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FIBO Exhibition | Fit Tech promotion
FIBO Exhibition | Fit Tech promotion
FIBO Exhibition | Fit Tech promotion
features

Fit Tech People: Patrick Lucey

VP of AI, Stats Perform

We can capture tracking data from historical videos, enabling us to do large scale comparisons of players, such as Michael Jordan, across eras

Published in Fit Tech 2020 issue 2

How does AI assist the sports industry?
Many of us rely on AI-based technology without even knowing it. For example, when we use Google Maps, it gives us an estimate of a route and time it takes to get to a destination by using AI. Or when we order an Uber or Lyft, it connects us to a driver and calculates the fare.

These are examples of assistive technology – enabling people to make easier/better/quicker decisions, and they not only emulate but sometimes surpass what humans can do.

The reason these companies are able to achieve this ‘super human’ capability, is that they’ve utilised an enormous amount of data. The more data you have, the better your AI technology will be - simple as that.

When it comes to the sheer volume of data in the sports industry – both historically in terms of capturing all games played, and also in terms of granularity (details of locations and times of games played) – no other company has the volume of sports data we have at Stats Perform.

We cover all sports and we capture details of them at a depth no other company does, which positions us as the best sports AI company.

The goal of our AI technology is to help all segments of the sports industry to make better and quicker decisions, as well as to do things they couldn’t beforehand.

Can you give us an example?
Football (soccer) is a hard sport to analyse because it’s low-scoring, continuous and strategic. For these reasons, the current statistics used, such as possession percentage, number of passes, corners and tackles, don’t correlate with goals scored and who won the match.

Our AI-based metrics, such as expected goals, quality of passes and playing styles, correlate far more accurately with the number of goals scored when compared with standard statistics. Our AI metrics measure performance better.

Using these AI tools, we were able to show how UK team Leicester City won the 2015-16 English Premier League title. Basically, it wasn’t the goal-scoring exploits of players Jamie Vardy or Riyad Mahrez that won the game, the result was down to goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel, who saved five more goals than the average Premier League goalkeeper, and their defenders who intercepted the most 50-50 balls – especially midfielder Ngolo Kante.

What else can your software do?
There are things in football that can’t be measured reliably by humans, such as a team’s formation.

Using our AI techniques – most notably our unsupervised clustering method – we can automatically find a team’s formation at every frame of a match. We’re very proud of this, as we’re the first group to be able to do this and it’s a central feature of our Edge football software.

Outside football, we‘ve also recently launched a couple of new AI-based products for analysing NFL and NBA, called VQ and Insights.

The VQ (victory quotient) system, uses our wealth of data in both the NBA and NFL, as well as our deep learning models to provide predictions of performance of every player in every match. That’s the power of AI, as we can scale our models to provide these predictions for every match being played.

Additionally, we’ve launched our Insights Live product, which provides notable information during every match using our deep data, in tandem with our natural language generation platform, which is another great example of using AI to scale and provide information where it wasn’t previously available.

How is AI changing the world of sports for consumers and competitors?
The reason sport is so compelling is that it’s played and coached by humans who are constantly making decisions in the heat of the moment – often the wrong decision.

Every single decision that a coach or player makes can be broken down, analysed and debated and at Stats Perform, we have the data on every decision coaches and players make, which means that by using our AI technology, we can provide objective analysis on each decision.

This is compelling for front-offices as we now have a better measure of performance.

It’s the same for audiences at home. Every sports event is now a talking point and we can make it even more compelling by providing a reliable prediction service for consumers.

Our AI technology is also the ultimate decision analysis tool, enabling everyone associated with the sports world to make better decisions.

Sports are increasingly being broadcast and consumed via mobile and the internet and this means raw and AI-based metrics are required to make more interactive and compelling experiences.

How can AI maximise old data?
We have the most sports data on the planet. To continually improve, we want to collect even more, with a granularity that a human could not do manually. That’s how our AutoStats functionality works.

This utilises computer vision, which captures a player’s skeleton from a broadcast video frame and then provides player tracking and event data.

Our goal is to collect tracking data from every sports video that has ever existed – which essentially enables us to travel back in time.

Take basketball as an example: tracking systems were not available in the 80s or 90s, so capturing the performance of Michael Jordan has not been possible... until now.

Using AutoStat, we can capture data from historical videos, enabling us to do comparisons of players across eras.

Will AI take the magic out of sport?
I get asked that question often. My honest belief is that we’re making sports better. Instead of it being a mere athletic endeavour (ie, the fastest and strongest prevail), we’re adding a cognitive dimension to the equation, where players and coaches have to also hone and perfect their cognitive function to best prepare for (and predict) the strengths and weakness of opponents.

