3D, Analytics & AI: How Infosys enhanced fan experience at the French Open

Guest Column: Anirudh Kalia, Global Practice Head - Media at Firstsource, lauds the Indian tech giant for its innovation at the tournament and hopes that BCCI is taking notes

e4m by Anirudh Kalia
Published: Jun 14, 2021 9:15 AM  | 3 min read
anirudh kalia

The sweat on my forehead is barely wiped dry after the epic SF clash between 13 times French Open champion, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, but in no time the final of the French Open 2021 is upon us today. For many fans, the 2021 French Open Semi-Final in many ways was the final. No disrespect to Stephanos Tsitsipas here!

However, before you settle down on the couch today at 2pm GMT / 9am ET / 6:30pm IST, spare a thought for the proud moment this will be for an Indian tech company - Infosys. Over the last few years, Sport has become far larger outside the stadium than just inside it. Broadcast and Digital streaming rights are bid in billions of dollars as sport is now the last man standing in aggregating fragmenting and low attention audiences globally. Ditto for French Open which beams 'Live' to 177 networks across 210+ countries with an estimated 145+ mn people tuning in globally. Delivering a great experience to this 145mn is the key to growing the sport, drawing viewership revenues and yes, those big bucks from global brands on sponsorship.

That is where the effort by an Indian tech company is so noteworthy as it has deployed technology that brings fans closer to the action in the throes of the pandemic. Leveraging cloud application, 3D and real-time Analytics, the experience is far superior to any in present-day Sports coverage across sports. Sports and Gaming have now converged into a composite experience and the Rolland Garros Official app exactly does that seamlessly. Some highlights:

RG Fantasy Gaming Zone: is the fantasy zone where you could select players, test your skills and challenge your friends to a duel. Plus take the RG Quiz too.

3D Museum: Fans will be able to visit the 3D Virtual Art Museum for an immersive experience and see the heritage assets digitized from 1980 onwards. Akin to a real visit.

Switch to 'Spectator' mode: this is my fav. To make sure you are hooked whether you're a fan or a spectator, one could switch to the 'Spectator' mode if on way to the stadium - check your ticket, get all notifs and also order food. The eyeballs are retained on the app across multiple roles - fan, spectator or gamer.

Infosys has also developed an 'AI-Assisted Journalism' suite that tags clips, resizes 'em, appends captions and shares with journalists for posting on social media at lightspeeds. Just so you know, the appetite for 'Key Moments', 'Highlights' and 'Courtside Action' is a highly time-sensitive piece that cannot wait in 'Live' sport. These seemingly smaller assets are now intensely negotiated in many sports as human attention spans shorten and appetite for shorter action bytes grows.

In a game where 'Serves' are routinely shot out at 180+ km/hr (115mph), the speed of sensors and ingestion systems is paramount. The raw data generated has to move to an AI-powered analytics engine in real-time and make sense to you and me on the screen. This year Infy introduced an AI-powered 'Natural Language' search capability where a player can also analyze their game by just asking a question to the AI tool! So no lag, no coach from the courtside.

While Infy wins the sports fans across the world, one wonders why India, the capital of Cricket has not initiated such innovation in augmenting the crazy Indian fan experience. BCCI is the richest board in the cricketing world and is neither short on funds nor on fans. I Hope BCCI is listening! Anyway, Cricket can wait today. Its time for some Tennis.

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