Emirates to become lead sponsor of England's FA Cup
The Dubai-based airline Emirates, which describes itself as â€˜a global connector of people and passionsâ€™, and The Football Association (FA), English footballâ€™s governing body, have announced that the airline will become the Lead Partner of the FA Cup, the annual contest the latter runs. From next season till 2018 it will be known as The Emirates FA Cup.
Emirates is a long-standing supporter of football with partnerships across Europe including AC Milan, Real Madrid, Olympiacos FC, Hamburger SV, Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal. Throughout the next three years, Emirates will focus on bringing the worldâ€™s most prestigious domestic cup competition closer to its fans from across the nation as well as the rest of the globe.
Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline said: â€œFootball is a truly global sport, a unifying factor in many communities and nations across the world. Never is this more evident than with The FA Cup, which has an unrivalled heritage and draws a global audience of more than 1.1 billion people. The spirit of competition, fair play, and sparking the passions of a global audience, are all values we share at Emirates. That is why we are proud to be the first title sponsor of the tournament and we look forward to a long-term partnership to support and connect fans to their teams both here in the UK and across the world.â€
Greg Dyke, Chairman of The FA said: â€œEmiratesâ€™ commitment to our sport is evident and securing such an iconic and forward-thinking lead partner for The FA Cup is great news for us, the fans and for the whole game. The partnership will help take the tournament to new audiences, inspire interest in football from across the globe and allow us to continue our investment into the game at all levels.â€
Next seasonâ€™s FA Cup kicks off onÂ 15th AugustÂ with Extra-Preliminary rounds and culminates in a showpiece final at Wembley onÂ Saturday 21st May 2016.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”