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Technology aimed to make eventing more engaging

Could modern technology make eventing more engaging for spectators? A German software firm is developing a product “to simplify and enrich the fan experience at equestrian events.”

SAP — which has previously developed similar technology for the America’s Cup sailing series — has created SAP Equestrian Analytics to give fans instant data and bring equestrianism in line with sports such as Formula 1.

The software will allow eventing fans to have immediate information about individual routes, speed data, time gaps and competitor heart-rates. The information will also integrate with an interactive competitor chart and leaderboard in real time.

SAP has enlisted the help of German eventer Ingrid Klimke to create the software, and the prototype was showcased at Aachen (17-19 July).

“I look forward to being able to actively contribute to the development of solutions that enhance the fan experience,” said Ingrid.

“I am excited to use this innovative technology to present and explain specific new aspects of my rides.”

Other riders have also backed the new technology as they believe that making the sport more accessible to fans will increase its commercial viability.

“Eventing is an amazing sport, but it can be hard for spectators to understand the drama happening around them,” 2010 Badminton winner Paul Tapner told H&H.

“The current portrayal of the sport does not do it justice.

“SAP is offering technology which is well overdue. Their involvement in the equestrian world offers amazing potential.”

“It is exciting in terms of being able to open up new avenues for the sport,” added Event Riders Association president Bruce Haskell.

“Anything that brings information forwards is brilliant. But it needs to make money for it to succeed.”

British Eventing (BE) has also welcomed the product.

“This sounds like a very interesting concept,” said BE’s chief executive Mike Etherington-Smith.

“Creating other avenues for riders to improve their training and for spectators to enjoy the sport from another perspective could be a very positive step forward.”

First published in H&H magazine on Thursday 28 August, 2014.

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