By Marcus Leach

Gone are the days where the British & Irish Lions tour was a group of leading amateur rugby players heading off to the Southern Hemisphere for three months with little more than a coaching team and kit man. Today's tours are as professional as they come and include technology partnerships.

From player tracking and video analysis to technical strategy and logistics, the Lions are at the cutting edge of technology. One example of the use of technology is the squads use of Microsoft's cloud productivity suite Office 365 during the tour.

All members of the squad and back room staff have an account, ensuring seamless and secure channels of communication for the squad's strategies and logistics, as well as in-depth analysis of opposition players and styles.

Scott Dodds, general manager, marketing and operations at Microsoft UK, revealed that the technology will also play a crucial role in the work of the team's medical staff.

"We're working with The Lions, not just to kit them out with technology — tablets, phones and so on — but also on building apps. We have an app being built with James Robson on the The Lions' medical team, where each player will use their tablet to update the staff every morning and evening on their status," he told The Director magazine.

Elsewhere Microsoft has partnered with global social media monitoring and analysis software provider Synthesio, to analyse online conversations about the Lions.

Microsoft is using Synthesio’s software to track the response online to its sponsorship campaign. The information Synthesio provides will help Microsoft optimise its sponsorship activities as the tour unfolds, maximising the impact.

“We are very excited to have teamed up with Microsoft. It’s a great example of how social media monitoring can both fuel a marketing campaign’s creativity and content, and measure its impact in real-time," Catriona Oldershaw, Managing Director UK of Synthesio, said.

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