TIME FOR SMART SPORTS

Use of Tech­nol­ogy is rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing the sports domain

DQ Channels - - Cover Story - ANUSHRI MON­DAL (anushrim@cy­berme­dia.co.in)

Use of Tech­nol­ogy is rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing the sports domain

Tech­nol­ogy is usu­ally used in sports to col­lect data and do an­a­lyt­ics on the per­for­mances of teams or in­di­vid­ual play­ers. In the In­dian land­scape, tech­nol­ogy would help if used at the ground level to or­ga­nize the se­lec­tion of the play­ers/scout­ing of play­ers in schools or col­leges, to track per­for­mances of play­ers who have shown po­ten­tial to be fu­ture rep­re­sen­ta­tives of In­dian sports.

The adop­tion of IT in the In­dian sports land­scape is im­per­a­tive for two key rea­sons: data dig­i­ti­za­tion helps main­tain records, statis­tics, and data about play­ers for pro­fil­ing, track­ing progress etc. and ad­vanced data an­a­lyt­ics aids team per­for­mances es­pe­cially for sports like cricket which in­volves ex­ten­sive data cap­ture and anal­y­sis.

AT DEVEL­OP­MENT STAGE

The over­all IT adop­tion in In­dian sports is still in the nascent stage for a num­ber of rea­sons. One of the prime rea­sons for that is the over­all struc­ture of sports in­dus­try in the coun­try has seen ma­jor growth only in the re­cent 7-8 years. The sports in­dus­try has also re­ceived at­ten­tion and in­vest­ment from pri­vate sec­tor, for fur­ther devel­op­ment of in­fra­struc­ture and en­abling tools, only dur­ing this pe­riod.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the ex­tent of dig­i­tal fol­low­ing for sports com­pared to the over­all dig­i­tal con­nected base is see­ing growth only now and is still lower than the bench­mark in de­vel­oped coun­tries. The prob­lem is less about one par­tic­u­lar thing, and more about many as­pects.

How­ever, it is also a case of sim­ply need­ing time to de­velop in a very com­plex mar­ket and de­ter­min­ing the unique needs and in­ter­ests in In­dia, and prob­lems that IT can help solve in In­dian sport. “We have built a plat­form that will en­cour­age peo­ple to play sports. The prob­lems that peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in sports are that they don’t have a part­ner and a lot of times they are clue­less about where to play a sport, where to find coach­ing classes or coaches. Through our lo­ca­tion based app peo­ple can connect with like-minded peo­ple in­ter­ested in sports and they can ex­plore var­i­ous sports op­tions in their city. There­fore, we have cre­ated a mar­ket­place for sports, where the peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in sports can get the right in­for­ma­tion on the sport clubs, coaches and lat­est events on sports,” says spokesper­son of Playy­our­sport.

The ini­tia­tives have been slow even for cricket, the num­ber one sport in the coun­try and only since 2008, has there been greater par­tic­i­pa­tion and ini­tia­tives with re­spect to IT for de­vel­op­ing var­i­ous as­pects of the game. ESPNcricinfo leads in data arch­ing of in­ter­na­tional, na­tional lo­cal cricket in In­dia – from in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions to the Un­der13, Un­der 14, Un­der 15 lev­els, stan­dard­iz­ing player data­bases, records and cov­er­ing th­ese sports.

