Cognizant joins SailGP as official digital transformation partner

15 April 2021 3 min. read

Global professional services giant Cognizant has been named as the Official Digital Transformation partner of SailGP ahead of the championship’s second season kick off.

Attracting a global audience of more than 1.8 billion across its inaugural 2019 season, the elite international boat-racing event SailGP is now set for its second championship season, starting off in Bermuda on the 24th of April with further meets in Europe, the US and New Zealand. In the build-up, leading global professional services firm Cognizant has been named as the event’s Official Digital Transformation Partner in a multi-year deal.

“We are thrilled to join forces with a like-minded partner that shares our commitments and values,” said SailGP CEO and five-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts, who founded the $1 million competition alongside Larry Ellison and Oracle. “Starting today, Cognizant will actively participate in SailGP’s development and our ‘Race for the Future’ purpose-led agenda, aimed at accelerating change to a cleaner and more inclusive future.”

For the uninitiated, SailGP involves competing national teams – this year including defending champions Australia alongside New Zealand, the US, Great Britain, Denmark, France, Spain and Japan – racing in identical ‘F50’ catamarans capable of hitting speeds of above 100 kilometres per hour. To further ensure fairness, the large volume of data collected by Oracle is shared among the teams, in an effort to prevent the costly technological arms’ race of the America’s Cup.

As part of the partnership agreement, Cognizant will team up with Oracle to further enhance the IoT (Internet of Things) capabilities operating on each of the boats, with the F50 fleet having been described as ‘smart city on water’ by generating 30,000 data points per second per vessel. With teams able to gain a critical edge by analysing the open source data, the aim is to better inform decision-making, improve performances, and, ultimately, “make the boats go even faster”.

Similar to competitor Infosys’s partnership with the Australian Open, Cognizant has further been tasked with creating an immersive experience for SailGP fans, leveraging its digital expertise to enable data visualisation and improve audience insights. This will include overhauling the SailGP website and later its mobile app, with real-time key performance metrics to be provided including details such as the speed and distance of the boats and even the sailor’s heart rates.

Off the track, Cognizant will also align with SailGP’s environmental and social initiative Race for the Future, which in addition to being carbon neutral through off-setting (with the aim of being “fully powered by nature” by 2025), supports host cities with innovative carbon mitigation solutions. Along with sustainability, the initiative will also focus on promoting greater gender and racial diversity in the sailing industry through training and development fast-tracking.

“We are pleased to be SailGP’s Official Digital Transformation Partner, bringing Cognizant’s expertise in digital transformation and software engineering to the forefront of the first climate-positive sail racing championship in the world,” said Ursula Morgenstern, President of Cognizant Global Growth Markets.

Cognizant is not unfamiliar with highly elite sports, having earlier this year been named as the title partner of the new Aston Martin Formula One Team and as Global Partner of the PGA tour’s Presidents Cup, as well as previously being tapped by the FA to help accelerate engagement with women’s soccer in the UK.

Meanwhile, skipper Tom Slingsby will return to lead Australia’s SailGP defence, with female Olympic silver medalists Lisa Darmanin and Nina Curtis joining the squad.