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The benefits of Edge computing in a Sports 2.0 world

Everyone knows the benefits of cloud technology since we use it every day – viewing emails, streaming music/videos on smart devices during our daily commute. Yet do we really know the benefits of being on the edge of the cloud and not in it?

Edge computing allows any device, including mobiles, servers, PCs and Macs to act as gateways between the physical world and cloud storage – running processes such as video transcoding and speech recognition as ‘close to the content’ as possible. This form of cloud computing is a breakthrough technology with direct benefits to the sports industry, ensuring professional sports athletes can maintain their competitive edge.

For the Americas Cup, the British yachting team utilized Edge technology which transmitted performance data through the cloud, leading Sir Ben Ainslie and the Oracle team to win the race. Capturing and analysing performance data and performing ‘virtual chase boat’ projects allowed for immediate changes where 350 data points were captured for analysis.

Edge also took the spotlight earlier this year at the Winter Olympics, with the US ski team utilising STRIVR’s 360-degree video to practice the Pyeongchang course over and over again. The ability to gain ‘mental access’, where physical presence was not possible, allowed the team to maximise their preparation. By uploading video content to the cloud, players and coaches were able to identify athletes’ weak spots and gauge the competition’s strategy.

Edge technology has other benefits as well for both video professionals and sports fans, since it works on the principle of combining outputs from new video technologies and overlaying data in the most appropriate and efficient location – delivering the game rapidly without time delays. Edge technology is cost-effective for multimedia and production teams on smaller budgets since it removes the expense required to move video content and data to the same physical location. Fans also benefit, gaining the ultimate viewing experience without concerns of technical glitches causing time delays and receive sports scores fast.

The advances in cloud and edge technology have blurred the lines between traditional broadcast and digital content delivery, allowing the games of minor sports teams to be accessible to fans at a much lower cost. Cloud Video and On-Demand, Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms have also made it possible for smaller leagues and individual teams to have their own channels. Tata Communications connected the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit to its global network and today works with more than 20 broadcasters to bring motor racing to fans worldwide. Vice President of Global Marketing, Mehul Kapadia, said “The cloud is levelling the playing field between sports giants like F1 and smaller local series like the F4 British Championship. You only need a few cameras to capture the action; the rest of the production can be done easily and inexpensively in the cloud”. Major sports teams such as Real Madrid, have found that by embrace cloud technology, they can engage with their 450 million fans where only 3% are based in Spain. José Ángel Sánchez, CEO, Real Madrid, said, “Using Microsoft Cloud, we are building a way of understanding who our fans are, where they are, and what they want from us.”

In conclusion, the introduction of Edge computing into sports has lowered the barriers for smaller sports teams to experiment with innovative technologies. Edge computing has helped simplify video production and distribution, at a lower cost. Teams and sports professionals have the advantage of extending their online presence, reaching a global audience with a lower cost digital strategy.

Our Blackbird Edge is a cloud-native solution which can run on multiple platforms including servers, public cloud services (AWS and Azure), in virtual machines and Mac OS X operating systems. It is fundamentally a software conduit to cloud workflows for our applications and Blackbird cloud video platform. Edge manages the referencing of content and creation of lightweight Blackbird proxy video. It provides Ascent and Forte users with conforming and render capabilities required to publish video content across multiple platforms based on user edit instructions.

Find out more about Blackbird Edge, email us at


Davis.M. (2018, February) Winter Olympics: US skiers use VR goggles & brain zapping headphones. [ONLINE] Available at : [Accessed 24 May 2018].

Orton-Jones, C. (2017, March) Cloud giving sports teams the competitive edge – Competitors in a wide range of sports are benefiting from the advantage cloud computing can bring. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 May 2018].

Miah, A., 2017. #Sports 20.0 #TransformingSportsforaDigitalWorld. 1st ed. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Pickup, O. (2018, January) Three major ways cloud is transforming sport – Sports organisations are using the cloud, on and off the field of play, to achieve record goals and reach a growing worldwide audience.[ONLINE] Available at : [Accessed 24 May 2018].

Unknown (2016, March) Real Madrid brings the stadium closer to 450 million fans around the globe, with the Microsoft Cloud. [Accessed 24 May 2018].



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