Super Bowl, Video Games and Predictive Analytics
By Larry Walsh
In the world of football, 18 weeks of competition on the grid iron will come down to two teams – the New York Giants and the New England Patriots – battling for glory, fan adoration and bragging rights. The big game is set for Sunday (February 5), but it’s already been played and the outcome determined in the digital world.
In what has become an annual pre-Super Bowl tradition, video game giant EA Sports has already pitted the Giants against the Patriots in its bestselling “Madden NFL 2012.” The prediction: The Giants will stop a come-from-behind Patriots rally to win the Lombardi trophy. The final score: 27-24 powered by a clutch Giants field goal.
Patriots fans are dismissive of this digital simulation. And perhaps they should. After all, the same game predicted the Green Bay Packers would win the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season. It was right, all the way up to the divisional playoff game when the Giants – a long shot at the beginning of the season to even make it to the Super Bowl – defeated them in a crushing loss.
But the Madden simulation is representative of a growing trend in data analytics. Enterprises ranging from large multinationals to regional midmarket companies, economists and market analyst, and government agencies – particularly in national security – are increasingly turning to the data generated by automated systems and simulations to determine
For instance, market analysts and economists are now looking to the voluminous streams of unstructured for predictive trends on future product sales and corporate performance. For instance, economists are now looking to Google searches for advance intelligence on car buying trends. Likewise, marketers and sales managers are using the same analytics to measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and product sales potential.
The same technology is being used by several cities to identify and stomp out areas of habitual criminal activity. Technology developed by IBM is being employed by police departments to monitor individual criminals with a high probability of recidivism. The system, based on InfoSphere Identity Insight is so effective that it identify individual criminals as well as associates engaged in criminal activity. The same system is also being used to combat fraud, waste and abuse by government agencies and contractors.
Simulations and data analysis isn’t game play or idle speculation. The algorithms and analytical software is changing the way data is processed and converted into actionable intelligence. As enterprises become increasingly less risk tolerant, they will need greater insights into market trends and advance intelligence on sales and performance probability. This is something long desired by enterprises, and the technology is finally catching up to the vision and need.
Someday soon, Madden NFL games may become so intelligence that they’re simulations may become infallible in predicting Super Bowl outcomes. Unfortunately for the Giants, that probably won’t be true this year.
* Editor’s Note: Larry Walsh is based in New York, but originally from Massachusetts and is a life-long Patriots fan.