Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence in Sports | HCLTech

Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence in Sports

Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence in Sports
September 12, 2022

Today the moment you switch to a sports channel, you get to witness the tremendous impact of technology in some way or the other. Whether be it advanced data analytics visuals flashing on the screens or drones circling the playing field - technology has found its firm footing in areas such as analytics, fan engagement, player wearables, smart stadiums, streaming channels, and many more, across different categories of sports.

HCLTech, acclaimed for introducing next-gen technology solutions at scale, is in no way behind in exploring how breakthrough technology could take the world of sports by storm. eSTiPTM – HCLTech’ flagship Open Innovation program, works in a continuum to cultivate and grow the SportsTech capability ecosystem within HCLTech.

From payments and ticketing to smart stadiums and sports analytics, HCLTech’ 360-degree solution framework revolves around various areas that can create immense impact across various categories of sports.

Technology is evolving rapidly and so is sports

Take cricket for example, there has been a massive uproar in segments related to fan engagement, player performance, and stadium experience. Cricket has now become a rapidly emerging domain where innovative technology solutions are constantly changing the ways how the sport was initially played.

There are 460 million people playing cricket in the world out of which 160 million are children under the age of 16. It is no wonder that several innovators including ex and current international cricket players are developing solutions to cater to the needs of this huge cricket market.

There are several aids for coaches now that assist them with gathering the right data for coaching. For example, there are bat sensors that will provide more than 20 parameters about every shot a batter play. Similarly, there are ball sensors that will give you ball speed, ball rev’s, line and length, and there are software apps that provide bio-mechanical analysis of players posture and movement.

The biggest drawback for coaches and players is that these data points lie scattered within each system and a lot of manual effort is required to get them in one place to do any contextual analysis to help a player improve. That’s where vision-based systems powered by artificial intelligence can play a pivotal role in assisting cricketers.

AI and cricket – At the crossroads

It is a well-acknowledged fact that AI has received an overwhelming response over the past couple of years and has established itself in various facets including sports like cricket. The world is getting busier and there is a growing need for solutions to be simpler, easier, and intuitive to use. Anything that requires time and effort from cricketers, especially coaches, will be less adopted.

This is where AI can play a huge role to assist coaches to make their lives easier and help them be the best coach that they can be. There is a preference for an integrated and single solution rather than using multiple solutions for several aspects of cricket such as batting, bowling, fitness, etc.

The upcoming generation is tech-savvy and they demand their coaches to upgrade and adapt to provide a great learning experience backed by objective data.

Ludimos – The future of cricket

Cricket video analysis is a necessity and not a luxury anymore. Yet cricket coaches and players restrict themselves from capturing as many data points as possible using their digital devices. The reasons for this are the following:

  • Time-consuming: Coaches should spend the same amount of time reviewing videos
  • Manual effort: Need to manually search for the right actions to review

With Ludimos, coaches and players simply record and upload as much footage as they want. Ludimos AI automatically identifies and classifies key actions from long videos. Coaches simply review the important ones using smart analysis tools. All information including feedback notes, analysis notes, match performances, and player profiles are all stored securely in an online environment that can be accessed using any device and from anywhere. 

Started in 2019 with a simple idea, Ludimos has grown to power five national teams, Tendulkar Middlesex Global Academy (TMGA), domestic franchises, and several academies around the world. Some of the key clients include the National teams of the Netherlands, Denmark, Guernsey, Serbia and Argentina.

The vision is to put Ludimos on every cricketer's kit bag. They aim to achieve this by making broadcast level analytics easily accessible to the masses. Ludimos is one such platform that aims to make learning cricket a fun and interactive process. 

As mentioned earlier, coaches love to have all their data points in a central place for efficient analysis. Ludimos AI provides exactly that. Our deep learning algorithms are capable of extracting and tracking a bat, ball, and the player in a video. Using the tracks we can estimate all the KPI’s a coaches needs for analysis.

From a cricket video our tech can generate the following insights,

  1. Stump line
  2. Smart zoom – To always keep the player at the center
  3. Ball tracking – Provides ball speed, line, length and real world pitch map
  4. Bat tracking – Provides bat speed, downswing speed, impact point, bat path and bat map
  5. Biomechanics – Provides skeletal overlay of players required for biomechanical analysis
  6. Kinogram – Automatic bowling kinogram to analysis bowlers run up
  7. Events – Provide a timeline with key events like Back Foot Contact, Front Foot Contact, etc.

HCLTech – Cricket Australia <Tech>Jam Win

HCLTech in collaboration with Cricket Australia sought to begin a journey to gather the best minds across the globe and provide them with an immersive experience. They want to develop innovative solutions and prototypes for transforming the game of cricket both on & off field leveraging the power of data and technology through the HCLTech-CA Tech<Jam> 2021.

Among 8300+ participants across the globe, Ludimos bagged the first runner-up award along with the best player performance solution by experts including Australian cricket national players, tech experts and top coaches.

Madan Raj Rajagopal, Founder of Ludimos, expressed -

“The TechJam win gave us the validation that we were looking for. This puts us on the right path and motivates us to push even harder to make data-driven cricket coaching at scale a reality. A huge kudos to the entire Ludimos team for pulling this off at such short notice.”

About eSTiPTM – HCLTech’ flagship Open Innovation Program

Redefining partnership paradigms, HCLTech cultivates a unique and innovative ecosystem – consisting of start-ups, venture capitalists, and trade missions from across the globe – that generates solutions which can ultimately be leveraged by our clients. A key differentiator is HCLTech’ own start-up accelerator and innovation platform, the eSTiPTM (Or) Ecosystem Innovation Program. It enables co-creation through an open innovation model. Undertaken by HCLTech Enterprise Technology Office (ETO), this platform industrializes innovation and fosters deep collaboration among various stakeholders through a systematic and scaled approach for idea funnel management, prototyping, deployment, and commercialization.

SportsTech sector has been eSTiP’s area of focus since the last few years where the team constantly works to innovate, integrate, and scale the SportsTech ecosystem across the globe. HCLTech-CA Tech<Jam> was one of the many enablement opportunities provided to several such startups that are bringing revolution to the world of sports. Going forward, eSTiPTM in collaboration with Ludimos will jointly work to explore potential synergies to continue delivering breakthrough burgeoning tech solutions to the world of sports.

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