Premier Football Club AFC Ajax Uses Hikvision Cameras for Game Analysis
Collaboration Between Video Surveillance and Game On Analysis Software
Hikvision has become an Official Sponsor of the Dutch top tier football club Ajax. As part of the agreement, the company is applying its expertise in camera technology with the club, both in the Arena stadium in Amsterdam and on the club‘s training grounds – the ‚Sport Complex of the Future‘. Together with the Ajax Performance Team, monitoring of training and soccer matches will be carried out using the company‘s cameras in partnership with software from video analysis experts Game On. This powerful combination will deliver even better analyses, in turn further improving the game.
There are various challenges facing performance coaches like Max Reckers, Ajax‘s Performance Technologist. “Firstly there are physical issues, like where to position a camera. There‘s not enough space on the midline, and mounting cameras on training ground poles make them too close to get a good view. There‘s also the question of manpower, since a camera operator (or operators) would be needed constantly. Existing analysis tools are too time-consuming and their process is not flexible enough. They also don‘t provide real-time feedback.“
To overcome these challenges, a solution was needed that provides a 180 degree view covering the whole playing field. It would also be necessary to be able to track the players accurately as they crisscross the pitch. In order to achieve these things, a camera would need to be placed near the field, at a suitable vantage point, and the system would need to work seamlessly with software to track the players and allows in-match and post-match analysis. A recording facility is vital for performance managers like Reckers to make an effective analysis and be able to present interesting findings, and clarity of image is always a plus when dealing with such a fast-paced game with so many moving elements.
The solution came through the collaboration between Hikvision cameras and Game On analysis software. A 24MP Panovu camera was installed, both at all training pitches at the ‚Sport Complex of the Future‘ and at the main Ajax stadium in Amsterdam.
The cameras were positioned so that the whole pitch could be seen – possible due to the panoramic nature of the camera. These cameras also provide very clear images – with four lens systems of 6MP each, making a total of 24MP – one of the highest definition Panovu cameras in the industry. They deliver images at 30 frames per second, meaning that nothing will be missed.
The initial image from the cameras is slightly bent or ‚warped‘, so specialized software from Game On and TNO came into play to stitch the streams from the four lenses together to complete the full detailed view of the entire pitch. This software also ‚dewarps‘ the images. Game On‘s software adds a ‚virtual PTZ‘ function which allows the software to zoom into specific players and track them on the field. The NVR (recorder) used in the solution brings full flexibility, previous images and recordings to be easily retrieved.
The combination of contemporary technology and the latest software from Game On allows Ajax to track players across the pitch, both in training and matches. This will really make a big difference to the way Ajax sees its games and hopefully have the knock-on effect of making one of the most popular spectator sports become even more exciting.
Reckers added: “We are amazed by the Hikvision technologies that we recently implemented at our training ground and stadium. The Panovu camera is opening an entirely new world for us in performance analysis. Being able to capture the full pitch at high resolution is simplifying our analysis process so much. And also being able to provide real-time feedback to coaches and players empowers us even more.“
Derek Yang, President of Hikvision Europe, says: “This is an interesting project for us because it shows a whole new application for our technologies. Working with Ajax, TNO and Game On has been a revelation, and we‘re thrilled that our cameras could play such a central part in this sports solution. We are now planning to use the cameras to detect goals and to predict the best way to pass the ball.“