Since its in­cep­tion in 1993, ESPNcricinfo has played a lead­ing role in dig­i­tiz­ing and mak­ing avail­able al­most all of the data avail­able on Cricket. “Cur­rently, we have a player data­base of 75, 338 and count­ing and fi­nal match score­cards of over 60,000 matches – dat­ing back to 1877. Apart from Statsguru, a state-of-the-art tool cus­tom­ized for searches on statis­tics, we have over 2,000 record pages, bulk of which is up­dated in real-time. Over the years, we have ded­i­cated teams work­ing to con­stantly im­prove our soft­ware and sys­tems for en­hanced data anal­y­sis, dig­i­tal pub­li­ca­tions and multi-screen ex­pe­ri­ences,” ex­plains Ramesh Ku­mar, head of ESPNcricinfo and ESPN Dig­i­tal Me­dia, In­dia. Statsguru is an in­ter­face that links to an in-depth data­base of his­tor­i­cal and cur­rent cricket data. It al­lows users to slice-and-dice data in thou­sands of dif­fer­ent ways al­low­ing anal­y­sis and in­ter­pre­ta­tion of cricket sce­nar­ios and hy­pothe­ses. This is a tool which is used by play­ers, se­lec­tors, cricket bod­ies, coaches, an­a­lysts, me­dia and ad­min­is­tra­tors to an­a­lyze data about teams and play­ers across mul­ti­ple di­men­sions.

BE­ING IN­SIGHT­FUL

ESPNcricinfo’s In­sights is a path-break­ing an­a­lyt­ics tool which brings to­gether all the statis­tics and trivia based con­tent and ex­per­tise un­der one um­brella. It is a on­estop des­ti­na­tion where users are able to in­ter­act with sta­tis­ti­cal nuggets like player ver­sus player com­par­isons across game for­mats, tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion fac­tors like play­ing venue, op­po­si­tion, re­sults for past as well as on­go­ing matches. This will be fur­ther de­vel­oped and por­tions will be of­fered to key stake­hold­ers in the cricket in­dus­try and com­mu­nity like crick­et­ing bod­ies, clubs and schools, an­a­lysts and po­ten­tial con­sumers to aid anal­y­sis.

It is uniquely equipped to in­ter­pret cricket data and add a qual­i­ta­tive per­spec­tive to anal­y­sis, in or­der to pro­vide in­sight­ful crick­et­ing con­tent. Lever­ag­ing our in-depth cov­er­age of cricket, www.espncricinfo. som/in­sights is a go-to des­ti­na­tion for fans look­ing for statis­tics and anal­y­sis around ‘The World Cup’ cricket tour­na­ment. A first of its kind, it al­lows fans to in­ter­act with statis­tics in an easy and en­gag­ing man­ner. It uses our in-depth data­base of crick­et­ing statis­tics and records to of­fer users’ ways to dis­cover, in­ter­act with and share in­ter­est­ing data, trivia and statis­tics around the game.

By ap­proach­ing the most gran­u­lar of cricket data right up to a ball bowled in any in­ter­na­tional cricket match from a de­scrip­tive, di­ag­nos­tic and pre­dic­tive per­spec­tive, ESPNcricinfo In­sights is a game changer, pro­vid­ing fans with com­pre­hen­sive in­sights at any point be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter a live match. Fans are able to play around with in­ter­est­ing nuggets of in­for­ma­tion and data, like player ver­sus player com­par­isons, across game for­mats, and tak­ing into ac­count fac­tors like venue, op­po­si­tion, re­sult of the game for past as well as matches of on­go­ing match.

IS THE IN­DUS­TRY BLIND TO­WARDS TECH NEED?

“There are mul­ti­ple fac­tors af­fect­ing the sit­u­a­tion. With the pen­e­tra­tion of in­ter­net across the coun­try and in­creas­ing num­ber of mo­bile con­sumers, I don’t be­lieve that sports in­dus­try is un­able to iden­tify the huge po­ten­tial. How­ever, there is still a sig­nif­i­cant lack of in­ter­est, prob­a­bly be­cause of the sports cul­ture in In­dia, which is sin­gle-eyed on cricket,” said Sumeet Soni, CEO of Zap­build Tech­nolo­gies who launched an An­droid ap­pli­ca­tion, Catch the Cup 2015 to keep the sports lovers up­dated with all the lat­est hap­pen­ings in the world of Cricket.

Since last year, the com­pany has launched two An­droid ap­pli­ca­tions for cov­er­ing Com­mon­Wealth Games in Glas­gow and now, ‘Catch the Cup-2015’ for the live cov­er­age of Cricket World Cup. Both of them have re­ceived an ex­cel­lent re­sponse with more than 20000 down­loads for Com­mon­Wealth Games ap­pli­ca­tion around the globe.

