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ICT in Sports

FSTJ 2018-9 Cover Image

Vol. 54, No. 4, September 2018

With a series of major international sporting events to be held in Japan over the next few years, Fujitsu is providing technologies and solutions for the sports business market to enhance the "playing," "watching," and "supporting" of sports. This issue introduces technologies to support a digital sports platform, solutions to support digital sports marketing for expanding the sports fan base, solutions to support major sporting events, and application examples of sports ICT.

Japanese version: Magazine FUJITSU (Vol. 69, No. 2, March 2018)


Preface (100 KB)
Naoyoshi Takatsuna, Corporate Executive Officer, Fujitsu Ltd, p.1


Fujitsu's Technologies and Solutions Contributing to Development of Sports (276 KB)
Yoshitaka Tanaka, pp.2-7
Fujitsu seeks to develop digital sports services in the sports business market with an eye to 2020 and beyond. Digital sports services consist of technologies and solutions to assist the "playing," "watching," and "supporting" of sports and a digital sports marketing platform to stimulate the sports business market. This paper outlines the digital sports services systematized by Fujitsu and discusses the outlook for digital businesses in the post-2020 market.

Technologies Supporting Digital Sports Platform

3D Sensing Technology for Real-Time Quantification of Athletes' Movements (979 KB)
Kazuo Sasaki, Shoichi Masui, Koichi Tezuka, pp.8-16
Recently, efforts to help athletes develop skills and abilities by incorporating scientific knowledge are actively deployed in the field of sports. At the same time, as judging and scoring for increasingly sophisticated skills in scoring competitions such as gymnastics is becoming more difficult every year, the need to incorporate technologies to improve accuracy and fairness in a judging and scoring system is increasing accordingly. Therefore, Fujitsu Laboratories is engaged in research and development aimed at establishing 3D sensing technology that accurately measures and digitizes complex human movements three-dimensionally using machine learning. 3D sensing technology is comprised of 3D laser sensor technology, which generates depth images based on the contours of the body surface to represent human movements, and skeleton recognition technology, which quickly extracts the 3D coordinates of joints from the depth images. Regarding 3D laser sensors, we describe a split projection/detection optical system with a micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) mirror for laser emission and detection, which is capable of more than 10 times the number of pixels obtained by conventional light detection and ranging (LIDAR) technology. We then demonstrate the usefulness of view-angle control technology for sports. We also describe the skeleton recognition technology, noting the fast, high-accuracy 3D joint coordinate extraction method based on a combination of skeleton recognition through machine learning and subsequent fitting. This paper illustrates the 3D sensing technology developed by Fujitsu Laboratories and presents experimental results of skeleton recognition in actual athletes' movements.
Image Analysis Technologies to Realize "Dream Arenas" (880 KB)
Daisuke Ishii, Shinichi Akiyama, Masahiko Toichi, Takuma Yamamoto, pp.17-24
Gearing up for successive major sporting events to be held in Japan around 2020, various initiatives to revitalize sports are accelerating in Japan. Fujitsu pursues the development for practical adaptation of a smart arena solution to support the Japan Basketball Association (JBA) and the Japan Professional Basketball League (B.LEAGUE) with ICT. This solution aims to achieve two objectives: strengthening players and teams, and entertaining spectators. In terms of strengthening players and teams, we have developed a high-precision motion tracking technology in order to capture the positions of moving players in a game, particularly when they are bunched together. In terms of entertaining spectators, we have developed free viewpoint video generation technology that enables the generation of video from any point of view without physical restrictions. For example, it allows for the creation of videos from viewpoint inside the court and 360-degree multi-viewpoint replay videos. This paper presents the benefits of these two types of image analysis technology.
Digital Technology to Support Next-Generation Stadiums/Arenas (584 KB)
Masaru Watanabe, Hideki Koyama, Yuichi Terui, Kazuhiro Nagase, Kiyoshi Kawano, pp.25-31
The Japanese Government aims to grow the sports market to 15 trillion yen by 2025, leveraging a series of international sporting events to be held in Japan from 2019 onwards. Stadiums/arenas that can host international sporting events are expected to facilitate sustainable growth of local economies while benefiting from the growth potential of the sports industry. Against this backdrop, Fujitsu has developed a stadium/arena solution, which helps to satisfy various requirements for international competitions and reduce management costs, as well as a spectator experience service platform that enhances the value of spectating experiences. Providing these services to stadiums/arenas, Fujitsu will boost the sports industry as well as revitalize local communities. This paper describes these digital technologies that Fujitsu offers to realize next-generation stadiums/arenas. It also presents an experiment of the next-generation live viewing system developed jointly with B.LEAGUE (the Japan Professional Basketball League) in anticipation of that realization.

