Complex Made Simple

How the cloud and AI are changing sports playing, watching, and organizing

The Cloud and AI are becoming the bigger part of a future where virtual fans and event organizers participate in more live, immersive experiences

Traffic, public transport provisioning, parking, and queueing systems can be optimized via the cloud Amazon Web Services continues to expand its reach into the sports world Full Venue, which is a smart software that can be surprisingly accurate with its predictions

Phillip Liu, General Manager of Middle East and Africa, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, said the sports industry is on the cusp of a major digital transformation with the cloud poised to redefine key events while also ensuring immense value to athletes, teams, and fans worldwide.

It is important for sports organizations to invest in cloud solutions, i.e. everything from streaming platforms and augmented or virtual reality to sensor technology that leverages AI, and ‘virtual fans’, in order to influence and boost their level of year-round engagement.

Intelligent Sports Planning

Getting to and from major live events will be smoother and more efficient in the future, as traffic, public transport provisioning, parking, and queueing systems can be optimized through cloud technologies.

Using expected visitor inflows as a basis, event organizers can now assess passenger density around the city and provide bus or taxi fleets based on real-time demand and capacity.  

At the sporting venue, spectators and organizers can enhance health and safety standards owing to visual AI technology and prediction software.

Event Simulation Services (ESS)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud computing companies have conceptualized new solutions to help remote event organizers implement virtual layout plans for the positioning of the equipment, facilities, and cameras.

ESS provide an immersive cloud-based simulated environment to optimize every stage of a sports fixture. In doing so, they eliminate the need for physical venue surveys and rehearsals when a team is planning a global event that requires coordination with sportspersons from multiple countries. 

During an event, operational adjustments can be made in real-time using ESS that prevent and reduce various risk factors as an event unfolds while optimizing the engagement experience for the event’s stakeholders. In addition, ESS provide plenty of data for post-event analysis.

Virtual Fans

Fans cannot always attend their favorite sporting events, until now. Through cloud solutions, fan videos are automatically collected and filtered from a variety of social network platforms, and then curated, checked, and projected onto a jumbotron in a stadium or published on web portals, resulting in the biggest possible cheer from the world’s sporting fans.

Read: Digital transformation, AI, touchless technology, to lead the future of aerospace and aviation

Read: Brand investment in e-sports to rise to $844m this year – WARC data

Amazon Web Services and Sports

Amazon Web Services continues to expand its reach into the sports world. The latest deal is with the PGA (golf) Tour, which will make AWS its official cloud provider.

AWS will process and distribute video footage to various platforms and services such as Every Shot Live, and TOURcast, an interactive way to track shots throughout a tournament. The PGA Tour will also migrate nearly a century of content to AWS.

“Our collaboration with the TOUR will change the way that fans will be able to connect with the sport by giving them real-time access to virtually every moment on the course and letting them determine how they experience the game,” Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS who will replace Jeff Bezos as Amazon’s CEO later this year, said in a statement.

AWS has similar partnerships with the NFL; NHL, Formula One, NASCAR, Bundesliga, and others.

Sports tech trends

AI is everywhere in sports technology

Below are just two of the many other examples of AI trends that are changing professional sports.  

Full Venue, which is a smart software that can be surprisingly accurate with its predictions regarding the likelihood of fans buying tickets to a match venue, can also be used to strategize marketing for better fan involvement.

ReSpo.Vision is also an artificially intelligent algorithm that analyzes football matches to help scouts find talent from different corners of the globe. It can also be used by club managers to plan for their next match against a tough opponent, through analyzing their game plans, key players, aggressive and defensive strategies, etc. 

Artificial intelligence will become more mainstream such as using natural language processing (NLP) to help answer fans’ questions or using huge amounts of data to spot trends in injury statistics.