IOT and Data Analytics are two popular buzzwords in the technology world today, whether you’re talking about consumer products such as Nest Thermostats or Cisco’s Connect Streaming Analytics platform.  During the Ryder Cup this past weekend, there was much talk about the American Ryder Cup task force’s use of Data Analytics, but how did they capture the necessary data and use it to beat out the competition? Many may think that this is simply a manual process of counting how many fairways you hit or how many putts you made. Then taking that data and figuring where you gained or lost strokes, this is not at all the case with the PGA elite, who use a very concise controlled process utilizing a system called Shotlink.  Shotlink which involves various IOT devices, captures over 70 data points and then uploads the raw data to a central location to be “analyzed” with several tools. During an interview, Captain Davis Love stated that all of these captured data points were analyzed and the results were used to make critical decisions such as

-         Who would be Captains picks

-         Pairings

-         Who should tee off first

-         How to set up the course to benefit the Americans

just to list a few. While benign as separate data points, when put together and properly analyzed the data can significantly impact the decisions listed. Davis credits this data and approach for having made a big contribution to the team’s success.


Unfortunately or fortunately many of us do not have access to Shotlink.  However, there are many tools available to the average consumer that would give the novice golfer some of those same stats, Game Golf and Arccos are two that come to mind. These devices can track

-         Fairways Hit

-         Greens in Regulation

-         Approach

all of the information is available in real-time, through apps and cloud dashboard. While the capabilities of these tools still have room to improve, the idea of having this data real time to improve your golf game is a reality.


Golf is certainly not the only sport or industry leveraging various IOT devices & Data Analytics, but it may be the one in which the use and outcomes of these tools are most easily seen as well as understood.  The idea of connecting devices and applications is not new, but the sources, speeds, and details certainly are.  So how can IOT and Data Analytics affect your company’s business?  The answer obviously depends on a number of factors including your industry and what your current strategy is around the use of these tools.  While together these technologies seem to have progressed the quickest in the manufacturing industry for use in things such as organizing tools, maintaining traceability of components and monitoring equipment to predict/prevent breakdown, there is a swell of interest and deployment within the energy, transportation and healthcare verticals.


Simply stated IOT and Data Analytics are all around us. Whether it’s helping the Americans win back the Ryder Cup, setting the temperature on your Nest Thermostat or companies leveraging the connected world to gain a business advantage it's increasingly becoming the norm.  I suspect that come the next Ryder Cup the use of Data Analytics will be high enough that its use will no longer help to ensure victory as much as the failure to do so will assure a loss for the teams who have refused to adapt, and the same can be said for companies who decide to take a similar approach.


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