AISpotter – Re-energising Inline Hockey

AISpotter – Re-energising Inline Hockey

We are happy to share how AISpotter is supporting British Inline Skater Hockey Association on their way towards the European Championships in November this year. 

Inline Hockey History

British Inline Skater Hockey was born on the streets of the inner cities in the UK and in the 1980’s was formerly known as ‘Street Hockey’. Many car parks and recreational areas would be filled with hockey players on skates who recreated their own NHL matches. 

The sport swiftly evolved, leagues were formed from teams off the streets and the Street Hockey National Championships was soon featured on a weekly tv show, this was back when the UK only had 5 tv channels, so the sport drew quite an audience! As inline skates grew in popularity to the expense of the quad skate then so did the sport of Street Hockey and it become known as Inline Skater Hockey.

AISpotter supporting GB Inline Hockey

The British Inline Skater Hockey Association (BISHA) has been in existence for over 4 decades and recently the appetite for the sport has unfortunately dipped. A new leadership of BISHA formed last year is exploring new methods to re-energise the membership and attract new people to the sport – this is no different to the change the sport embraced in the 90’s to convert from quads to inline skates to retain members. Some may say the change in the sport is too late, but the outlook of the new leadership is that action is being taken 2 years before the sport collapses!

Supported by technology services

Technology in sport is one of the areas BISHA are promoting and for the last two years BISHA Team GB have adopted two tools to support their coaches, these are AISpotter & Hockey Coach Vision. The British Coaches have loaded match video content to AISpotter and tagged a variety of plays: Break Outs, Face Off Routines, Offensive/Defensive Plays etc.

Tom Sexton BISHA

As a player and a marketer, it's extremely refreshing to see a product such as yours entering our sport at a very exciting time for us. I have no doubt that the support from AISpotter will really help solidify the foundations of our growth strategies, not only on the rink, but to also help grow the sport as a whole.

Once tagged the passages of play are quickly identifiable and packaged into a presentation, which is then played back at our Team GB Camps where classroom sessions are then held to share insights. Such insights are then valuable for team motivation, injury prevention, improved performance and above all a competitive advantage. We then use the Hockey Coaching Vision tool to design drills and plays to tackle the insights surfaced.

Currently Sports Technology in Britain has some critics largely due to the management and pace of adoption of VAR in football – although it is the hybrid of human and machine causing the issues. As the technology advances and the machine learns then we will soon be in a position where we have instant and accurate decisions in football and people will have more faith. 

AISpotter is no different and is in a similar transition period, nevertheless it is about adoption and using the tool where it can add value in is current format and then partnering and growing your sport at the same rate as the technology. Certainly BISHA Team GB and the use of AISpotter does not guarantee instant success, but we are now certainly more informed and we are gaining those extra percentages out of our performance as we head into the European Championships in November 2021.

AISpotter small logo

About AISpotter

AISpotter enables professionals to turn massive amounts of recorded and streamed video into usable and shareable information that helps them make better decisions, delight fans, and even predict the future.

The technology pinpoints the most important parts of any recorded and even multiple simultaneous live-streamed videos, from any camera, with any setup, and makes production-ready highlights available instantly.

AISpotter was founded in 2018 when a university vision AI project was first used to help sports teams quickly get the best information from game videos. Now the company helps production people, 24/7 live streams, coaches, and even security firms across Europe to process video into usable knowledge and insights.

Contact me for further information: Anri Kivimäki

The Secret to be a Champion – Insightful Feedback

Team ThurenGruppen

The Secret to be a Champion - Insightful Feedback

We are delighted, we have been able to be part of success of the Team ThorenGruppen Innebandy. Team that sensationally won the Swedish championship 2021 in women’s floorball during their very first season in SSL Dam league.

This is a great example how a combination of our comprehensive data- (MyCoazh) and video- (AISpotter) analysis is assisting coaches and players in achieving their ultimate dreams and goals.

Insightful feedback (combination of statistics, analytics, video clips and feedback conversations) was the key to the coaches to help their players perform the best when it was needed the most –Super Final – where everything was decided in just one game.

