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The Accelerating Digital Transformation of the America’s Cup


For over 170 years, the America’s Cup has attracted the world’s top sailors and boat designers. Now, it is drawing in the very best of data scientists and computer engineers as well.

Emirates Team New Zealand was ranked third in the 2020 Sports Technology Annual Review and Industry Power List. The index that looks at the influence of technology in sport placed the reigning cup holder right behind Formula One and the Tour de France, respectively and ahead of 47 other major global sporting powerhouse teams and governing bodies.

“Both Emirates Team New Zealand and the America’s Cup as a whole have become increasingly digital over the last decade. The rise of IoT, improvements in camera technology and other sensors on the boats have made data one of the most critical elements of modern America’s Cup. ” - Marty Yates, Emirates Team New Zealand IT Manager.

Data is a treasure trove on which races can be won or lost. Sensor collecting real-time information varying from oceanic currents, wind, boat speed, ride height or hydraulic pressure coming off the water can steer the decision-making process.

There are gigabytes of information pouring into servers, and harnessing this dataflow can help refine schematics and designs for the engineers and builders, provide sailors with deeper insights and inform operations at the base. More precise information gives the racing teams a competitive edge that leads to better chances of winning.

To complete the digital tasks that Emirates Team New Zealand is carrying out, it required storage solutions with top of the line functionality. Being able to increase the data storage capacity was essential, but it’s also critical to have top tier capabilities that can improve the ability to read, write and access files as well as robust security systems to protect its files.

Managing increasingly higher volumes and ever-higher velocity of new and more complex data sets requires having the right systems in place. Emirates Team New Zealand has upgraded its storage systems with Huawei’s intelligent OceanStor 5500 V5 storage solution.

After upgrading to Huawei OceanStor, we’ve seen an immediate improvement in how our team operates. There’s been over a tenfold increase in both the overall storage capacity and application performance.

From an admin point of view, I have definitely seen an improvement in usability with an intuitive GUI. The system enables me to monitor and manage its performance through power consumption and running status alarms.

Marty Yates

Thanks to Huawei OceanStor, the data is stored in house physically. It’s secure and immediately accessible. The speed gains are efficacy gains, and anything that improves the functions of the team, improves the chances of us winning and retaining the America’s Cup.

New technologies combined with AI and machine learning will continue to refine every race element, and intelligent storage solutions are laying the foundations for an increasingly accelerating digital transformation of the America’s Cup.

From the moment the boat enters the water, it is ultimately the most skilled team that will take home the Auld Mug, but every single thing in the run-up to the race will help edge the team closer to victory.