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Blink Identity: Walk straight into an event 

Blink Identity offers the latest solution for quick and easy access to events, as face recognition software can be used as a ticket.

Recently, we’ve seen QR codes become as prominent as ever with Covid-19 protocols in mind – particularly for checking in to venues. 

Blink Identity offers the latest solution for quick and easy access to events, as face recognition software can be used as a ticket – rather than having a physical or digital copy on hand. 

Backed by decades of experience, they have been developing identity systems for enterprises in high-risk environments. The biometric matching system has utilised military-grade technology to accurately identify people walking at a typical pace, adaptable to any lighting conditions. 

The basis of Blink Identity is simple – when a sports club or venue is partnered up with the company and has the camera software in place, visitors are required to enrol in the service by taking a ‘selfie’ photograph on their phone. 

Face recognition like a barcode

By taking a photograph in a matter of seconds, this leads to enormous time saved when the visitor has arrived to enter a stadium or venue, where this eliminates the risk of waiting in lines. Blink Identity collects an image of a person’s face to then be converted into a special unique code known as a mathematical template for identification purposes (like a barcode). Basic contact details involving full name and email address are used for a personalised greeting and if Blink Identity needs to contact the person respectively, with this information to ensure that a spectator can be identified at a venue and if any problems arise with the account. 

With a Blink Identity lane in operation, all the visitor needs to do is walk through and the sensor takes another photograph – to be converted into a template – which is then immediately deleted and is not saved on the sensor. This process is simply to compare the initial template (selfie) with the latest version from when the person enters a venue. 

The versatility and reliability of this technology has not only been tested with lighting conditions, but also to adjust for slight changes to a person’s appearance from one photo to the next. For instance, anyone wearing hats, glasses, colored contacts, head scarves or has a beard does not affect Blink Identity’s system. The vast majority of sunglasses, face paint schemes and sequins have also been proven to not change how the sensors operate. The system, which can identify identical twins better than the human eye, caters for any changes to a person’s appearance. In addition, customers wearing face masks are matched using periocular recognition. This is a special type of face matching that focuses on the area of the face around the eye. 

The Blink Identity Sensor

Likened to walking in like a red carpet, Blink Identity is virtually a replica with that same VIP-type feel for successful entry. Once inside the venue, the use of Blink Identity’s sensors can expand towards purchasing food and merchandise, where customer experience is advanced. For instance, if an ID check is required from a customer, a simple face recognition check can be completed, rather than sifting through pockets trying to find a driver’s license or similar.

The ease of this technology is not only positive for visitors, but for companies as well who hold events. Blink Identity integrates with standard frameworks and workflows to handle everything from implementation and enrollment to privacy compliance. By switching to Blink Identity’s system, it connects to existing ticketing, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), point of sale (POS), time & attendance and security systems. This will allow organisations to get a better insight of fan data, promoting increased revenues and analytics. 

As countries start to welcome back more fans on the other side of Covid-19 outbreaks, Blink Identity can help manage the reintroduction of these fans through seamless entry. It’s an extra piece of technology that can certainly speed up the process at popular crowded events.  

For everything you need to know about Blink Identity, you can find it here. 

Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

DFL and AWS introduce two new Match Facts to Bundesliga coverage

Bundesliga analysis

The Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have announced the addition of two new Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS that will premiere as graphics during broadcasts and in the official Bundesliga app during the 2021-2022 season.

The two new Match Facts – Shot Efficiency and Passing Profile – will bring the total number of advanced statistics to eight, with each of them aiming to give fans deeper insights into the action on the pitch.

The first of the new advanced stats – Shot Efficiency – compares the number of goals that a player or team has scored with how many goals the player or team should have scored based on the quality of their chances.

The second – Passing Profile – provides deeper insights into the pass quality of a player or an entire team. Both of the stats are generated by gathering and analysing the match feeds from live games in real time as they are streamed into AWS.

Both new stats made their debut during Matchday 4 on the clash between German Champion FC Bayern München and the second-placed team of the previous season RB Leipzig.

The two new Match Facts will better showcase the action on the field – giving fans, coaches, players, and commentators visual support for analysing the decision-making of players and teams.

Andreas Heyden, Executive Vice President of Digital Innovations for DFL Group, was excited to further innovate the matchday experience for viewers based both domestically and internationally.

“Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS allows us to give fans more insight into the game of football, broadcasters more interesting stories to tell and coaches and teams, more data to excel at their game,” he said.

“Last year, the reception for Bundesliga Match Facts around the world was very positive, and we expect through ML and AI to continue to innovate on these analytics to make them even better.

“These two new stats give fans a view into player efficiency that hasn’t been achieved before, and we are just at the beginning of our relationship with AWS. I’m excited to see how technology will continue to evolve the fan experience and the game.”

W-League big winners in new CBA, as greater contract freedom for A-League clubs beckons

A new collective bargaining agreement has been struck between Professional Football Australia and the Australian Professional Leagues.

Equity in high-performance standards in the A-League and W-League, a 32% increase in the W-League salary cap floor and an increase in the A-League salary cap floor are the highlights of the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) struck between Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and the Australian Professional Leagues (APL).

The new five-year deal was described as “ground-breaking” by a joint statement between the two bodies, in an announcement that highlights the newfound confidence in the economic environment for professional football in Australia.

Much of that confidence can be linked to the new five-year broadcast agreement with ViacomCBS and Network 10 and it is no surprise that this new CBA has been deliberately linked in length to the broadcast deal.

PFA Co-Chief Executive Kathryn Gill explained that being able to achieve this agreement was a huge milestone for the professional game in Australia, after such a long period of uncertainty in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the end of the previous broadcasting deal with Fox Sports.

“The players’ vision for the negotiations was economic security and stability for the clubs, the leagues and the players. This agreement is a foundational step towards this objective and our leagues will be stronger as a result,” she said via the joint statement.

“It has been an incredibly challenging time for our game; however, we believe the CBA will provide a platform for our leagues to be re-launched and for a genuine partnership between the clubs and the players to be forged.

“I would like to acknowledge the work of Greg O’Rourke, Danny Townsend, Tracey Scott, Chris Pehlivanis and John Tsatsimas for their efforts and commitment during the negotiations and especially the players who participated so actively throughout.”

PFA President Alex Wilkinson noted the immense sacrifice made by many players to usher the game through the COVID-19 pandemic, which he says helped pave the way for this agreement.

“This generation of players, club owners and staff have been asked to make immense sacrifices to preserve our sport during unprecedented times,” he said.

“As a result of these sacrifices we have been able to take an important step forward and provide greater certainty for the clubs and players and make important progress in areas such as our high-performance environment, player welfare whilst further embedding our commitment to gender equity.”

Under the new CBA, genuine equity in high-performance standards in the A-League and W-League have been entrenched in order to create a “world-class workplace” for all of the country’s footballers.

This CBA will be the first to deliver common standards across higher performance and medical departments across both the W-League and the A-League.

Increases to minimum and maximum player payments are also factored in during the course of the five-year CBA with a particular focus on an increase to the W-League salary floor, providing another massive boost on the back of the recently announced expansion of the competition to also include Central Coast Mariners, Wellington Phoenix and Western United.

There will also be a reformed contracting model that allows for greater capacity in squad investment for clubs, with an allowance for up to two “Designated Player” spots, which will allow clubs to invest between $300,000 and $600,000 in players whose salaries will be excluded from the A-League salary cap.

These “Designated Players” will be in addition to the current exemptions, such as “Marquee Players”.

Furthermore, there will also be greater capacity for clubs to contract youth players with an increase in the cap on scholarship players.

The CBA also provides for guaranteed funding for player welfare and development programs, as well as greater support for the PFA Past Players Program.

APL Managing Director Danny Townsend said the deal was proof that the APL was living up to its promise of greater investment since taking control of Australia’s professional leagues.

“When APL took control of the leagues, we promised it would herald a new era of investment and this agreement shows the progress that has already been made,” he said in a statement.

“This is a clear example of what can be achieved when we work together with a common vision to realise the potential of Australian football.”

APL Leagues Commissioner Greg O’Rourke added the investments would help clubs deliver a much-improved on-field product.

“Players are partners with us in the game and central to its growth. Having all of our partners on-board with the re-imagined future of the game is vital, and this agreement marks an important milestone in our new relationship,” he said.

“There will be immediate improvements across the men’s and women’s leagues, most notably for women’s football, all of which will flow through into improved experiences for players, and ultimately into growing and improving our game.”

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