Team ThurenGruppen
Photo: Tomas Brandt Wangel

Head coach of Team ThorenGruppen, Christoffer Suominen is commented.

“We got opponent scouting reports before our playoffs. And during the games we got live statistics during the intermissions. I do have to say, that this whole thing has changed the way I think of coaching. This is unique combination of insightful tactical, team level and player level feedback that really made the difference!”

“I’m especially amazed how accurately game analysis predicted both the final scores of the games and what opponent as a team and even individual players were trying! After we got this compact feedback package, we were able to concentrate more on coaching. Also, this package confirmed, that our own observations in opponent scouting covered the right topics. We got the numbers and verified it.”

“So instead of watching hours and hours of videos and still not being sure did we concentrate on the relevant points, we knew exactly where to put focus – in order to win the crucial games.”

Christoffer Suominen
Photo: Tomas Brandt Wangel

The advantage of our service is unique combination of tactical game analysis what is linked with evaluation of both team and even player level performance. The second key component is video analysis, what automatically creates the desired video clips from the game.

Our service gives the right explanation why the game ended as it did in 85% of all games. And as we can explain why the games are ending the way they did, we can predict the end result before the game and justify the prediction during the game.

We have now been assisting floorball teams that have won two World Championships, Champions Cup, two Swedish championships, six Finnish Junior League gold medals and many other medals and awards.

Floorball players who have received MyCoazh feedback have been selected as world’s best players, as MVP at last World Championship tournament and SSL Dam league’s best players.

We can provide even more advanced service what is a combination of tracking data, event data and video analysis. 

If you want to be  the next champion, get in contact with us! We will figure out, how we can help you with our advanced analytics services.

AISpotter small logo

About AISpotter

AISpotter enables professionals to turn massive amounts of recorded and streamed video into usable and shareable information that helps them make better decisions, delight fans, and even predict the future.

The technology pinpoints the most important parts of any recorded and even multiple simultaneous live-streamed videos, from any camera, with any setup, and makes production-ready highlights available instantly.

AISpotter was founded in 2018 when a university vision AI project was first used to help sports teams quickly get the best information from game videos. Now the company helps production people, 24/7 live streams, coaches, and even security firms across Europe to process video into usable knowledge and insights.

Contact me for further information: Anri Kivimäki

The story of AISpotter

AISpotter story

The story of AISpotter

Start-up from Finland that brings advanced video analysis to streaming companies and sports teams of any level

An interview with Anri Kivimäki (CEO), Sami Huttunen (CTO), and Timo Rousti (Sales) of AISpotter

Could you please introduce yourselves?

Anri: I’m the CEO of AISpotter.

I have extensive background in Business and Research Development and Funding. Previously I worked for the Finnish national funding agency, private organizations, and the University of Oulu. In 2000 I was participating in setting up a start-up in telecommunications in Germany. Before AISpotter, I completed my PhD studies in Information Processing Science at the University of Oulu. 

When I’m not at work, I spend time with my family, enjoy doing winter sports, and playing padel and tennis. 

Anri Kivimäki, AISpotter
Anri Kivimäki @ Polar Bear Pitching 2019
SaMi Huttunen
Sami Huttunen

Sami: I’m a CTO of AISpotter. 

I did my university studies at the University of Oulu. During my Master’s degree studies, I was focusing on Computer Science. The PhD thesis I defended in 2011 was about Intelligent Systems and Computer Vision. In total, I spent 15 years at the university, so I have a strong academic background.

In my free-time, I play floorball and football. In winter, I enjoy cross-country skiing. In the summertime, I like roller skating. 

Timo:  Here at AISpotter I work in Sales.

My previous work experience was in corporate IT, account and client management. A few years back, I studied robotics. Before I joined AISpotter, I had completed several university courses in Sales and Marketing. My experience in coaching, mainly floorball but also football of the local women’s team in Oulu, has been a great plus, as AISpotter does video analytics for sports teams. 

I like doing forest work like chopping wood, mountain biking, and photography.

