CloudFucius Is: Ready for Some Football

With the opening game of the NFL season in the books and a Sunday (and Monday) of Week 1 matchups filling our living rooms, home team stadiums, fantasy leagues and mobile devices, I was curious just how the NFL and sporting events in general are using cloud services.  Technology used within the professional sporting realm has always fascinated me from statistics giant Stats Inc to the 1st down graphics from the likes of Sportvision, Princeton Video Image and SportsMEDIA to Skycam, the cable suspended camera giving you a bird’s eye view of the action and of course, the NFL banning Twitter during games.  Media companies are jumping all over cloud computing for the elasticity of services (jump in traffic), digital content, storage and to optimize communication and collaboration of workflows of content production, post-production and delivery.

Last week, IBM announced that it was bringing cloud computing to the US Open.  This allows the US Tennis Association (USTA) to scale up capacity during the event.  They can also take real-time and historic sports data, merge them on a common platform and deliver it to their various consumers: media, officials, fans and the players themselves no matter what the platform – web, mobile, broadcast, social media and so forth.  They can also analyze data from the courtside radar guns, the umpire systems, the court statistician and TV feeds.

The annual NFL Scouting Combine is when college players ‘audition’ for spots on NFL rosters.  They are tested for physical performance like the 40 yard dash along with their mental and problem solving skills to determine if they will make it in the NFL.  All the information (data) is collected and then evaluated by owners, coaches, scouts, medical staff and team executives.  The amount of data is huge and in years past, it was done with paper and pencil and then entered into computer systems or burned to CD’s and then mailed.  There were entry errors, delays and the systems were potential targets for breaches.   Now, the capturing, collecting and distribution of player data is done in the cloud making it much more efficient.  The data is merged with a master database using a secure connection and then a secure website is provided to the NFL teams to login and view content, download collateral and subscribe to feeds.  Pretty cool.

When the NFL wanted to extend it’s brand to an international audience, they created NFL360, an interactive media site with videos, game history, player profiles and many other goodies available for fans around the world.  Here they deployed a system with Digitaria using technology based on cloud computing.  The site also has games and other activities for the NFL fan.

NY Jets owner Woody Johnson is testing some cool technology in the skybox this year.  He’ll have a touch-screen device to keep track of all the game day operations from his device and get a view of the entire stadium's data flow.  From concessions to merchandise to ticket info to the traffic jam in the Meadowlands parking lot, he’ll have access to it all.

I’m excited to see the Dolphins win the AFC East and my fantasy team kick butt this year.  The cloud will be there too, domed stadium or not.

And one from Confucius: He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good..


The CloudFucius Series: Intro, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

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Published Sep 10, 2010
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