How will AI change sport?
Currently top professional athletes receive the best analysis and coaching. AI technology will democratise this to the point that everyone, whether amateur or professional, kid or adult, can receive the best analysis and coaching for free.

More: StatsPerform.com

About Stats Perform
Based in Chicago
Founded in 1981 by John Dewan
Collects the world’s largest amount of sports data
Clients include media outlets, sports leagues and teams, fantasy sports and sports betting services
Pioneers in the computer vision tracking space, using it since 1999
Provide immediate insight on gameplay from more than 45 different sports
Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
Gallery
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Two-way coaching

Content providers have been hugely active in the fit tech market since the start of the pandemic. We expect the industry to move on from delivering these services on a ‘broadcast-only’ basis as two-way coaching becomes the new USP
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features

Fit Tech People: Patrick Lucey

VP of AI, Stats Perform

We can capture tracking data from historical videos, enabling us to do large scale comparisons of players, such as Michael Jordan, across eras

Published in Fit Tech 2020 issue 2

How does AI assist the sports industry?
Many of us rely on AI-based technology without even knowing it. For example, when we use Google Maps, it gives us an estimate of a route and time it takes to get to a destination by using AI. Or when we order an Uber or Lyft, it connects us to a driver and calculates the fare.

These are examples of assistive technology – enabling people to make easier/better/quicker decisions, and they not only emulate but sometimes surpass what humans can do.

The reason these companies are able to achieve this ‘super human’ capability, is that they’ve utilised an enormous amount of data. The more data you have, the better your AI technology will be - simple as that.

When it comes to the sheer volume of data in the sports industry – both historically in terms of capturing all games played, and also in terms of granularity (details of locations and times of games played) – no other company has the volume of sports data we have at Stats Perform.

We cover all sports and we capture details of them at a depth no other company does, which positions us as the best sports AI company.

The goal of our AI technology is to help all segments of the sports industry to make better and quicker decisions, as well as to do things they couldn’t beforehand.

Can you give us an example?
Football (soccer) is a hard sport to analyse because it’s low-scoring, continuous and strategic. For these reasons, the current statistics used, such as possession percentage, number of passes, corners and tackles, don’t correlate with goals scored and who won the match.

Our AI-based metrics, such as expected goals, quality of passes and playing styles, correlate far more accurately with the number of goals scored when compared with standard statistics. Our AI metrics measure performance better.

Using these AI tools, we were able to show how UK team Leicester City won the 2015-16 English Premier League title. Basically, it wasn’t the goal-scoring exploits of players Jamie Vardy or Riyad Mahrez that won the game, the result was down to goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel, who saved five more goals than the average Premier League goalkeeper, and their defenders who intercepted the most 50-50 balls – especially midfielder Ngolo Kante.

What else can your software do?
There are things in football that can’t be measured reliably by humans, such as a team’s formation.

Using our AI techniques – most notably our unsupervised clustering method – we can automatically find a team’s formation at every frame of a match. We’re very proud of this, as we’re the first group to be able to do this and it’s a central feature of our Edge football software.

Outside football, we‘ve also recently launched a couple of new AI-based products for analysing NFL and NBA, called VQ and Insights.

The VQ (victory quotient) system, uses our wealth of data in both the NBA and NFL, as well as our deep learning models to provide predictions of performance of every player in every match. That’s the power of AI, as we can scale our models to provide these predictions for every match being played.

Additionally, we’ve launched our Insights Live product, which provides notable information during every match using our deep data, in tandem with our natural language generation platform, which is another great example of using AI to scale and provide information where it wasn’t previously available.

How is AI changing the world of sports for consumers and competitors?
The reason sport is so compelling is that it’s played and coached by humans who are constantly making decisions in the heat of the moment – often the wrong decision.

Every single decision that a coach or player makes can be broken down, analysed and debated and at Stats Perform, we have the data on every decision coaches and players make, which means that by using our AI technology, we can provide objective analysis on each decision.

This is compelling for front-offices as we now have a better measure of performance.

It’s the same for audiences at home. Every sports event is now a talking point and we can make it even more compelling by providing a reliable prediction service for consumers.

Our AI technology is also the ultimate decision analysis tool, enabling everyone associated with the sports world to make better decisions.

Sports are increasingly being broadcast and consumed via mobile and the internet and this means raw and AI-based metrics are required to make more interactive and compelling experiences.

How can AI maximise old data?
We have the most sports data on the planet. To continually improve, we want to collect even more, with a granularity that a human could not do manually. That’s how our AutoStats functionality works.

