“The world isn’t 100 percent digital,” admits David Maunsell, Digital Lead A/NZ, Accenture, “and our clients probably don’t think 100 percent digital.”
But what the world is thinking, according to Maunsell, is that data is King - Judge, Jury and Executioner wrapped up into one.
From the rugby field, to the race track, to the open seas, an increasing reliance on data, science and technology is reshaping the sport and the battles fought within it, more so than ever before.
As innovation in technology continues to improve performance, closer to home in New Zealand, in sailing, data analytics and visualisation tools are shaving precious seconds from crew’s performances; providing mission critical advantages in the cut-throat world of competitive sport.
In this year’s Volvo Ocean Race, where all teams are racing with identical boats for the first time, Maunsell believes the impact of data is now reaching a peak, as rival teams fight for that elusive extra margin, margins that arise from data-driven performance insights.
“We’re living in a day and age where people, sports teams and organisations are finding ways of extracting value from their data,” adds Maunsell, speaking to Computerworld New Zealand moments before the all women crew of Team SCA clinched an eye-opening victory during the in-port harbour race in Auckland on Saturday.
But with the yachts now negotiating the longest leg of the race to Itajai, Brazil, Maunsell explains how Accenture’s comprehensive range of capabilities help provide Team SCA’s crew with a distinctive digital edge – both online and offline.
“The three core areas of our work with Team SCA all focus around analytics,” says Maunsell, explaining how the Volvo Ocean Race is a “logical extension” of the company’s long-term partnership with Team SCA.
Taking sensor and GPS data from the boats every ten seconds, before feeding the information back to the captain, Accenture’s digital invention helps Team SCA make near real-time decisions on information that will help drive additional performance during live competition.
In aiding Team SCA with live data analytics and visualisation to help with boat speed calibration and routing decisions, as well as sail decisions, Maunsell says that through unleashing the power of digital and a host of Accenture’s concepts, crew can digest data from sporting assets, in this instance a boat, and immediately make informed decisions on the next strategic moves of that particular asset.
“Secondly,” continues Maunsell, “we’re providing predictive weather analytics.”
In offering routing decisions based on live sensor data and historical weather data that is displayed via data visualisations as the race unfolds live, Maunsell says Accenture’s ability to harness Team SCA’s streams of data is critical in advising the crew where to direct the boat to achieve the best result from the approaching conditions.
The final piece in the digital jigsaw centres around design, a new brand of designer taking a prominent role in the ever-changing world of analytics.
For Maunsell, working from a broad knowledge of business and technology innovation, this designer uses data as their medium, representing the next era of in-demand ICT roles - the Data Scientists, accompanied by the Data Artists.
“From an asset performance perspective, the final part of our work is bringing all that data together, collating the streams of information and visually presenting it to the crew,” he explains.
“We have Data Scientists bringing it together, while the Data Artists are the ones visually making sense of what comes out of the data feeds.”