The idea is to al­ways tar­get the masses and keep them up­dated on any­thing that is hap­pen­ing, in real time. Peo­ple on the move or work­ing against time crunch can use their mo­biles to keep them abreast with the live scores, medal tally and lat­est news, with­out any sig­nif­i­cant time lag,” adds Soni. With the con­cep­tion of sev­eral dif­fer­ent leagues, grow­ing in­fra-

struc­ture in other sports and def­i­nitely, the ef­forts by the Sports Author­ity, the things seem to be im­prov­ing. This will have an over­all pos­i­tive im­pact on the IT pen­e­tra­tion in the in­dus­try, as well.

NEWS FOR THE AUTO LOVERS

Those buy­ing Ford EcoS­port will con­tinue to get up­dates from ESPN Cricinfo even while in their ve­hi­cle, thanks to the in­tro­duc­tion of SYNC with Ford Ap­pLink. Ford EcoS­port will be the sec­ond prod­uct af­ter 2014 Ford Fi­esta to sup­port this award-win­ning in-car tech­nol­ogy, en­abling cus­tomers to con­ve­niently ac­cess their fa­vorite smart­phone ap­pli­ca­tions through sim­ple voice-com­mands. “Con­sumers to­day are lead­ing an in­creas­ingly con­nected life­style and wish to stay up-to­date even while on the move. Ford Ap­pLink ad­dresses this un­met need and helps them stay con­nected with­out ever com­pro­mis­ing on con­ve­nience,” said Anurag Mehro­tra, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Mar­ket­ing Sales and Ser­vice, at Ford In­dia.

The in­tro­duc­tion of Ford Ap­pLink on EcoS­port is a tes­ta­ment to the opportunistic in­ter­sec­tion of sports and IT. Safety, con­ve­nience & seam­less con­nec­tiv­ity are the three cor­ner­stones of SYNC with Ford Ap­pLink tech­nol­ogy that al­lows greater com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween smart­phone apps and Ap­pLink equipped

ve­hi­cles through voice com­mands.

SLOW BUT STEADY

There is slow tran­si­tion from the tra­di­tional to more ad­vanced and mod­ern sys­tems, be it the Goal-Line Tech­nol­ogy used in the FIFA World Cup 2014, Hawk­Eye used in Wim­ble­don or Cricket Leagues or LED Stumps among oth­ers. This adop­tion in In­dian sports in­dus­try will def­i­nitely take off though it might be slow ini­tially. How­ever, a re­cent sur­vey con­ducted by Gart­ner re­veals that In­dia will be one of the lead­ing economies in the world, in the next 5 years, and more­over, with the new and im­proved in­fra­struc­ture, the pic­ture looks bright.

“Con­sumers to­day are lead­ing an in­creas­ingly con­nected life­style and wish to stay up-to­date even while on the move. Ford Ap­pLink ad­dresses this un­met need and helps them stay con­nected with­out ever com­pro­mis­ing on con­ve­nience” ANURAG MEHRO­TRA, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Mar­ket­ing Sales and Ser­vice, at Ford In­dia

“we have ded­i­cated teams work­ing to con­stantly im­prove our soft­ware and sys­tems for en­hanced data anal­y­sis, dig­i­tal pub­li­ca­tions and multi-screen ex­pe­ri­ences” RAMESH KU­MAR, head of ESPNcricinfo and ESPN Dig­i­tal Me­dia

“There are mul­ti­ple fac­tors af­fect­ing the sit­u­a­tion. With the pen­e­tra­tion of in­ter­net across the coun­try and in­creas­ing num­ber of mo­bile con­sumers, I don’t be­lieve that sports in­dus­try is un­able to iden­tify the huge po­ten­tial. How­ever, there is still a sig­nif­i­cant lack of in­ter­est, prob­a­bly be­cause of the sports cul­ture in In­dia, which is sin­gle-eyed on cricket”

SUMEET SONI, CEO of Zap­build Tech­nolo­gies

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