Timo Rousti
Timo Rousti

How was AISpotter created?

Sami: In 2016 I was participating in a project, which aimed to find out how to utilize computer vision technology in team sports. As I have a strong technical background, in the project I was focusing on the development of the service and its demonstration to the audience. Through common friends I got to know Anri. She joined the project and was the one taking care of the business side of it. She did market research, analysed potential competitors, etc. 

Sami Huttunen
Sami @ TechCruch 2017

Anri: I conducted the market research, and it was clear that there was indeed a need for automated video analysis in sports. The business idea was so successful that we got an opportunity to present it at the TechCrunch Battlefield in Berlin in 2017. 

Now in 2020 we can say that AISpotter is one of the 2 Finnish companies that has had a chance to present their ideas at the Main stage of the Battlefield. 

In spring 2017 Sami and I created a name for our company – AISpotter. We wanted the name to tell what the company was about. AI stands for artificial intelligence; our services are based on AI. Spotter describes what we do – spot key events in videos.

How was the company evolving after that?

Anri: Since the very beginning Sami and I were working in a small office, which was in one of the buildings of the University of Oulu. We were working hard trying to further advance the technology and grow our business. 

Soon we realized that we needed somebody who could take care of sales. Through common friends, we got to know Timo. He had a different expertise than Sami and I, so he was a great addition to the team. Timo officially joined AISpotter in summer 2018. 

During that time we also received our first funding to further develop and grow our company.

The office at the University of Oulu was getting too small for the three of us. For that reason in December 2018 we moved to our current location – an office in the centre of Oulu.

JBear and Anri Kivimäki
JBear and Anri in Leverkusen 2018

What makes AISpotter unique?

Sami: Machine Vision Group at the University of Oulu has conducted research work on computer vision over the period of 30 years. Based on that knowledge, I had tools to develop a unique technology. Having the technology is not enough, a real challenge is to make it possible for others to benefit from it. For me, being part of AISpotter is a great opportunity to further develop a business application out of my work. 

Timo: At AISpotter we run automated video analysis without our clients having to install any applications. Our AI models make it possible for streaming companies to scale their streaming production capabilities using their current resources.

As for sports video analytics, other companies are dependent on certain camera setups or metadata and we aren’t. Service is amazingly fast, and that’s especially valuable when running post analysis. Usually companies provide results 24 hours after the match in the best-case scenario. We can analyse for example an entire football game in less than an hour. 

Thanks to automation of the processes, AISpotter offers advanced video analysis to sports clubs and teams of any level. So, we make it possible for non-top tier football teams to gain great insights into their performances, training processes, and competition.

Anri: In 2018 we worked with Oulun Kärpät, a professional ice hockey team based in Oulu, in the semi-finals. Our task was to conduct analysis of the Power plays from 8 opponent matches. The task could not be completed manually in 2 full days, we did it in 15 minutes. That was one of the first real-life cases when we again saw that the technology had a great potential. The ice hockey team was really impressed by the accuracy and the speed of the analysis. 

What challenges have you faced? What have you learnt on the way?

Anri: We’ve learnt that the concept of AI is not entirely clear to everyone. The development stage in AI is long, it requires substantial amounts of time and resources, – a lot more if we compare it to creating an app or software coding. However, once the cycle is running, certain processes are automated, AI business becomes very profitable. 

Another thing we learnt is that in Finland streaming and sports businesses are generally smaller if we compare it to other European countries. 

Timo: Indeed. In other European countries there is a lot more business around sports compared to Finland.  

Anri: Since the early stage of business, it has been quite challenging to enter foreign markets, i.e. look for potential clients, build relations outside Finland.

When AISpotter was created, our focus was on sports analytics. This year has been quite challenging because most sports matches had to be cancelled. Because of that we had to look for new business opportunities. Sports analytics is still our main product, but we’ve expanded our services to the streaming side, as there is also a need for automated video analysis. 

What are the current goals that the company is focused on?

