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Engineering Simplicity
Data and Analytics: The Real Winners of Super Bowl 50
Feb 17, 2016

hpa-football-data-100339569-orig.jpgSuper Bowl 50 was played last Sunday just down the street from Juniper Networks. I wasn’t lucky enough to attend it in person, but I watched it on TV along with over one hundred million people.


Today, many sports including football are played with big data as much as they are played with big athletes. Even before the competition begins, telemetry and analytics are used to track athlete activity, intensity of collisions, work rates, nutrition, and even sleep patterns to optimize their performance. Like networking components, the athletes on the team are fine-tuned; some players are built for speed and agility, some focus on technique, and some are built for massive scale.


Of course, the best athletes don’t necessarily result in winning teams. You’ve heard the cliché before. There is chemistry. There is a mindset. There is a strategy. There is execution when it counts. This is where the use of big data gets even more interesting. Enter telemetry and analytics. A team may have talent, but how will that talent be most effectively utilized and orchestrated on any given Sunday and in any given situation? The same can be said for a network. This is why Juniper Networks invests R&D beyond simply creating the highest performing products in the industry. We play fast. We play agile. And we play smart.


Professional sports teams guard the details of how they use analytics like intellectual property. The offensive and defensive coordinators sit in a room high above the fray, much like a network operator sits in an operations center. They make informed decisions on whether the next play will be a run, pass, or even to “go for it” on fourth down based on field positioning, which specific players are on the field, player fatigue, and success probabilities. Plays made from the ‘gut’ can now essentially be made from the brain.


Telemetry and analytics provide data driven strategic planning, predictions, and real-time adjustments. Two weeks prior to Super Bowl 50, there were reports of the New England Patriots losing access to their WiFi network in the NFC East championship game. They were unable to update their players with Denver Bronco play selection and adjust their defensive game to counter these attacks. At the professional level, every decision could make or break a game.


For fun, here are just a few of our most recent innovations in telemetry and analytics, along with some game-inspired football context.


  • Cloud Analytics Engine and Junos Telemetry Interface: Routers and switches stream network traffic statistics for collection. Software analyzes this data to make adjustments back to the network in real-time. Think of this as the wearables on athletes that collect statistics and send them to a server.
  • Sky Advanced Threat Protection: Sky ATP is Juniper’s cloud based security service that adapts dynamically to an ever-changing threat landscape by scanning traffic. Think of this as a top-rated defense that reads and adjusts to prevent the opponent from attacking. Turnover. Possession regained. Every time.
  • Northstar Controller and WANDL: These platforms deliver traffic optimizing solutions that can model traffic patterns. Traffic paths can be modified in real-time using SDN to increase utilization or avoid congestions. Think of a run play and making a split-second adjustment to avoid congestion to turn a loss of progress into a big gain. Like a quarterback running an option play. If one path is blocked, a better route can be selected in the exact moment of need.


The truth is that football is better with technology. In the business world, our customers are professional grade and compete at “Super Bowl levels” every single day. We believe in building networks that not only deliver industry-leading performance, but also provide telemetry, analytics, and automation that will help our customers win. With Euro Cup, Copa America, and the Olympics coming up, I’m excited to see more telemetry and analytics continue in 2016 sports, but not as excited as I am about seeing more of it in the networking solutions from Juniper

Feb 12, 2016

Excellent analogy and great post! Smiley Happy 

Feb 17, 2016
Recognized Expert Recognized Expert

Great read indeedwith the analogies in place!