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New Zealand Rugby uses AWS-powered analytics to boost performance

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has selected AWS-powered analytics to gain deeper insights into gameplay in order to improve team performance.

Amazon Partner Network Partner Intela AI and data science company DOT Loves Data partnered to develop the Play in the Grey interactive platform on AWS.

Created with NZR in September 2019, Play in the Grey helps coaches gain insights from game footage to inform their strategies and scout for new talent.

By automating the delivery of near real-time analytics from gameplay video, the platform provides coaches with accurate game analysis which is free of subjective interpretation, according to the company.

Powered by Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Play in the Grey applies machine vision and machine learning algorithms to generate over one million data points about players and event patterns for every minute of video footage.

Intela created the machine vision algorithms to capture location data from the video footage, and DOT Loves Data used statistical modelling to turn the raw data into scalable and repeatable insights for NZR to explore.

By analysing this data, which includes details such as player locations, speeds, proximity, and running paths, coaches gain new insights that help teams gain competitive advantages.

For example, if a team liked to shift the ball to the edges from set piece, push it infield, then kick to the corners, the coaches could devise strategies to counter this.

NZR performance analysis manager high performance Jason Healy says, “Play in the Grey’s capabilities are unlike anything our teams in black have used before. With precise location data for all players throughout an entire game, our coaching team can devise attacking and defensive strategies based on data driven insights.”

AWS managing director in Australia and New Zealand, Paul Migliorini, says, “The cloud is changing the pace at which organisations can access, and then use insights to innovate. New Zealand Rugby is benefitting from Intela AI and DOT Loves Data using AWS technology to deliver meaningful insights to help athletes and teams perform better.”

Intela AI CEO Asa Cox, says, “We benefit from Play in the Grey running on AWS because the platform can easily scale up and down to meet demand at any given time, helping us to minimise our operational costs and meet the timelines teams need for the data to have impact.

“As we look to take our platform global and into other sports like football (known as soccer in the U.S.), we plan to adopt more AWS services to support our effort to accelerate innovation through the use of big data, streaming data, and the Internet of Things.”