NHL PUCK AND PLAYER TRACKING

PRESENTATION TO MLS

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CHANGING THE GAME

SMT serves the sports industry with innovative, award-winning technology for events, broadcasts and livestreams with a focus on real-time data collection, integration and visualization. With more than three decades of developing best-in-class solutions, SMT is an unsurpassed leader in sports technology.

37

YEARS

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60

SPORTS

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70

PATENTS

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20K

ANNUAL EVENTS

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220

CLIENTS

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36

EMMY AWARDS

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THE OASIS PLATFORM

OASIS Platform Overview

SMT’s powerful organizing philosophy called OASIS (Organization of Asynchronous Sports Information Subsystems) is the basis upon which the OASIS Platform data management and OPTICS (Optimal PPT Television Integration and Control Solution) systems were built. ​

 

OASIS as an organizing philosophy views the data landscape of a sports league in three (3) layers: ​​

 

Level 0    All subsystems that create data or video

 

Level 1    The central hub that absorbs, collates, synchronizes, organizes, expands, and distributes all

                 Level 1 data via push and query APIs

 

Level 2    All subsystems that consume, present, or use the data via OPTICS

 

OASIS’ organizing philosophy defines a simple, intuitive approach to a sports league’s data governance and data management but requires a highly disciplined, central authority to maintain the proper separation of the layers and to maintain functional independence between layers for a sports league to gain the full benefits of the OASIS organizing philosophy.

 

OASIS is agnostic as to whether there are multiple individual vendors supplying the various subsystems at Level 0 or Level 2 or whether there is just one vendor supplying all subsystems at Level 0 or all subsystems at Level 2. The OASIS organizing philosophy ensures all subsystem suppliers maintain functional independence, communicate clearly to others and receive the full benefit of their participation. ​

 

As a product, the OASIS Platform is a highly integrated, multi-venue, time-synchronized, multilevel, data/video management system that SMT architected, designed and created to provide professional sports leagues with a centrally controlled and league-controlled platform to organize, maintain, administer and manage all phases of the league’s data creation, data distribution, data visualization and data monetization.

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OASIS Case Study: Packaging PPT Data for NHL Broadcast Use

The OASIS Platform is the central component of the NHL’s next-generation data infrastructure and leverages the full benefits of PPT data for all NHL stakeholders including NHL broadcasters.

  • The Eventing Intelligence Engine Inside OASIS, the EIEIO, is the core component of the OASIS Platform.

  • The EIEIO integrates and synchronizes the PPT data with the HITS data to produce the official NHL stats.

  • The EIEIO provides automatic live detection of hockey events (e.g., passes, player possession, shots, goals, time on ice, etc.).

Situational Analysis

The NHL has invested millions of dollars in a live Puck and Player Tracking (PPT) system.

Statement of Challenges

  1. NHL broadcast partners have historically expressed resistance to using live VIRTUALf/x.

  2. The fast pace of NHL play relative to the pace of other professional sports that use tracking systems, e.g., NFL and NBA, has caused NHL broadcast partners to express disbelief that PPT data can be effectively integrated into their production workflow in a timely, meaningful and positively impactful way.

  3. If NHL broadcast partners cannot use the PPT data as a "natural" component within their current production workflow then NHL viewers will not see the benefits of the NHL's investment in the PPT technology.

  4. If NHL broadcast partners do not see the value and benefit of integrating PPT data into their productions, then the NHL fans will not see and enjoy the visual, informational, and analytic benefits of PPT data.

SMT’s Solution 

  1. SMT created a PPT data architecture and solution suite to meet the needs of NHL broadcast partners.

  2. SMT solutions and systems:​

    • ​harness the power of the PPT data for the benefit of NHL broadcast partners;

    • package the PPT data in ways that NHL broadcast partners can easily use it;

    • integrate PPT data into NHL broadcast partners' current production workflow;

    • promote the use of PPT data across multiple points of NHL broadcast partners' production;

    • provide NHL broadcast partners with control over the implementation of their own VIRTUALf/x;

    • provide on-ice virtual sponsor insertions; and

    • provide for automatic graphic creation using PPT data and artificial intelligence eventing.

  3. SMT created a solution suite that allows NHL broadcast partners to naturally evolve the use of the PPT data within the current workflow of their NHL broadcast productions.

  4. SMT developed a workflow to provide our real-time services remotely from our studios or any studio of our clients' choosing.

