6 Nations Rugby Gets Machine Learning And VR

6 Nations Rugby Gets Machine Learning And VR

Accenture, the Official Technology Partner of the RBS 6 Nations rugby championship for the sixth year, is bringing machine learning to international rugby. Its latest analytics dashboard will deliver improved player, match and Championship insight, which 20,000 people accessed via Twitter last year. Accenture has also developed an innovative mixed reality application for the Championship, using Virtual Reality (VR), with a twist. The one-person immersive VR experience is sharable, and broadcast as live action for others to watch.

Insights from the dashboard will be fed to the Accenture Analysis Team, made up of former players and coaches. Accenture Analytics applied Design Thinking to create a dashboard experience that users want, not simply a collection of stats.

The latest data visualisation tools will help make the Analysis Team’s Championship commentary more informed and valuable for viewers. There is also a significant new development for this year: because players are not predictable, the dashboard now includes a stochastic layer. This ‘randomness engine’ uses machine learning to improve accuracy and depth of insights.


When VR Goes MR

An experiential innovation has also been added this year: a new cinematic mixed reality (MR) experience. The Accenture Innovation Programme in London used cutting edge technologies from its green screen studio. Blending the physical and digital worlds, one individual’s Virtual Reality (VR) experience is broadcast to anybody watching. The VR user will interact with players on a virtual pitch, seeing team and player-level analytics from the dashboard. Onlookers will see the VR user in the context of the scene they are immersed in on the big screen, so that more people have the opportunity to be part of the virtual action, as it’s happening.

Nick Millman, managing director, Accenture Analytics, part of Accenture Digital, commented, “The RBS 6 Nations needs to deploy innovative technology to match. We’re bringing the latest digital technologies to this year’s Championship to deliver new experiences with people as the focus.” He went on to add, “The innovations we’re making around the RBS 6 Nations are also applicable for businesses. Just as players are unpredictable, so are customers. It’s important for any entity – sporting, business or otherwise – to be agile and innovate constantly.”


A Tale Of Two Nicks

Nick Mallett commented in Accenture’s recent study See Beyond: Exploring digital innovations through the RBS 6 Nations, “Digital technologies are creating incredibly exciting experiences for fans, players and coaches alike. Virtual reality, for example, means fans can see what players see – a completely new perspective on the sport they love. As a sport, rugby’s getting faster all the time. But so is the development of digital technology and the advances we’re seeing are revolutionising how we watch – and take part in – the game.”


The RBS 6 Nations kicks off on February 4.

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