Adopting a data-centric solution for fan engagement

Posted on: December 11, 2017 by Santiago Manso

In my previous article, I examined a framework for fan engagement at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Here, I take that conversation one step further by looking at how deploying a data-centric solution can transform event organizers’ relationships with spectators. Technologies such as Augmented Reality, digital media, the IoT and wearables are enhancing fan experiences in the Olympic host city and inside the venues, but also taking the experience overseas. In addition, personalization is being made possible with technologies such as Cognitive Analytics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Nevertheless, this exchange of data and video relies on transportation, which is now made possible thanks to the cloud, Wifi and 4G. This will evolve in the near future through hyperconnectivity (5G, Z-wave, Bluetooth, NFC), exascale and swarm computing.

This process is not possible with technology alone, as three actors need to join efforts: event organizers, technology companies and broadcasting companies. A complete experience can’t be provided without any of these actors, because event organizers have the ownership of the events, the sponsors and access to the fans, technology companies have the knowledge of the IT solutions and the know-how to apply them, and broadcasting companies own a very important piece of the content to be delivered.

But are these actors really aware of this? Let’s have a look at the past…

Despite the fan engagement not being a very mature methodology, it’s often applied in important clubs within the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and European football with very good results. Unfortunately, at the Olympics however, progress is being made much more slowly.

Some isolated experiences have been seen at the Olympics: in Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016, the Olympic Video Player was used to broadcast the Olympics across digital platforms; offering synchronized video with data and audio in several languages. In Rio 2016, OBS broadcasted beach volley ball in Virtual Reality. In February 2018, in Pyeongchang, we will be able to see data in our smart watches and more sports in Virtual Reality. But the big change will be at Tokyo 2020, where the spectators’ experiences will radically change and for first time, a fan engagement methodology will be applied to communicate with spectators in a one-to-one relationship.

So why in Tokyo and not before? Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 vision takes into consideration the data and its solution is going to be a data-centric solution. Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will unify identities to identify each spectator as a unique person in all channels, and will create the single fan view in a CRM. As a first-hand contributor to this vision, I am very proud of what is being built. Nothing will be the same for the spectators after Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, because for the first time in the history of the Olympics, there will be a direct one-to-one communication between the Organizing Committee and the spectators through all digital channels.

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About Santiago Manso

CTO for the Olympics & Major Events, Atos and member of the Scientific Community
Santiago has over 18 years of experience in the sports IT market delivering the technology for the last 8 Olympic Games. In his daily job, Santiago manages the CTO office for the Olympics and Major Events GBU, focus on maintaining the Technology Roadmap up to date, applying innovation into the business unit and delivering the solutions for the major bids in Sports. Santiago is a business oriented person who loves applying the last technologies to resolve business problems of customers. 12-year experience working in 5 different countries (Greece, Italy, China, Russia and Spain) has impacted into his personal live definitively as now traveling and working at multicultural environments is part of his life. Now Santiago is currently based in Barcelona where he lives near the beach, his other passion, with his wife and 2 children.

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