Vodafone has announced the launch of PLAYER.Connect, a first-of-its-kind performance dashboard that is being used by The British & Irish Lions throughout the 2021 Tour to South Africa.
Using cutting edge Vodafone IoT technology, PLAYER.Connect collates data from players’ existing wearables into one aggregated dashboard, in realtime. PLAYER.Connect makes player data easy to view and analyse, allowing coaches and analysts to make fully informed performance decisions and improve player welfare on and off the pitch. This includes 24/7 monitoring of players’ physical and mental wellbeing, greater optimisation of physical recovery and preparation, and the ability to make live adjustments both in-game and during training.
The dashboard combines ‘acute’ GPS, heartrate and impact data, which is delivered live, with additional ‘chronic’ data on off-pitch recovery and physical and mental wellbeing, which is transferred before and after each session. This data helps provide a holistic view of the wellbeing of both the team and the individual athletes, including Vodafone player ambassadors Maro Itoje, Stuart Hogg, Hamish Watson, Tadhg Furlong and Louis Rees-Zammit.
Lions Head of Strength & Conditioning, Paul Stridgeon, praised the dashboard’s impact to date, saying: “The Vodafone PLAYER.Connect platform is a step forward in performance monitoring. Vodafone’s innovation is supporting our aim to achieve consistently high levels of performance. The dashboard lets us maximise the output of our current monitoring, and is helping us provide detailed analysis of all wellness, training and match data throughout the 2021 Tour. We are already starting to see the benefits, and are confident that using this platform will support our ambition to beat the Springboks.”
The platform solves several long-standing issues in sport performance analysis: in the current setup, data is transmitted via Bluetooth from each individual wearable separately, after the event, and must be collated manually by an analyst. Across a whole squad, this means the full data set may not be available until as much as two days later, and is incredibly difficult to analyse in context, placing significant limitations on how player data can be evaluated and the speed at which it is acted upon.
Speaking on the future of PLAYER.Connect, Vodafone Commercial Director, Max Taylor, said: ““We are thrilled to be launching PLAYER.Connect for the Lions, and excited to see it put to the test on the 2021 Tour. This is the perfect example of how our commitment to innovation can make a real difference – on the biggest stage, under the most pressure. This platform can help any elite team, in any sport – and we’re excited to see the Lions put it through its paces and show what a difference it can make at the very highest level.”
The British & Irish Lions began using PLAYER.Connect during their training camp in Jersey, in preparation for the Vodafone 1888 Cup match against Japan. They are the first elite team to use the platform in a competitive fixture, and will continue to use PLAYER.Connect throughout the 2021 Tour, including in all three Test matches against South Africa.
PLAYER.Connect can be used effectively across any elite sport, both team and individual, including football, American football, netball, athletics, and tennis. Following a successful deployment on the Lions Tour, Vodafone will be carrying out a review into future commercial rollout of the dashboard across other elite teams and athletes.