SAP Plans Stats Zone for Times Square's Super Bowl Boulevard
SAP has also done work in sailing—offering tools to help sailors race better and fans on the shore to better understand what's happening in the boats—as well as with the NBA. "We helped [the NBA] take their 66 years' worth of data … and open it up to the fan base in a way that's relatable," said Fleetwood. Inside the Stats Zone, football fans (and other people wanting to warm up inside even a small heated building) will be able to vote on football-related questions on tablets in the space and take a 10-question quiz using giant, touch displays. Some of the content is text-based, and some of it is video. After the quiz, NFL Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk comes on the screen to offer a "his professional analysis of your performance," grinned Fleetwood.Participants in Super Bowl Boulevard (which is free) can register when they arrive and receive an RFID-based badge that they can use to access or interact with the various events (there will also be a several-stories-high tobogganing hill). In the Stats Zone, for example, waving the RFID card will activate the photo software, pull up your hometown team's uniform as the default choice, to help speed the process, and instantly email you a photo after it's snapped. SAP says it has no interest in users' data and is collecting none of it—all data registered to the RFID badge is dealt with by the NFL. Also part of the Stats Zone, encased in glass, will be the physical technology making SAP's data offers a reality—a so-called "cloud room." "We're trying to help people understand what the cloud is," said Fleetwood. "We see this as a story-telling platform." What SAP learns from its experience with the Stat Zone—if not literally the little house itself—it plans to share with its sports partnerships, including the NBA and Formula 1. "Every one of our teams wants a piece of this," said Fleetwood. As for why the company that's the backbone of so many others has decided it wants a more public face, Fleetwood said it was a combination of sales, recruitment and simple branding. Maybe someone sees what SAP can do and begins to wonder what it can do for his small business. Maybe a coder thinks it's cool and decides to look into employment opportunities. "Our goal," he said, "is for people to understand that SAP powered the cool experience they just had." Anyone who can't make it to Times Square can visit the Stats Zone online at www.sap.com/superbowl. Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.
Those who'd like a takeaway can smile into a screen and have a photo taken of themselves geared up in their favorite team's uniform.