Microsoft is making more moves in the sports arena.
The tech giant today debuted its “Sports Performance Platform,” a new product born out of Microsoft Garage, the company’s internal incubator.
The customizable platform, which is already being used by teams like Seattle Reign FC and Cricket Australia, uses a trio of Microsoft services: Power BI, Azure, and Surface. It crunches athlete performance data taken from disparate sources — like Catapult GPS trackers or the Fit for 90 monitoring software — and layers on machine learning and predictive modeling to help provide actionable insights for coaches at one centralized place.
“To help gain a competitive edge, teams have spent the past few years digitizing their historical data and improving their data management skills,” wrote Microsoft GM Jeff Hansen in this blog post. “But a gap still exists between collecting and organizing data and actually seeing and predicting trends and patterns that enable better, faster decision-making.”
Use cases include getting insights on recovery and readiness, accessing a predictive model for injury prevention, or analyzing the proper workload for a practice regimen.
“Having this data can help Leman give informed recommendations to Harvey on how many days of recovery to give each player, and how hard to train her during her first session back,” Hansen wrote in reference to Seattle Reign FC Director of High Performance Nick Leman and head coach Laura Harvey.
Microsoft, which is working with POP, Akvelon, and Fair Play to deploy the Sports Performance Platform, aims to provide a solution for what is becoming a pressing question as sports teams gather more data: Once you have all the numbers, what exactly do you do with it, and how can you use it to actually improve performance on the field?
“What sets Sports Performance Platform from Microsoft apart is the availability of machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities to help predict likely outcomes, and use those insights to make better coaching decisions,” Hansen noted.
If you’re interested in testing out the platform, go here.
This is the latest sign of Microsoft’s recent push into the sports world, a strategy that helps leagues use technology to improve their processes, exposes Microsoft’s products to more consumers, and now with the Sports Performance Platform, helps improve player performance.
The company inked a $400 million deal with the NFL in 2014; you’ve likely seen the Surface tablets on the sidelines that is a result of the partnership.
Microsoft did a similar deal with the PGA Tour in 2015 and now the pro golf organization is using Microsoft devices and services to improve data collection and analysis. Microsoft also partners with NASCAR.
“When we look at where we want our products to show up, one of the questions you ask is, what are people’s passion points?” Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s chief marketing officer, told GeekWire last year. “A few of them really spike to be much, much bigger than all the rest. Sports is really high on the list.”