ReSpo.Vision: AI and AR/VR that revolutionises data tracking

ReSpo.Vision is an AI & Computer Vision-based optical tracking system which automatically collects player skeletal tracking data from any single camera recording of a sporting event.

Using immersive 3D visuals, the system allows the audience to unlock performance data and insights that weren’t before available like tactical or scouting insights with AR/VR.

Respo.Vision – a Polish-based start-up founded in early 2020 started by four founders – Pawel Osterreicher, Mateusz Szala, Wojciech Rosiński, and Łukasz Grad.

These four individuals have had combined experiences in data science, consulting and machine learning engineering, and believe AI can unlock a wealth of possibilities by capturing previously uncapturable player tracking data.

The company’s mission is to bring a new depth of analytics to sports using Computer Vision.

The product merges the immersive AR/VR world with the deep analytical environment that sports is, and the company specifically specialises in football.

They leverage bleeding-edge deep learning algorithms to automatically generate 3D skeletal tracking data from sporting events and analyse it with an unprecedented level of insight.

The technology system detects 3D positions of the ball and 50+ body parts of every player, in every video frame, using a single-camera video input (which can be any recording, present or past, a TV broadcast, or a training session recording). Fully automatically, for any game, with accuracy measured in centimetres, and without any wearable sensors or expensive pre-installed cameras.

The company are scaling up their clientele (among them clubs, leagues, federations, media, or sports data companies) and are doing so by offering an unmatched depth of knowledge in a scalable, and cost-effective way.

ReSpo.Vision Head of Product Mateusz Dłużniewski presenting at the GSIC powered by Microsoft Summit APAC in Singapore.

The technology is split into two different products: Data & Stats as well as Visuals which allow the audience a chance to choose how they want to experience the game.

This is how each work:

Data and Stats

– 2D & 3D Tracking data: Uses coordinates of players’ body parts & the ball generated from any match recording, even TV broadcasts with the option to view the game in either 2D or 3D.

– Physical data: Tracks accurate physical measurements, including speed, acceleration, body orientation, or motion types

– Game reports: 3D tracking-derived analytical summary of any game. Revealing unique metrics, including player zones of control, Team Compactness, Open Passing Lanes, Pressing performance, and more – all to power better tactical decisions

Visuals

3D Digital twin of football: Recreate any real-life game in a realistic, VR-ready 3D environment with unlimited camera perspectives and full immersion.

Matchday in the metaverse: Open the gates to the virtual stadium and use VR technology to teleport fans directly into the heart of the action for an incredible immersive experience.

Data visualisations & AR Add-Ons: Enhance the fan experience or aid the player coaching process with visualized stats & insights (e.g. tactical view, pitch control overlay).

ReSpo.Vision Body Keypoints Detection.

How this technology can be used in Australia

Specifically in Australia, technology like this is severely underutilised at the top level and will be part of football in the near future, where Australia can get ahead of other Asian countries in this field.

An example to look upon is Melbourne Knights and their recent partnership with advanced data tracking system ProTrainUp who aren’t currently connected to any other club in the country.

More clubs in the country should follow in these footsteps and invest in immersive and analytical systems that give them a deeper understanding of the game, where the top European clubs first flagged as a big importance on improving on the pitch.

The founders in a recent interview with SportsPro also suggested that the system can be used by broadcast media companies to give their audience an enhanced viewing experience by allowing them to view advanced metrics, a feature that Australian football also lacks on its A-League broadcasts.

The company is truly revolutionising the AI sports realm with fans, clubs and the media being the target audience for this technology to shape the way we view and analyse football.

Respondology: Blocking the negative social media noise

From what started out as a simple solution to a tirade of hate messages against sporting icon Serena Williams during the 2019 US Open, Respondology’s software has now become inherent across many business and sporting sectors.

After noticing the issue, the idea sparked behind Respondology’s main drive that is to eradicate online hate. They focused mainly on businesses as it erased unnecessary online bullying that was hindering the company’s success. Respondology provides a technology that is crucial for any social media presence today where cruel and unwanted messages are directed towards many up and coming sporting companies without any repercussions – it allows all these gruelling comments to be filtered out as soon as it pops up.

The technology uses a moderation system in which detection of any harmful content aimed at minority communities within the team or sports business are immediately muted, hence bettering the safety of the business as a whole. 

The company focuses on athletes, influencers, celebrities and brands under varying sectors to clear hate comments in order to promote a kinder social environment for both the influencer and their audience. A main facet of the company are the moderators as before the technology that sparks the filtration system, they evaluate the messages that choose which comments should be hidden. This halts the reliance on artificial intelligence as the differentiation between supportive messages and unhelpful ones are more clear with the presence of a moderator. In addition, the software stems across all social media platforms and matches accordingly with the timing of posts as well as real time analytics of all comments coming in with every new post. 