THE NHL SOLUTION

Puck and Player Tracking

SMT’s PPT system comprises four main components: an IR tag placed in the shoulder of the player’s uniform; 16-24 in-stadium IR cameras that capture coverage of the rink and player benches; a customized puck that emits an IR light; and SMT’s OASIS Platform that converts the data points into usable statistics like possession, shots, passes, time in the defensive or offensive zone, time on ice, speed, distance, and more.

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HITS

SMT designed NHL HITS  (Hockey Information and Tracking System), the league’s official timing. scoring and administrative system that allows the NHL to centrally manage the more than 1,300 games played every season.

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EDGE

SMT-EDGE is a data visualization analytics tool that links live video with tracking and statistical data to help NHL teams gain a deeper understanding of their players, strategies and roster compositions. Includes event-generated playlists, AR tools, algorithm viewer/editor, and an insight valuation engine.

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In-Venue

SMT’s in-venue production combines in-game stats integrated into SMT-designed L-Bar graphics packages displayed on stadiums’ center-ice video boards as well as in-concourse video displays, providing fans with the same innovative broadcast technology no matter where they are in the stadium. During breaks in the action, the L-Bar provides sponsors and advertisers with opportunities to showcase their brands and messages.

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Broadcast Solutions

OPTICS

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SMT-OPTICS is a data-based graphics system within OASIS that turns Level 1 events such as passes, goals and times of possession into powerful storytelling graphics with pointers, discs and trails. With a single click, broadcasters can easily leverage never-before-available hockey PPT data to the fullest extent with packages that enhance the viewer’s understanding of key plays and strategies.

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ROOSTER​​

SMT’s ROOSTER remote production studios provide each NHL broadcast partner with an enhanced feed with live data and tracking from SMT’s Durham, N.C., and Jacksonville, Fla., divisions. SMT’s ROOSTER workflows allow the graphics coordinator and operators in remote studios to communicate in real-time with production teams around the world, a workflow SMT can implement in any studio our clients choose.

From its ROOSTER studios, SMT has also successfully supported events such as the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, Tour de France, Roland Garros, PFL and Triple Crown horse racing events.

 

SMT also has two customized production vans for use as mobile production studios. The vans are outfitted with an array of racks, hardware and monitors and provide a high level of production capabilities while reducing the need to set up equipment in temporary facilities at various events.

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VFAB​​

VFAB (Virtual Fans, Ads, and Brands) is SMT’s powerful, real-time virtual insertion platform that inserts data-infused billboards, targeted sponsor logos and advertising messages, spectator likenesses, and other dramatic and compelling visuals.

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3D VIRTUALf/x Presentation​​

  • Packaged Replay System

    • Standard timeline-based editor​

  • Live System

    • Single-click, intuitive, easy-to-use GUI​

    • Live insert from center-ice POV

  • Instant Replay

    • Auto-generated graphic analysis packages​

    • EIEIO-driven

    • Supports four (4) unique camera POVs

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2D Graphic Presentation​​

Scorebug integration via API and RTP ensures that all NHL broadcast partners enjoy the maximum benefit of PPT data and EIEIO eventing data expressed graphically on their scorebug devices.

  • Unique PPT and eventing data can drive compelling scorebug drop-downs and slide-outs.

  • EIEIO triggers can coordinate and synchronize scorebug displays with live, on-ice VIRTUALf/x displays.

NBC Scorebug Example

Talent Prompters​​

Encourages talent to refer to unique PPT and eventing data on a regular basis throughout a telecast PPT and eventing data to drive the live information screen content.

 

Current data displayed includes:

  • Distance Skated

  • Number of Shifts

  • Total Time on Ice (TOI)

  • TOI – This Shift

  • Player in Possession

 

​Color-coded highlights when a player's shift time exceeds 30 sec and 60 sec.

C.I.S. displays will evolve and are customizable for each user profile.

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VIRTUALf/x Architecture

  1. Three (3) high-end, real-time, graphic renderers per broadcaster

  2. Two (2) NHL-provided laptops running lightweight web apps to control graphic renderers

  3. Single-click operation to simplify insertion of VIRTUALf/x

  4. One (1) VIRTUALf/x standardized I/O panel in each arena truck bay for use by each broadcaster

  5. Flight-pack renderers available for non-NHL arena games

  6. One (1) SMT-trained VIRTUALf/x staff person on-site in each arena for each NHL game

  7. Four (4) POV cameras supported

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MLS AND OASIS

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