Data, Data Everywhere by David Rowlands

David Rowlands gets Big DataThe Sports Analytic Conference 2015 was a great event held on a chilly day in Melbourne on Friday last week. It was exciting to hear presentations and meet with people from startups, international companies, technology investing firms, and other people researching in the space. It gave the conference a friendly yet dynamic atmosphere. Personally I got a lot out of it.

The conference was about Data Analytics which is a very broad topic and encompasses both business and sports analysis. Chris Polley summed it up when he (and Wikipedia) described Data Analytics as

“Analysis of data is a process of inspecting, cleaning, transforming, and modelling data with the goal of discovering useful information, suggesting conclusions, and supporting decision-making.”

Why is it important? Glad you asked :-). In the sports environment, large amounts of data are being generated about each athlete; not just their movements during game and training but their well-being, nutrition etc. Imagine extending this across a whole team and over a number of seasons or years. The amount of data will quickly become overwhelming which is why Data Analytics has evolved since it provides a series of techniques to allow us to extract information from the large datasets.

This is where SABEL labs comes into the picture and why I was down at the conference. We have been working in the space for a number of years now. We have been developing algorithms to access the data (especially Inertial Sensor Data), process the data, and present the data in such a way that the coach, sports or health professional can extract extra useful information that they did not have before. All hopefully contributing to that extra 1% that can make all the difference.

Network Big DataPersonally, I found the conference was a wonderful opportunity to see Data Analytics from many different perspectives. One of the most powerful sessions for me was the Q&A with the amazing athletes Lydia Lassila, Chris Goulding, and Matt Cowdry. They have been on the sharp end of the analysis for many years and have had all aspects of performance and
presentation observed, measured, and quantified. It was great to hear about it from their perspective since they are the ones that are personally affected by it all.

Thanks to the organisers for putting together a great conference and I look forward to the next one.

David Rowlands

Deputy Director, SABEL Lab

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