While the San Francisco 49ers may not have had their best season this year, the Bay Area is still abuzz about the big game happening here this weekend. Plenty of people are excited to see Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning take his last shot at winning a Super Bowl if the retirement rumors are true. The Carolina Panthers have kept up the momentum of their nearly-undefeated season to get all the way to the big game. And then, of course, it’s the first Super Bowl in Santa Clara (and the first in the Bay Area since Stanford hosted in 1985).
But there’s much more to a Super Bowl than just two sports teams. It takes extensive planning and preparation to pull off an event this big. Nearly a million people are expected to invade the Bay Area for the weekend, though Levi’s Stadium itself will only hold about 75,000 of them. Massive amounts of refreshments are required to keep game-goers’ thirst quenched and hunger at bay, sophisticated mobile applications have to be coded and kept running, and the lights have to stay on (apparently a more difficult endeavor than it might seem!). Ticketing alone is a gargantuan undertaking, and all that’s not to mention the process of making (and discarding) all the branded merchandise that will be needed immediately, no matter who wins.
Basically, every step on the road to the Super Bowl requires complex integration between many systems. Take the mobile app, for example. While everyone’s attention is focused on the field (or the ads), there will be a lot going on behind the scenes and in the cloud. The official Super Bowl 50 app offers instant replays, options to order food and drinks in Levi’s Stadium, logistical information like scheduling and maps, and even the opportunity to play virtual quarterback (sorry, Peyton, you’ve got to do the real thing).
Software giant SAP powers the backend behind the official Super Bowl 50 app and will be processing huge amounts of data about what app users do. Whether it’s the top replays watched, the number of virtual passes thrown, the number of slices of pizza ordered, or the most popular jersey, SAP will know about it and be able to crunch the numbers. The last Super Bowl collected 6.5 terabytes of data, and this one just might turn it all the way up to 7 (or beyond).
Then there’s Facebook, which has created a virtual Sports Stadium where those not lucky enough to snag tickets to the big game can follow along at home and keep up with their friends in other places. The Stadium combines your friends’ comments with expert commentary to provide an easy way to follow the game even if you’re not there in person. Facebook is also working with Nielsen to incorporate the topics users are talking about into the ratings giant’s social TV data, a further indication of how times have changed fast.
Our friends at Salesforce are also doing amazing things with Super Bowl data using Heroku’s processing power. They’ve launched the Big Game Social Tracker to show what people are talking about leading up to the kickoff. So far, there are already nearly 800,000 conversations about the game and 40,000 about the ads, and the totals are climbing. On the food front, Avocados From Mexico are highly ranked in terms of ads discussed, but Doritos are closing in.
We know that integration may not always sound like the most exciting industry. But without it, major events like the Super Bowl could never happen – and we’d also never be able to gather all of the data needed to fully understand them and keep making them better. Successful Super Bowl tech combines data from many systems. So does successful tech in any business. We have tools like CloudReplicate for Salesforce that make data from Salesforce available in databases for analysis, giving even a small data team the strength of ten linebackers, and ultimately helping you score big with customers.
So, this coming weekend, kick up your heels, turn on the big screen, and fire up your apps for a fully connected Super Bowl experience. Know you can count on integration to power it all for you. And no matter who wins the game, you can go back to work next Monday thinking about how to help your customers with integration. That will be the big win for most of us.