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Microsoft Sports Performance Platform Puts Data into Play

At this week’s Hashtag Sports conference in New York City’s Times Square, Microsoft announced the newest project to join the Microsoft Garage Portfolio.

Microsoft Sports Performance Platform is a newly integrated, customized, sports analytics solution that will help both athletes and sports teams make better, faster and more data-driven decisions.

Teams such as the Seattle Reign FCReal SociedadSport Lisboa e Benfica and Cricket Australia are already using Sports Performance Platform’s predictive outcome modeling and analytics capabilities to track and improve player performance.

Microsoft’s goal is to make those technologies accessible to all levels of sport – professional, academy, high school, individual athletes and coaches.
To help gain a competitive edge, teams have spent the past few years digitizing their historical data and improving their data management skills. But a gap still exists between collecting and organizing data and actually seeing and predicting trends and patterns that enable better, faster decision-making.

Built on Power BI, Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Surface devices, Sports Performance Platform helps athletes and teams close that gap by giving them access to advances in cloud computing, data aggregation, machine learning and predictive analytics. Combined, these solutions can transform how they play based on new data-driven decisions made on the sidelines, in the locker room and in the sports performance lab.

A small team (pictured above) led by Steve Fox, Principal Software Engineering Manager of  the Azure Customer Advisory team, saw a need in the industry for predictive analytics and modern machine-learning techniques. “The future of sports is trending towards data dependence – making it actionable will be key,” says Steve Fox. For the past year and a half, the team has been working to advance athlete performance by blending physical and digital feedback into a comprehensive, predictive solution on a reliable and secure platform.

The platform empowers sports scientists to use machine-learning and predictive modeling to uncover insights around athlete readiness, injury prevention, practice design and management, longitudinal player reports, and talent watch.

In addition, teams can leverage Sports Performance Platform to relay key insights to team personnel such as coaches, players, and management to inform decision-making that ultimately leads to better performance. Nick Leman, Head of High Performance for Reign FC, is able to review practice and game data in one centralized view within the platform. Leman can use this data to give informed recommendations to the coaching staff on how much rest a player may need to recover or how hard to train players during practice.

The Seattle Reign FCan American professional women’s soccer team that plays in the National Women’s Soccer League,  is one of the first teams to use Sports Performance Platform. Laura Harvey, head coach for the team, and Nick Leman, director of high performance, use GPS data from Catapult and the Fit For 90 monitoring platform to track data about factors such as a player’s heart rate, speed, acceleration and deceleration. The Sports Performance Platform aggregates data from these disparate sources into one centralized view.

At the Hashtag Sports kick-off, Seattle’s POP announced its designation as an Implementation Partner. In addition to Reign FC, POP is beginning work with it second sports team, one of the leading club’s in the English Premier League.

“POP has been an instrumental partner from the beginning with the Sports Performance Platform project,” said Steve Fox. “Not only were they engaged in designing our Surface App for coaches, but they’re a true champion of enabling sports teams to take their games to the next level.

“We make a lasting impact on our clients’ businesses every day through data-driven insights,” said Erin West, GVP, Client Partner at POP. “The opportunity to do the same for sports teams is no different, which is why we partnered with Microsoft to tackle the sports vertical.”

Interested in testing the platform with your team? Apply online. [24×7]