Nokia’s Nuage SD-WAN technology is supporting a cloud-based data analytics service for professional soccer organizations around the world.
The analytics service is provided by SciSports, whose application engine resides in the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). SciSports’ analytics engine collects real-time data via high-definition video footage from multiple cameras situated around a stadium. It tracks the movement of all the players, the ball, and the referees. It then taps computer vision technologies and deep-learning algorithms to evaluate and report the performance of the players in real time.
“They have video cameras that take videos of the team playing at various angles,” said Patrick McCabe, senior marketing manager of Nokia’s Nuage Networks. He explained that those video feeds are then sent to GCP where SciSports’ analytics technology processes the data and “comes back with information that provides insight into the value of an athlete based on their movement.” The insights can be fed in real-time to a coach who could, for example, change tactics in the middle of a soccer match. In addition, real-time statistics can be provided to fans as they watch the game.
The analytics is also used to create profiles for individual athletes. McCabe said this enables athletes to be “valued in a very precise analytics manner,” which can be used to suggest viable transfer targets and recognize young talent during scouting trips.
If this all sounds a bit like “Moneyball,” the movie starring Brad Pitt as the manager of a baseball team who first taps into analytics for sports, McCabe said, “You’re absolutely right.”
The SD-WAN Connection
What does any of this have to do with SD-WAN?
The video streams are transported by SDNbucks’ SD-WAN network. SDNbucks is a managed service provider that has adopted Nokia Nuage’s SD-WAN 2.0 technology to resell to end users. SciSports is an SDNbucks customer.
Nuage’s technology provides an overlay on top of redundant high-speed internet links. It can use both virtual and physical network services gateways (NSGs). “They took our vNSG and adapted it into a GCP image, and for all intents and purposes it just looks like another branch,” said McCabe.
Nuage has always boasted that its SD-WAN is better than others’ because it crosses the WAN and the data center. “Until you have a whole seamless end-to-end network – like SDNbucks — you don’t have a full end-to-end security paradigm,” said McCabe. He said that Nuage’s SD-WAN 2.0 connects WANs, public clouds, and private data centers.
And in fact, SciSports is relying on Nuage’s technology to carry traffic between sports stadiums, its offices, data centers, and the Google Cloud Platform. And all its feeds are micro-segmented and encrypted.