football named after F.F. Cherenkova uses IT solutions to optimize the process of transition from a youth team to the main one. The data accumulated during the training period allow you to see the strengths of each novice footballer.

    Germany, Bavaria, Manchester City ...

    All these teams use cloud technology to achieve high sports results. Some experts believe that it was thanks to the "clouds" that the Germans managed to become world champions in Brazil.

    It all started with the fact that in October 2013 the German Football Association (DFB) and SAP beganCollaboration on the development of the Match Insights software system. In March 2014, the solution was implemented, and since then head coach Joachim Loew has been using software in his work.

    Right during the World Cup, the German team analyzed the information transmitted by cameras around the field. The collected and processed information was sent to the tablets and mobile phones of the players, and, if necessary, was broadcast on the big screen in the players' recreation room. This made it possible to increase the productivity of the team and better understand its rivals. Other data collected included speed and distance traveled by players, location on the field and number of touches of the ball.

    The most obvious example of the effectiveness of a solution was a change in the team’s game speed. In 2010, when Germany reached the semifinals of the World Cup, the average ball possession time was 3.4 seconds. After using HANA-based Match Insights, this time was reduced to 1.1 seconds.

    Oliver Bierhoff , SAP brand ambassador and manager of the German national football team, assistant coach Lowe, said:
    “We had a lot of quality data. Jerome Boateng asked to see, for example, how Cristiano Ronaldo moves in attack. And before the game against France, we saw that the French were very concentrated in the middle, but left places on the flanks, because their defenders did not run properly. Therefore, we aimed at these areas. ”

    Munich “Bavaria” followed the example of their native team, and in 2014 also introduced IT solutions in the club’s infrastructure. Using modern technology, the club hoped to get significant benefits, especially in the field of monitoring the performance of players and their health. Judging by the results of the performance, they succeed.

    Another striking example is the structure of which includes the football club Manchester City, New York City, Melbourne City, Yokohama F. Marinos. The company entered into an agreement to supply a solution that could collect and analyze data right during the game.

    The new Challenger Insights software was introduced in 2017. Coaching staff of Manchester City”Used it to prepare for the matches, to plan the game, in the locker room for operational adjustment of tactics on the field and after the final whistle - to develop strategies for future games. Coaches, club analysts and even players on the bench were given the opportunity to evaluate from tablets what tactics their opponent uses, what are their strengths and weaknesses, how best to resist it.

    At the same time, software was improved for the 2018-2019 season. It was used by the male and female team of the club. Men became champions. Women have second place so far.

    Vincent Company , then still captain of Manchester City, said:
    "The app helps me and the team prepare for the game, better understand each other and the actions of rivals."

    Sergio Aguero , Manchester City striker, emphasized:
    “Challenger Insights helps us translate trainer's instructions into reality. Every time I enter the field, I have a clear plan - how to act, what position each member of the team is in. ”

    Is it time to run after the clouds?

    No, it's too early to run. Not every club will be able to correctly use complex decisions and skillfully manage the information received. However, you need to prepare for this. Football has long gone beyond the stadium. While athletes are preparing to play in the locker room or on the training field, modest analysts sit for hours in front of the monitors, preparing an analysis of the match played or analyzing the tactics of the next opponent. The “vulnerability” they found in the game can bring victory.

    Conclusions on how appropriate it is to use modern technology (be IaaS, SaaSor something else) in football, we suggest you do it yourself. But the likelihood that soon the next software solution will fundamentally change the usual scheme for preparing for matches seems to us rather high.

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