How Melbourne’s Applied Innovation Exchange prototyped an app for the Rugby7s to enhance the fan experience

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With the announcement of Capgemini’s partnership with World Rugby, we were asked to showcase our applied innovation capability in a corporate box at the Sydney 7s tournament. Key clients were invited along, so we were under pressure to impress.

The Challenge

“Create a proof of concept that improves the fan experience at the Rugby 7s, whilst showcasing Capgemini’s Applied Innovation capability.”

The brief we were given instructed us to:

  1. Wow our clients
  2. Showcase the new AIE capability in Australia
  3. Enhance the fan experience with the use of innovative emerging technology

We also wanted to use this opportunity to showcase the wider AIE network and demonstrate how we can effectively work together. We decided to design a solution which could be passed on to the other AIEs so that they could develop the project further, and potentially build something to demo at other tournaments later in the year.

Our Approach

2 weeks and a small team, let’s go!

Having only 2 weeks to produce something, we assembled a small team and conducted an accelerated design sprint.

We spent the first day of the project exploring the current landscape of innovation in a variety of different sports. American Football is way ahead of other field based sports, already using emerging tech to pull in huge amounts of biometric and performance data from players. The coaches use this data to predict which players might be at risk of injury.

After speaking to a few rugby fans, we realised that this level of data – and the insights that can be generated from it – may be of interest to avid rugby fans. We also discovered that Rugby 7s players are not as well-known as other rugby leagues, so general player data pulled from the World Rugby website could also prove useful.

Next, we organised an ideation session with colleagues and fans of the sport.

Our Solution

Exploring the art of the possible

Lots of awesome ideas came out of the session. We knew we needed to narrow them down fast, so we took the best and most viable, produced a proof of concept idea and set about building a prototype that explores:

  • Tracking and visualising player geo-locations on the field and utilising AI to determine team tactics
  • Deep-diving into player data, including all-time and game-play stats, overlaid with real-time bio-metric performance data
  • Utilising cameras worn by players to provide a live player perspective view of the field.
  • Employing facial recognition technology to identify other players in view from the player-perspective footage to overlay head-to-head player stats.

With such limited time to build and test all these features, we decided to create static screens for most of the app, and focus on building out the facial recognition part of the

POC. We used historical data pulled from the World Rugby website for the static screens. We also added theoretical data to demonstrate the use of biometric data and ref-cam footage to demonstrate what a player-cam might look like.

To test the facial recognition concept, we used dlib‘s state-of-the-art face recognition, built with deep learning.

The Outcome

“The ability to be more involved in Rugby 7s and gain extra interest in players and teams is really impressive”- Capgemini Client

To test the desirability of the app we showcased the prototype at the Capgemini corporate box Sydney 7s tournament and conducted a survey with guests at the Capgemini Box at the Sydney 7s. The feedback received was overwhelmingly positive to the overall ideas, with some users saying that they “Definitely would use both at the game and if watching the game on TV. This dovetails in with other techs now being used especially in cricket”. However, 1 or 2 other users commented that it may not be suitable for some fans, as it distracts them away from the live game. This is something to consider going forward.

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Capgemini Proud Global Innovation Partner for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

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