SAP to make Volvo Ocean Race plain sailing for Team AkzoNobel
SAP aims to make Volvo Ocean Race plain sailing for Team AkzoNobel
Team AkzoNobel in action (PRNewsfoto/SAP SE)

SAP to make Volvo Ocean Race plain sailing for Team AkzoNobel

Crew members will be measured for fitness, stress and exhaustion in one of the world’s most gruelling sailing races, thanks to biometric sensors and technology from SAP. 

Software giant SAP has announced it has teamed up with Team AkzoNobel to equip all crew members during the 2017/18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race with biometric sensors.

The race itself is a real test of team spirit and human endurance. The 2017/18 edition will take the teams sailing 45,000 nautical miles around the world, across four oceans, touching six continents and 12 landmark host cities.

The first leg, from Alicante in Spain to Lisbon in Portugal, was completed last weekend and won by Vestas 11th Hour Racing. Today will see the staging of an in-port race in Lisbon, and the second leg, from Lisbon to Cape Town, is due to get underway on Sunday.

All sailors on Team AzkoNobel, which came fourth in the first leg of the competition, are being measured for fitness levels and exhaustion levels, with the aim of optimizing overall team performance. In effect, the sensors worn by team members are the ‘edge’ in an edge computing set-up powered by SAP’s Leonardo IoT Edge technology.

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Biometric data

Physical and mental exhaustion pose some of the biggest threats to crews during the eight-month race, so Team AzkoNobel’s biometric sensors provide valuable insights into aspects like fatigue, exhaustion, reaction to weather conditions and stress levels.

This is a real step forward, since typically, other aspects such as weather and routes that have been the main focus of sailing analytics efforts, according to Simeon Tienpont, skipper of Team AkzoNobel.

“The technology provided by SAP gives us a tool that allows us to get the best performance from the crew. These technological innovations will help push the boundaries of our sport and can finally make the difference.”

The biometric edge solution – which has access to the data recorded on board the team’s Volvo Ocean 65 race boat – will help to interpret this and the output will be presented to Tienpont during the race via a specially designed user interface.

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Machine learning analytics

Once the boats arrive at each of the 12 stopovers on the race, predictive and machine learning analytics can be run on the SAP Cloud Platform, using the Leonardo IoT Foundation. This, says SAP, will help Tienpont prepare his crew for the next leg of the race.

“This is an excellent example of how connecting people, processes and things with leading-edge digital technology can improve performance,” said Dr Tanja Rueckert, president of IoT and digital supply chain at SAP. “The physical condition and mental resilience of crew members are important factors in winning or losing. SAP Leonardo IoT Edge helps Team AkzoNobel gain insight to make the right decisions and compete at their best.”

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