Digital Sports Marketing for Expanding Sports Fan Bases

Digital Marketing that Leverages Sporting Event Ticketing Data (249 KB)
Tadahiko Sato, Satoshi Fukumoto, Masato Ishii, Itaru Hiraishi, Yasuaki Matsumoto, pp.32-37
A variety of sporting events are held in Japan, ranging from international games to small competitions sponsored by local governments, private organizations, and so on. In many cases, however, organizers have difficulty securing a sufficient number of spectators, and only 24.7% of the population has experienced watching sporting events live at venues. Digital marketing that combines ticket data, membership data, social media, and so on is essential for expanding fan bases. Using digital marketing to attract spectators, Fujitsu provides multiple sports leagues a mechanism to better understand fans watching events. This paper introduces the work on digital marketing Fujitsu has done until now and describes future proposals.
Place-based Services Platform that Enhances User Satisfaction from Sports Tourism to Daily Life. (501 KB)
Masashi Miyake, Akira Fujii, Takashi Ohno, Masateru Yoshikawa, pp.38-43
Enjoying sports as spectators is increasingly facilitated by smartphones, which provide information such as game schedules and performances of players/teams and enable facility reservations, ticket booking, and so on. This information and these services are usually provided by means of applications installed on smartphones, but this necessitates users to operate certain processes, such as installing these applications in advance. As a result, the number of users has not grown as much as service providers expected. Addressing the need to improve convenience, Fujitsu has developed a place-based services platform that makes information/applications automatically ready for use on users' smartphones according to the time, place, and occasion. Applying this technology to sporting event viewing may enhance spectators' viewing experience. In addition to sports tourism, which combines sports and tourism around sporting event viewing, we expect this technology to be applied also to new areas where many companies will become involved. This paper describes the application of the place-based services platform for enhancing convenience at spectator sporting events.
UX Design Maximizes the Appeal of Sports (591 KB)
Manami Jo, Tomohiro Takizawa, Hiroto Motoyama, Gen Asakawa, pp.44-49
In recent years in Japan, various new initiatives are being actively conducted in the sports business market in view of the major international sporting events scheduled around 2020. In this market as well, a user experience (UX) design-oriented approach, which allows for the creation of new service experiences and value from customer-centered perspectives, is an effective means of differentiating one's own products and services from those of competitors. Users in sports are mainly players, judges, and spectators. When making proposals for innovations or pursuing new business projects, designers need to appreciate the different perspectives of these three types of users. To bring them to fruition, it is important to visualize challenges and visions of the business operator, create a prototype based on them, and commercialize it quickly while developing empathy through a trial. This paper describes practical aspects and important points of the UX design-oriented approach for maximizing the appeal of sports, with cases conducted by Fujitsu in 2016 and after.

Solutions Supporting Major Events

System Platform Supporting Major Sporting Events (532 KB)
Kentaro Chihara, Kazutoshi Takahashi, Shinji Kanayama, pp.50-56
Several major international sporting events will be held in Japan around 2020. ICT is indispensable for the smooth management of these events. Thorough preparations and flawless execution during such events are required. In developing the system platform, it is also necessary to take into consideration unique aspects of major sporting events, such as the requirement that the systems run uninterruptedly, the fact that the events are one-offs, and also the fact that the preparation period is short. The conventional on-premise model often employed in system development is unsuitable with regard to these aspects as it is too onerous in terms of time required for platform arrangement and implementation, excessive system configuration, and functional redundancy. To address these issues, Fujitsu is constructing a private cloud infrastructure that leverages cloud computing technology to realize shorter installation period, high availability, and flexible scalability. We are also promoting efficient operation and management by integrating common application functions. This paper describes the development of system platforms for major sporting events that offer superior reliability and efficiency for managing such events.
Cybersecurity Solutions for Major International Events (624 KB)
Taisyu Ohta, Masahiko Takenaka, Masaaki Katou, Ryusuke Masuoka, Kousetsu Kayama, Noriaki Fukushima, Hosei Imai, pp.57-65
The development of IoT has been progressing rapidly, resulting in an expanding cyberspace. However, there is a risk of an increasing number of sophisticated cyber attacks. Major international events often act as the driving force for a host country's dignity, and are exposed to large-scale attacks from all over the world. Japan is faced with the major challenge of establishing an ecosystem that enhances its cybersecurity capabilities. Fujitsu has proposed that the Japanese government improve the self-sufficiency of cybersecurity technology to build this ecosystem. Fujitsu itself has been focusing on developing technology domestically and training security engineers to counter the prospective shortage of talent. Through these efforts, we will contribute to the creation of an ecosystem to support society beyond 2020 as a social legacy. This paper describes the important perspectives of cybersecurity that will support society in 2020 and beyond. It also presents Fujitsu's initiatives in technology and personnel development.

Application Case Examples of ICT in Sports

ICT-based Judging Support System for Artistic Gymnastics and Intended New World Created Through 3D Sensing Technology (404 KB)
Hidenori Fujiwara, Kenichi Ito, pp.66-72
The elderly is estimated to make up almost a third of the Japanese population by 2020. Led by the Japan Sports Agency, one of the ministries and agencies related to sports in Japan, initiatives have been launched to make sports one of the country's major industries in collaboration with the healthcare and health promotion fields. Given that the sports business is a big industry overseas, the Japanese government aims to grow the sports market to 15 trillion yen by 2025. 3D sensing technology is drawing attention in the sports IoT area, which is considered important for this market expansion. Fujitsu is pursuing the development of 3D sensing technology to build a judging support system in collaboration with the International Gymnastics Federation and Japan Gymnastics Association. This paper describes the value and new world to be created through Fujitsu's 3D sensing technology, and our efforts to standardize it internationally.