The main question underlying this software is why there is a demand for it and that is to understand the power of comments on the sporting community such as the players, teams or coaches. Many teams are victims of a slew of online attacks whether it be during a game loss or from rival supporters. This not only harbours a negative space within the online communities but could pose threats to the security to all the actors involved in these spaces. Safety within these communities online are a priority as it reflects that of the safety in real life during actual matches and how they interact socially. Technology such as Respondology acts as a protection against harmful comments that could affect the brand’s character.  

If these comments were to go unnoticed and left unmoderated, it could lead to a negative stance on the brand’s identity. Especially, in regards to comments that are racist, homophobic or sexist; these are simply not situations brands would want to be associated with. Furthermore, they would not want to be connected with ignoring these spiteful messaging as well. From a moral standpoint, Respondology is doing its part to protect the perception of a plethora of sporting clubs but also preventing the normalisation of a negative space within the supporters of these teams that can only occur if derogatory comments are stopped immediately as they appear. It does not even allow for these hateful activities to prosper. 

In terms of business, many brands could lose sponsorship opportunities due to connections with abusive online spaces. As a result, the brand’s revenue will be at stake. Additionally, when comments go unchecked, it perpetuates spam comments which could lead to illegal streaming and ticket scamming sites. These are all issues that are simply flushing money down the drain for most brands. However, by taking precautionary measures, with the likes of Respondology lessens the likelihood of burning money through unlikely means such as online comments. 

Evidently, the use of Respondology covers all the bases that comes with having an online presence; the barrage of hate and toxicity. With this slowly being stopped by this newfound technology, many businesses will continue to thrive without unnecessary harm to their business identity or their company revenue as a whole.

Check out Respondology’s features in full here: https://respondology.com/

A-League clubs to be given only $530k in funding for next season

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) have confirmed the annual grants distributed to A-League clubs will be slashed close to 75 per cent for the upcoming 2024/25 season.

After an APL board meeting, clubs were informed that next year’s distribution would total to just $530,000, from $2 million the season before.

The A-League Men minimum spending floor is $2.25 million with a salary cap limit of $2.6 million.

For wealthier clubs such as Melbourne City, they would be able to cover the remaining costs to reach the minimum spending floor. However, this would leave smaller clubs in the A-League in a much more complex financial position.

Back in 2018, before separating from Football Australia, the annual club distribution was around $3.6 million.

APL Chair Stephen Conroy released a statement concerning the significant financial cuts.

“The decision, which has been under discussion with league and Board representatives over the past few months, aligns with the Board’s commercial review of the A-Leagues since the original three-year strategy came to an end,” Conroy said via the A-Leagues website.

“We are committed to right-sizing the A-Leagues which is why we’ve been focused on cutting costs across the leagues, growing our core football product and uniting the football pyramid to support the growth of our game.

“The Board, the Leagues and the Clubs are committed to continuing to deliver the best football possible. We have our eye firmly on the future. Our core metrics are positive, with three years of growth, which will position the league for revenue growth in the future.”

These recent deductions raise many questions about how the APL and A-Leagues ended up in this financial conundrum and where has their money gone over the last couple of years?

One of the main reasons the APL was forced to make these financial cuts was due to overspending on its website, KEEPUP.

Launched in 2021 during the peak of COVID, the former APL CEO Danny Townsend said the cost to set up the league’s digital content production arm was estimated to be around $30 million. However, the site was not popular with the fans who criticised the app and website for not solely focusing on Australian football.

Despite showing potential, the APL went overboard very early and now has to deal with the consequences of it.

Another key event that has contributed to the recent financial issues dates back to December 2022, where the league signed a controversial deal with Destination NSW to host the A-Leagues Grand Finals in Sydney regardless of which teams qualified. The deal – which was worth an estimated eight-figure sum – received a lot of backlash from fans leading to protests such as the infamous pitch invasion during the Melbourne Derby.

Even former Adelaide United player and Socceroo Craig Goodwin, who was involved in the promotional video for Destination NSW and the A-League Grand Finals, posted a tweet saying he did not support the partnership. However, the league eventually turned their back on the deal after just one season.

The A-Leagues has also struggled to gain revenue from its current TV-rights deal with Paramount+ and Network 10 due to the numerous targets that the A-Leagues must meet to guarantee funding from their broadcast partner. The initial deal which was signed before the 2021/22 A-Leagues season was worth $200 million over five years.

After one season these goals were not met, it led to the Destination NSW deal. Also the decrease in subscribers due to issues with Paramount+, such as the inability to pause and rewind as well as significant streaming issues, combined with the lack of popularity and publicity of the league resulted in the APL only taking $5 million from the deal last season.

With broadcasting deals being such an integral aspect of generating income in the footballing world, the fact the APL only received such a small sum from a deal where they could have received much more is a big reason for their financial difficulties.

Despite the APL chair Stephen Conroy claiming the reductions in central distribution has come as no shock to clubs, this is a worrying time for the A-Leagues. The APL will need to find quick and responsible solutions to combat their financial difficulties if they want the leagues to continue to be operational and have some sort of future to expand and grow.

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