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Hong Kong Athletes Achieve Excellence with AI and IoT Innovation

Microsoft Hong Kong works with local partner RaceFit to improve fencers’ performance with advanced analytics

The outstanding performance of Hong Kong athletes in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games underscores the extraordinary resilience and determination of athletes. In fact, technology can empower athletes to push boundaries and reach new heights.

The Hong Kong fencing community has been using technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to get real time data and insights to improve performance and enhance training plans. A Hong Kong start-up, RaceFit, develops a suit which is equipped with lightweight nine-axis sensors to record a fencer’s movement. The data are then analyzed through the RaceFit’s Fitness Ability Measurement System (FAMS) in Azure, Microsoft’s enterprise-grade cloud computing platform. Powered by AI on Azure, the FAMS algorithm delivers information on the athlete’s strength, stamina, flexibility, coordination and balance. This gives coaches a holistic view of how an athlete is performing and areas that need to be improved, like shifting knee alignment when lunging. The coach can then tailor a training regimen and even monitor the athlete’s progress remotely.

Kristy Cheung, a fencer competing with the I-Fencing Alliance Club in Hong Kong, used RaceFit to find and rectify problems with exercise and practice. “It’s interesting to quickly see where I am going right or wrong. I can immediately address weaknesses I didn’t even know that I had. I’m feeling more confident about performing my best,” she said.

Around the world, Microsoft technology has supported athletes to elevate their games. Take Real Madrid F.C. as an example. One of the world’s greatest football clubs transforms their organization through data and digital technology to help coaches customize performance and fitness strategies. Coaches can use GPS devices and cloud-based software to track and analyze the movement of each player during training. The club’s medical professionals—including doctors, physical therapists, and nutritionists— leverage Microsoft technology to register and analyze match data in real-time to guide training regimens and even predict the health conditions of every player. Podiatrists also make use of innovative technologies including 4D scanning, data analysis based in artificial intelligence to design durable equipment that provides protection and flexibility as players make thousands of different movements over the course of a game.

Providing better experience to audience is another field that technology can help in sport. With NBA CourtOptix powered by Microsoft Azure, NBA fans are able to get new metrics of athletes’ movement including each dribble, pass, and shot to understand what’s happening during a game. For example, NBA CourtOptix can use player positional data to determine when sprints occur within a game, while measuring the pressure of the defense exerts on the offensive team with innovative defensive pressure algorithm. It helps tell unique stories and trends behind a massive player tracking data set and turns that into interactive content that’s engaging for fans.

Technology can also enhance performances for everyday athletes like you and me. RaceFit recently launched AI CORE Fitness, a wearable AI fitness coach to customized trainings according to personal fitness goals, physical condition and performance. Exercise data is captured and analyzed in real time through an algorithm at Azure, helping inspired sports enthusiasts to move toward a more active and healthier lifestyle.

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