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Technology Helping Athletes Run like never before

We all know that in the world of sport it is the fractions and hundredths of seconds that can make the difference between Gold and Silver, success and failure, indeed in the US 100m women’s Olympic trials in June, sprinters Alyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh both crossed the line in exactly 11.068 seconds .  There was no precedent for how to deal with a dead heat and one of the suggestions was that it might have to be decided on a coin toss.  

Technology is increasingly being used to improve the performance of athletes across a whole number of sports whatever their field of play.  In the run up to London 2012, BAE SYSTEMS announced its Sports Innovation Partnership under the banner “Helping Britain’s Athletes go for gold” the £1.5 million partnership aims to provide technological innovations which are normally reserved for the security sector.  The project uses Big Data and industry expertise to solve aerodynamic, materials science and simulation challenges all with the objective of helping those split second improvements.


As an example of this, a laser timing system based on battlefield identification technology has been installed at the Manchester Velodrome to monitor the simultaneous performance of up to 30 cyclists.

Sport and BAE Systems are no stranger to each other, Formula 1 has long used the wind tunnels and other defence facilities to test the performance of their cars. 

Earlier this year, the McLaren team took this one step further by implementing HANA from SAP to improves the real time analysis of race performance.   As Jim Hageman-Snabe noted  “Transforming information into intelligence in real time is a cornerstone for McLaren’s winning formula – and increasingly critical for the future of every company”. McLaren are also planning on using this technology to the benefit of future Olympians.


Even in my own (very) limited sports world, I have started to monitor performance of my netball team, nothing so grand or sophisticated as the real time analytics above, but enough for us to know who the team we are playing is, if we have played them before and what the result was along with keeping track of our league points.

Big Data is a buzz word in both sport and business at the moment, questions are being asked about how organisations can use the increasing number of data sources available on their customers and business in order to drive business decisions.   One thing is clear, data is here to stay and those that can make use of it to drive performance in real time whether on the field of play, the battle field or in business are likely to be those who can shave time off their performance, costs out of their business and be amongst the most successful in their fields.

SAP Business ByDesign has real time analytics built in as standard and because it is delivered in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about storage capacity for all the data you are accumulating.  If you would like to understand more how this integrated ERP package can help your business be more agile, please visit where you will see how we are helping companies such as Genius Foods, Panorama Antennas, Benchmark, Rondanini and Salvo, Small Media Consultancy and Tangent Communications to Run Like Never Before.

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