Surrounded by fog, I couldn’t see anything out of the car. It was the type of fog you only see once a year. It rolled in from the ocean, thick and oily, smothering what once used to be a trendy inner-city street.
That’s when I first saw him stalking through the mist. Silhouetted and framed by the reaching, dead branches overhead. He turned to look at my car, eyes glinting with some sort of recognition. I rolled down my window as he approached.
He seemed to pause just before he leant down to say, “Bro. This is the sickest Suzuki Swift… And do you have a Panadol?”
Little did I know, that I had just met the future of sports analytics…. Tai’s a nice guy though.
Tai Altai is a developer for gameface.ai, a small company that’s trying to change the way sport is analysed and how the data is collected.
Typically, a company would assign a worker to every player on the field, watch the game live and manually count everything the player does. Passes completed, shots on goal, distance ran etc. are recorded for each individual player.
Currently, gathering sports statistics is an expensive, time consuming process which is often outsourced. Not to mention that these types of in-depth statistics are completely inaccessible to most amateur leagues.
Gameface.ai plans to revolutionise the industry by implementing cutting edge analytical technology and automating the data collection process as well as making it accessible to everyone.
So what does Gameface.ai do?
Gameface.ai specialises in sports analytics through video. Utilising artificial intelligence, machine learning and computer vision, the AI system will be able to collect in-depth data over a variety of sports.
Tai, among other things, has taught the computer how to collect data by analysing the footage of thousands of matches. A NASNET AI program utilising machine learning built the code from the ground up, customising the program to collect sports statistics as well as adapting the code to different sports.
Right now, Gameface.ai is focusing on football and cricket, however they claim to be adapting their AI to other sports.
What are the possibilities?
The main selling point of Gamface.ai is that it’ll automate the process of accumulating player statistics and data. It is quite likely that once the Gameface AI comes out of development as a finished product, large sporting organisations such as FIFA would consider replacing their outsourced statistics team with Gameface’s cheaper and faster AI.
The AI can use live footage as its input. As such, the quality of the statistics would improve, allowing coaches and fans to analyse a players statistics in real time.
The Gameface AI also has accessibility as one of it’s main features. You only need to obtain footage from a camera in a high-up position in order for it to see the whole field and all of the players.
Remember the U12 football matches on Saturday mornings? Even those matches can be fully analysed. Automatic profiles made for each player on the team would be updated with high quality statistics. I’m so glad this tech wasn’t around to analyse my performances…
The talent scouting industry would be completely revolutionised and streamlined as well. Kids can upload their player profiles online. Talent scouts can streamline their search for highly skilled players easily as they already know where the kid plays and what he can do. This opens up so many possibilities for young, aspiring sportsmen.
The technology not only shows you your sporting statistics, but also has the potential to show you how to play better. Using cricket as an example. Let’s say that a hopeful young cricketer wishes to make it onto the Australian squad while he simultaneously harbours a deep resentment towards the leadership team for replacing Michael Clarke in 2015.
He can use the program to analyse his performances and compare them to Clarke’s (good performances). Factors such as the batsman’s swing, ball placement and speed would be compared and used to give feedback on where to get better.
The accessibility also opens up more strategic avenues, especially for the amateur leagues. Not only can you analyse your own strengths and weaknesses, you can see your opponent’s too and use this to your advantage.
Imagine there’s a star player on the other team, but the AI can see that 73% of his shots are on the offside. Coaches can use this information to organise his fielders into positions which will effectively mitigate the damage their star player does.
Gameface.ai is a program which has the potential to massively change the way sports analytics are recorded and how amateur sports are played. Keep an eye out for them in the future!
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Check out Gameface.Ai here: http://gameface.ai/
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