This utilises computer vision, which captures a player’s skeleton from a broadcast video frame and then provides player tracking and event data.

Our goal is to collect tracking data from every sports video that has ever existed – which essentially enables us to travel back in time.

Take basketball as an example: tracking systems were not available in the 80s or 90s, so capturing the performance of Michael Jordan has not been possible... until now.

Using AutoStat, we can capture data from historical videos, enabling us to do comparisons of players across eras.

Will AI take the magic out of sport?
I get asked that question often. My honest belief is that we’re making sports better. Instead of it being a mere athletic endeavour (ie, the fastest and strongest prevail), we’re adding a cognitive dimension to the equation, where players and coaches have to also hone and perfect their cognitive function to best prepare for (and predict) the strengths and weakness of opponents.

How will AI change sport?
Currently top professional athletes receive the best analysis and coaching. AI technology will democratise this to the point that everyone, whether amateur or professional, kid or adult, can receive the best analysis and coaching for free.

More: StatsPerform.com

About Stats Perform
Based in Chicago
Founded in 1981 by John Dewan
Collects the world’s largest amount of sports data
Clients include media outlets, sports leagues and teams, fantasy sports and sports betting services
Pioneers in the computer vision tracking space, using it since 1999
Provide immediate insight on gameplay from more than 45 different sports
Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
Gallery
More features
Editor's letter

Two-way coaching

Content providers have been hugely active in the fit tech market since the start of the pandemic. We expect the industry to move on from delivering these services on a ‘broadcast-only’ basis as two-way coaching becomes the new USP
people

Laurent Petit

Co-founder, Active Giving
The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
people

Adam Zeitsiff

CEO, Intelivideo
We don’t just create the technology and bail – we support our clients’ ongoing hybridisation efforts
people

Anantharaman Pattabiraman

CEO and co-founder, Auro
When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
people

Mike Hansen

Managing partner, Endorphinz
We noticed a big gap in the market – customers needed better insights but also recommendations on what to do, whether that be customer acquisition, content creation, marketing and more
interview

Mathieu Letombe

The new feature ‘Vascular Age’ was developed by cardiologists to provide an easy-to-understand assessment of arterial health – just by stepping on the scale

Refining augmented reality

London boutique The Refinery has created an avatar-led digital fitness offering called ALFI, which utilises augmented reality (AR) to demonstrate movements. Zoe Bertali, one of the co-founders of the gym, tells us more

Jessica Ennis-Hill: founder of Jennis

Jessica Ennis-Hill is on a mission to close the gender data gap in health research. Her app, Jennis CycleMapping, is designed to help women understand their cycles and how to train during each different phase. Steph Eaves speaks to Ennis-Hill to find out exactly how it works

How usable is your product?

Your fit tech product might be a game changer, solving problems or creating new possibilities for clients, but none of this will matter if it’s not easy and enjoyable to use. Industrial designer Nick Chubb explains why usability is key, and the factors to consider when designing your new product

Put on your red light

Red light therapy promises a variety of benefits, including better recovery, skin rejuvenation and increased energy, but is it all too good to be true? Fit Tech spoke to Bryan Gohl and James Strong of Red Light Rising, and Wes Pfiffner of Joovv to find out more
interview

Kilian Saekel

By putting focus on tapping different lights and sounds while doing gruelling planks, you stop focusing on the pain

Adrian Hon

Zombies, Run! is one of the most enduring fitness apps, with half a million users getting active while engaging in ‘missions’ against the zombie apocalypse. Its co-creator spoke to Steph Eaves about the power of story

Digital community

Matt Stebbings of SLT Group talks about the creation of their Community Portal, a new platform that aims to help anyone to get active, whether that’s inside or outside of SLT’s facilities

Funxtion: A vital connection

NonStop Gym, Switzerland’s no frills gym chain, has appointed FunXtion to create its member training app

Monitoring mental health

New technology uses advanced machine learning to monitor patients’ mental health between visits to their medical providers
people

Devi Mahadevia

Facebook director of sports and fitness partnerships
With Facebook paid online events, publishers can charge viewers to attend a video livestream on their Facebook pages or a third party video service
people

Andy Etches

Founder and sports director, Rezzil
Rezzil was able to have an injured player learning his new manager's philosophy, positioning and playing style – all from a seated position
interview

Preston Lewis, Black Box VR

It’s clear that combining VR gaming with fitness has the potential to decrease pain, increase enjoyment, and allow players to push their bodies further than they would normally, creating real fitness gains over time
More features
FIBO Exhibition | Fit Tech promotion
FIBO Exhibition | Fit Tech promotion