Sami: From the tech side, the goal is development and further advancement of the technology. There are always things that need to be done. Possibilities for development are endless. So, we focus on the customers’ needs, and then we figure out how to develop a product that can make lives easier. Our customers don’t need to worry about the technology behind the service – we take care of that. As their needs change, we change too.

Timo: From the sales and marketing perspective, our goal is to increase awareness and build new business connections. In the beginning some people wondered, how could people living so far north amongst polar bears know about video analytics in football? [Oulu is only 220km away from the Arctic Circle].

What are your plans for growth? Where do you see this company in the next few years?

Anri Kivimäki
Anri in Stockholm 2019

Anri: We all know that now people enjoy watching short videos more and more. The need for automated video analysis is increasing in many sectors. So, our plan is to help other companies efficiently produce high-quality video content for their customers. 

Our ultimate goal is to become the go-to partner and a strong player on the market of automated video analysis. We want to further grow our company and help our customers from all over the world achieve greater results with the help of AI. 

Sami: As CTO, in the future we want to be able to analyse any video any time. 

What do you think about AI, its potential?

Sami: AI is a great tool. I think in the coming years people will be able to better understand what AI is, how it can benefit everyone, and what potential it has.  

Anri: The services we offer are based on our own AI models. The purpose is to release manual work with AI. In streaming for example, we automatically analyse videos and prepare short video clips. That enables producers to focus on creating better content for their viewers instead of manually analysing video material. 

Now we all are at the very beginning of the AI era. As the years will pass, we’ll be able to see how to utilize AI more and reach its full potential. 

AISpotter small logo

About AISpotter

AISpotter is a cloud-based video analysis and intelligent highlight production service. It uses its own AI models to analyse video content from any camera, locate desired events, generate intelligent highlights, and combine them with data streams, statistics, and sensor data. 

The technology enables streaming companies and sports clubs to scale up their video production capabilities using the existing resources. AISpotter can analyse large numbers of simultaneous matches saving hours of production time. It automatically generates highlights for corner kicks, goals, and other game events. 

Contact me for further information: Anri Kivimäki

It’s all about controlling space!

Voronoi Diagram

It’s all about controlling space!

AISpotter is now offering a modern tool to analyze matches – Voronoi diagram. Coaches get effective visualization of numerical data, and, as a result, get great insights into own and the opponent’s defensive and attacking strategies.

Some might think that football is about controlling the ball. Although individual player skills are important, creating and controlling space in football are fundamental and quite difficult to measure. This is especially true, when evaluating Defenders and Attackers. While positioning is a vital skill for a defender, attackers need to create space. The key skill at the team level is how well each player uses space.

Realizing the importance of the players’ accurate positioning and clever use of space, AISpotter is now offering an automated method for measuring space, called a Voronoi diagram. By using tracking data from football matches, AISpotter can create Voronoi diagrams for every point in time for every game. The diagram divides the space into zones, i.e. areas of the pitch the football player controls (where he/she would get to first). As the player moves, the diagram changes.

Voronoi diagram

Voronoi diagram is a modern way to analyze matches. It helps coaches to see how well the players use space, find new spaces in which to attack, and identify areas in defense that the team leaves open. It might be the most comprehensive way to analyze the defensive and attacking strategies.

AISpotter efficiently utilizes the position measurements from any sensor based systems e.g. Polar Team Pro to generate Voronoi diagrams. Voronoi diagram is no longer accessible only to the top football leagues, AISpotter enables  clubs and teams of any level to get greater insights into their performances, training processes, and competition.

While Voronoi diagram is a new valuable addition, AISpotter continues to provide tactical and performance analyses on the team and individual player levels, as well as video clips and 2D football animations.

About AISpotter

AISpotter is a cloud-based video analysis and intelligent highlight production service. It uses its own AI models to analyse video content from any camera, locate desired events, generate intelligent highlights, and combine them with data streams, statistics, and sensor data. 

The technology enables streaming companies and sports clubs to scale up their video production capabilities using the existing resources. AISpotter can analyse large numbers of simultaneous matches saving hours of production time. It automatically generates highlights for corner kicks, goals, and other game events. 

Contact me for further information: Anri Kivimäki