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LaLiga wants all to score with sports business school



The appetite for education is growing within football as clubs seek to build a strong professional culture. To accompany playing talent, skills in marketing, business development or law are essential to long-term international growth.

As an organisation that grew from 35 to 580 employees in just five years, LaLiga is an example of how investment in education can help sports businesses to expand globally. To pass on its knowledge to others it has launched the LaLiga Business School project, becoming the first major football league to provide uniquely-designed professional sports courses to students around the world.

Working with universities, local federations, and clubs, the project brings together expertise from across the business and sporting worlds to share best practices and create an appetite for learning. As well as classes within Spain, the programme has agreed new partnerships with educational and sporting institutions to bring courses to nine countries across the Americas and Africa.

For José Moya, Director of LaLiga Business School, these agreements are key to securing football’s long-term future. “We want to help professionalise the sports industry at all levels by capturing and developing the talent of today and tomorrow’s professionals,” said Moya. “The more qualified people we have working in the industry, the better equipped football will be for growth.”

International courses from Egypt to Ecuador

The first international course, on the subject of sports marketing, was held at the start of March in Egypt, at the ESLSCA Business School’s Cairo campus. Over an intensive 25-hour course, the 40 participants gained a deep understanding of new techniques that can help build a greater profile for football and attract new fans.

Moya said: “Whether they are already working within football or brand new to the industry, we’re offering courses that were not previously available and can help people approach football with a fresh business mindset.”

In the coming months, LaLiga will introduce similar classes in Peru with San Ignacio De Loyola University, in Ecuador with San Francisco de Quito University, in Colombia with the Universidad Externado de Colombia, in Mexico with ITAM, in Puerto Rico with the government’s department of recreation and sports, in Panamá with Universidad Latina de Panamá, in Nigeria with Lagos Business School and in the USA with Colombia University.

While each course is built on the same values and with the same objectives, the speakers are varied and students will learn from experts specific to each country, in addition to 20 hours of instruction from LaLiga teachers.

In Peru, for example, the marketing directors of leading clubs Club Alianza Lima and Universitario will address the classes. In Ecuador and Colombia, representatives from these nations’ professional football leagues will speak, while the President of the Puerto Rican football federation will do likewise for that territory’s course.

Through all of this, new technology will be in use to ensure that students receive the best possible experience. In addition to a digital tool that connects students from all over the world and permits networking, data from the LaLiga business intelligence and analytics department will be used in the lessons and professionals from the various tech departments of LaLiga will take part in the teaching too.

Inclusive education for the good of all football 

While the courses help to build LaLiga’s international brand visibility, the principal aim of LaLiga Business School is to bring together experts that can provide the best sports education on the market. “Education should always be inclusive, and our doors are open to local leagues, federations, teams or committees that wish to get involved,” said Moya. “Where we succeed, football as a whole will succeed and that is good for everyone.”

There are plans for future expansion to south-east Asia, Japan and Thailand, as well as to other European countries including Hungary, Italy and Finland. But these moves will be made carefully and slowly. “We’re not built for rapid growth and profit but to put down roots and create a long-term appetite for sporting education,” said Moya.

“But in time, the whole sporting world will be focused on continuous learning and we plan to be a central part of that.”

For further information about all courses on offer visit


IoT sensors are anything from doctor to canary in mines

Industrial IoT is changing the shape of the mining industry and the intelligence of the devices that drive it



The Internet of Things (IoT) has become many things in the mining industry. A canary that uses sensors to monitor underground air quality, a medic that monitors healthcare, a security guard that’s constantly on guard, and underground mobile vehicle control. It has evolved from the simple connectivity of essential sensors to devices into an ecosystem of indispensable tools and solutions that redefine how mining manages people, productivity and compliance. According to Karien Bornheim, CEO of Footprint Africa Business Solutions (FABS), IoT offers an integrated business solution that can deliver long-term, strategic benefits to the mining industry.

“To fully harness the business potential of IoT, the mining sector has to understand precisely how it can add value,” she adds. “IoT needs to be implemented across the entire value chain in order to deliver fully optimised, relevant and turnkey operational solutions. It doesn’t matter how large the project is, or how complex, what matters is that it is done in line with business strategy and with a clear focus.”

