Acronis leading the way but what does the future hold for technology in sport?

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

In terms of marrying technology with sport, few can rival Acronis but CEO Serguei Beloussov believes the future holds even more exciting possibilities.

Acronis, a global technology company with headquarters in Singapore and Switzerland, currently have several partnership with major teams across a myriad of sports.

In football, they are associated with Premier League champions Manchester City and Italian giants Inter Milan, are partnered with Formula 1 teams ROKiT Williams Racing and SportPesa Racing Point, and also have Major League Baseball heavyweights Boston Red Sox on their portfolio.

Inter Milan celebrate partnership with global technology company Acronis

Acronis’ venture into the world of sports is a relatively recent initiative and – for now – mainly revolves around cyber protection for these teams with a need to collate and maintain limitless amounts of valuable data.

Nonetheless, there is the belief that technology can play a far greater role in enhancing sport in years to come.

Acronis chief Beloussov was speaking to FOX Sports Asia on the sidelines of last week’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which coincided with the Acronis #CyberFit Summit – also held in the capital of United Arab Emirates.

“With sports, it’s still a work in progress,” Beloussov told FOX Sports Asia in a one-on-one interview.

“We continue to increase our engagement with sports and there are more teams which we are yet to sign or announce, involved in the usage of cyber protection.

“We shall see how well it works going forward… I think we’re relatively stubborn as a company so we started doing this about two years ago, and we’re doing more of it now and more of it in the next two years.”

Showing his sense of humour, Beloussov likened his company’s current role to that of an amenities provider when asked how active a part they play in the garage on a weekend such as the Abu Dhabi GP.

 

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The Acronis #CyberFit Summit brought the best of cyber protection to the gorgeous Yas Island Rotana hotel in Abu Dhabi! The event for everyone from service providers to business owners featured talks by world-renowned security and AI experts, and the opportunity to preview the latest solutions being developed by Acronis. One aspect that set the Acronis #CyberFit Summit apart from a lot of other Acronis events held this year is that it offered guests the opportunity to receive free training and certification in various cyber protection-related disciplines. We’re looking forward to hosting successful events like this one in the Gulf region again! #AcronisCyberSummit #AcronisCyberFitSummit #CyberProtection #Acronis #AbuDhabi

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“We never play such an active role,” he explained. “But, if you think about it, we are in a way a boring part of the industry… kind of like toilets!

“It’s not something people will [immediately] notice but you have to have water and toilets functioning here, otherwise there will be a collapse and it will not be possible to be here.

“We’re not necessarily playing an active role [but] we’re protecting the infrastructure and making sure everything works.”

That may be the case for the present, but could it change in the future?

Acronis’ partnership with F1 team Williams Racing is just one of several in the sporting industry.

“I think in every sport there is a major challenge finding good coaches and experts on how to recover and train athletes and how to optimise the team strategy, and a lot of those decisions are done manually by humans,” added Beloussov.

“Some humans are much better than others, but not every sports team can afford these experts.

“Technically, in sports, there is always the argument to replace or augment some of these decisions with machines.

“It’s only starting to happen because there hasn’t been enough science around it, so all sports teams are collecting more and more data and are starting to analyse and play with it.

“We are at the very start but, in ten or maybe 20 years, I think we’ll have much better quality football, better quality racing with less accidents, and much more competition because it will be augmented.

“There will be many more capable and motivated humans able to be very competitive and that’s kind of cool.”

The affable Beloussov was quick to bring up the examples of how football teams now complete more than double the passes in a match than they used to just two decades ago, or how it used to be unthinkable that a marathon could be completed anywhere near the current world record of two hours, one minute and 39 seconds.

As teams and clubs increasingly tap into the world of science and technology to enhance and optimise performance, there is no doubt that a company like Acronis can continue to contribute in the world of sports.

And perhaps by then, it will not be just – as Beloussov humbly and humorously described – providing “toilets and water”, but being prominently recognised as playing a far greater role as Acronis continues to evolve and shape the future of technology in sports.

Photo credit: Acronis

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