Alibaba Cloud digitalizes sports events with more AI solutions

Cloud technologies revolutionize sports entertainment bringing new experiences to fans, organizers and broadcasters

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HANGZHOU, China — During Apsara Conference 2020, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, unveiled a series of artificial intelligence (AI) powered solutions which are set to transform and digitalize the way sports entertainment was traditionally organized, broadcasted and consumed.

The solutions are designed to bring spectators closer to the events’ center stage for more personalized and interactive engagement, while helping organizers and broadcasters operate more efficiently, effectively and securely.

The applications of AI in sports have become increasingly common over the past few years. As an early adopter of technological trends, the UAE has welcomed innovative solutions to the sports industry.

Recently, the Dubai Sports Council held the Dubai Artificial Intelligence in Sports (DAIS) Conference and Exhibition, where top decision-makers from the world of sports and leading names from the world of AI discussed the scope of AI’s ability to enhance every facet of the global sports industry.

Event organizers are set to benefit considerably from Alibaba Cloud’s Event Simulation Services (ESS). Running on cloud and powered by elastic compute, ESS can help organizers plan the layout of indoor venues virtually, optimizing the position of equipment and facilities, without having to move or commission a single piece of physical kit.

With the ability to create a digital twin, ESS negates the time, expense and risk of physical tests and run-throughs, providing a comprehensive digital examination of a venue for all key stakeholders.

When it comes to event broadcasting planning, ESS enables broadcasters to simulate and test different camera positions before installing camera tracks, thereby offering audiences the best point of view. Furthermore, ESS provides organizers with a wealth of insights for post-event analysis for more effective future planning.

For large-scale events, crowd management and access control could be time-consuming and cumbersome to coordinate. The typical paper-based accreditation system is not effective enough, especially at a time when venue coordinators are working hard to maintain social distancing measures.

Alibaba Cloud has developed a Digital Badge System, which embeds access control and essential event information with digital accreditation. Developed to be simple to use, the digital badge system negates the need to print a paper ticket, not only being more environmentally friendly, but also reducing the risk of access pass counterfeiting.

When using the digital badge, cards that carry important information such as maps, event times and organizer contact details, can be issued within seconds and on demand, removing the inventory problems often associated with paper-based systems. Card holders can also receive card expiration notices and other important notifications in real-time. In addition, event organizers have the option to embed health advisory information in the event of COVID-19 outbreaks.

Broadcasters and journalists are imperative in bringing the joy and excitement of sports stories to fans around the world. To improve their experience when attending press conferences, Alibaba Cloud has launched Press Conference on Cloud to facilitate virtual media briefings using proven live and on-demand streaming technologies.

The solution broadens the reach and increases efficiency for journalists, who do not need to be physically present in order to join press conferences, saving them valuable time in crafting news stories, as well as the hassles of traveling to different venues in gigantic sports parks. Furthermore, with Press Conference on Cloud, reporters may even choose to attend more than one briefing happening in different locations at the same time to maximize their efficiency and productivity.

To bring fans closer to sports events, Alibaba Cloud also launched Fan Video Hub to enable sports fans from all over the world to support their favorite teams and athletes more personally, regardless of their location.

The AI-powered technology can act as an efficient aggregator, which is able to collect and filter real-time videos uploaded by fans from all over the world to a variety of social network platforms, before broadcasting them onto designated online platforms, or in venues where the event being enjoyed is going on.

Organizers of sports events can initiate special projects, encouraging fans to create motivating and personalized videos that will eventually be displayed in sports stadiums.

“As a global leading cloud service provider, we are excited to see our mature technology innovations to be used to support the digital transformation of some of the largest international sports events,” said Selina Yuan, president of International Business, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.

“For example, with Alibaba Cloud’s trusted infrastructure and services, we are able to work with stadiums and event managers to create even more thrilling and immersive experiences for fans, wherever they’re based.

“More importantly, health and safety has to be front of mind at all venues and events, and our solutions help event organizers deliver on their post-pandemic responsibilities through reduced and unnecessary travel.

“We want to maximize the thrill of sporting achievements, while enabling event organizers to work safely and even more efficiently with fans and global broadcasters.”

Alibaba Cloud is committed to digitalizing sports events through helping broadcasters revolutionalize the experience. In September 2018, together with Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), Alibaba Cloud launched OBS cloud, which was developed to transform the process for bringing the Olympic Games to viewers. Alibaba Cloud is also the official cloud services partner of the International Olympic Committee. — SG


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