Over the past few years, mining organisations have deployed emerging technologies to help bolster flagging profits, manage increasingly weighty compliance requirements, and reduce overheads. These technologies are finding a foothold in an industry that faces far more complexities around employee wellbeing and safety than many others, and that juggles numerous moving parts to achieve output and performance on a par with competitive standards. Already, these technologies have allowed mines to fundamentally change worker safety protocols and improve working conditions. They have also provided mining companies with the ability to embed solutions into legacy platforms, allowing for sensors and IoT to pull them into a connected net that delivers results.

“The key to achieving results with any IoT or technology project is to partner with service providers, not just shove solutions into identified gaps,” says Bornheim. “You need to start in the conceptual stage and move through the pre-feasibility and bankable feasibility stages before you start the implementation. Work with trained and qualified chemical, metallurgical, mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and structural engineers that form a team led by a qualified engineering lead with experience in project management. This is the only way to ensure that every aspect of the project is aligned with the industry and its highly demanding specifications.”

Mining not only has complexities in compliance and health and safety, but the market has become saturated, difficult and mercurial. For organisations to thrive, they must find new revenue streams and innovate the ways in which they do business. This is where the data delivered by IoT sensors and devices can really transform the bottom line. If translated, analysed and used correctly, the data can provide insights that allow for the executive to make informed decisions about sites, investment and potential.

“The cross-pollination of different data sets from across different sites can help shift dynamics in plant operation and maintenance, in the execution of specific tasks, and so much more,” says Bornheim. “In addition, with sensors and connected devices and systems, mining operations can be managed intelligently to ensure the best results from equipment and people.”

The connection of the physical world to the digital is not new. Many of the applications currently being used or presented to the mining industry are not new either. What’s new is how these solutions are being implemented and the ways in which they are defined. It’s more than sticking on sensors. It’s using these sensors to streamline business across buildings, roads, vehicles, equipment, and sites. These sensors and the ways in which they are used or where they are installed can be customised to suit specific business requirements.

“With qualified electronic engineers and software experts, you can design a vast array of solutions to meet the real needs of your business,” says Bornheim. “Our engineers can programme, create, migrate and integrate embedded IoT solutions for microcontrollers, sensors, and processors. They can also develop intuitive dashboards and human-machine interfaces for IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices to manage the input and output of a wide range of functionalities.”

The benefits of IoT lie in its ubiquity. It can be used in tandem with artificial intelligence or machine learning systems to enhance analytics, improve the automation of basic processes and monitor systems and equipment for faults. It can be used alongside M2M applications to enhance the results and the outcomes of the systems and their roles. And it can be used to improve collaboration and communication between man, machine and mine.

“You can use IoT platforms to visualise mission-critical data for device monitoring, remote control, alerts, security management, health and safety and healthcare,” concludes Bornheim. “The sky is genuinely the limit, especially now that the cost of sensors has come down and the intelligence of solutions and applications has gone up. From real-time insights to hands-on security and safety alerts to data that changes business direction and focus, IoT brings a myriad of benefits to the table.”

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Oracle leads in clash of
e-commerce titans



Three e-commerce platforms have been awarded “gold medals” for leading the way in customer experience. SoftwareReviews, a division of Info-Tech Research Group, named Oracle Commerce Cloud the leader in its 2020 eCommerce Data Quadrant Awards, followed by Shopify Plus and IBM Digital Commerce. The awards are based on user reviews. 
The three vendors received the following citations:

  • Oracle Commerce Cloud ranked highest among software users, earning the number-one spot in many of the product feature section areas, shining brightest in reporting and analytics, predictive recommendations, order management, and integrated search. 
  • Shopify Plus performed consistently well according to users, taking the number-one spot for catalogue management, shopping cart management and ease of customisation.
  • IBM Digital Commerce did exceptionally well in business value created, quality of features, and vendor support.

The SoftwareReviews Data Quadrant differentiates itself with insightful survey questions, backed by 22 years of research in IT. The study involves gathering intelligence on user satisfaction with both product features and experience with the vendor. When distilled, the customer’s experience is shaped by both the software interface and relationship with the vendor. Evaluating enterprise software along these two dimensions provides a comprehensive understanding of the product in its entirety and helps identify vendors that can deliver on both for the complete software experience.

“Our recent Data Quadrant in e-commerce solutions provides a compelling snapshot of the most popular enterprise-ready players, and can help you make an informed, data-driven selection of an e-commerce platform that will exceed your expectations,” says Ben Dickie, research director at Info-Tech Research Group. 

“Having a dedicated e-commerce platform is where the rubber hits the road in transacting with your customers through digital channels. These platforms provide an indispensable array of features, from product catalog and cart management to payment processing to detailed transaction analytics.”

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