The third annual Athletics Data Conference – AthTech18 – brought together some of the leading technology experts in the sport for a two-day event in the northern Spanish city of Gijon on 9-10 October.
A wide variety of topics were covered but for many participants the three most crucial areas were: open standards and standardisation in formatting of athletics data; the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which was implemented across the European Union earlier this year; and competition management.
The two organisers of the conference – in conjunction with European Athletics – Martin Alvarez-Espinar of local Technology Centre CTIC/W3C Spain and Andy Robinson of British athletics data company OpenTrack, looked at data standards within the sport and data sharing, as well as provided proposals and suggestions for European-wide standardisation initiatives.
“By having standards, and making it mostly open data, we open the door to anyone, to do anything with the data, in real time,” commented Robinson, explaining the rationale for moving towards standardisation. “At the end of the day, we save time and make athletics a more efficient sport in so many areas.”
“We speak a lot about a digital future but there is still no central data platform,” he added. “And some major athletics federations are still doing their rankings by hand.”
Legal counsel David Brunsdon, Head of Compliance at First Rate Exchange Services, took the delegates – from 18 different countries including representatives of 13 European Athletics Member Federations through GDPR and what it means for athletics.
A full summary of the conference can be found here.