Channel 5 Sports interview with Alon Werber, CEO, Pixellot

Channel 5 Sports interview with Alon Werber, CEO, Pixellot


Here’s new proof that Israel is
a hi-tech powerhouse Absolute champions! Here is another good example The Israeli company “Pixellot”
signs a strategic contract With the company “Play On! Sports”
who is the partner of the largest broadcast network Of all the High Schools in the US A truly amazing contract,
worth some $80,000,000 And we are now with the CEO of Pixellot.
Alon Werber – Hello! Hello Rotem First of all, congratulations
-Thank you For this truly impressive contract $80M – that’s a BIG contract Let’s explain Pixellot’s expertise What Pixellot does is
incorporate technologies of computerized vision and
Artificial Intelligence which enable completely
automated filming, production and broadcasting
of sports events IA?
what does it mean? AI.
– Yes, I meant AI, sorry. AI or Artificial Intelligence means That the system not only
replaces the cameraman and follows all the objects
moving on the field, it understands what is happening on field, for example a fast break or a corner and acts accordingly continuously
learning and self improving So, no human intervention.
From the field, directly to the screen Exactly, directly to any screen simple and smart And then, what actually happens is It allows the broadcasting of games,
which had lower demand and were not broadcast because the costs where high
-Yes This in fact is the crux of the
deal with Play On! and the NFHS, – all of the high
schools in America We were working with them for two years
-Amazing, amazing And we entered 1,500 high schools in the US with them
-Wow Something like 10,000 games a month While beforehand less then a fifth
(per school) was on air And there was also smaller
income, in this case the parents and the high schools alumni in the US pay for it And this deal, because it
grew the income so much and increased the number of
games on air so much Including women’s sports, by the way And sports that are less often on air That they decided to go all in
and reach the 20,000 high schools in America Each one of them has more
than one field or court for football or baseball
or basketball So this means thousands or tens of thousands of hours of broadcasting, Yes, our goal is to reach one million games
-Wow We already broadcas American high schools, And not only in
the US – we also operate in Mexico, China,
Germany and many other countries This revolution really is happening everywhere We are already broadcasting
around 40,000 hours a month Completely automatically
-Oh my God more streaming hours than ESPN So there’s no cameraman, it’s automatic And the question I have is How does this technology
recognize emotion in the game or that something has stopped Or that something unexpected happened? Yes, so…
-Do you have a Video Assistant Referee? hahaha I understand that without a Video Assistant Referee, nothing moves No, no I’m kidding But it actually does help
coaches and referees You can see exactly what
happened in every field And they do use this globally,
in Germany for instance They always rewind, and see what happened
-Exactly Look, we follow everything that moves: The ball, the players We know which type of sport it is
-OK And for every sport there is a
different algorithm, a different AI And the system slowly
improves its intelligence For instance if the ball is near the corner But not exactly in corner, the
frame has to be a bit different It has to focus on
the corner area on the field If it is a in fact a corner, you need a
broader angle to see everything What it also learns is to spot the
highlights of the match automatically So it makes automatic recaps,
all the scores and assists Everything by AI And then at the end of game not
only was it live… How does it make an automatic recap? How does it spot the highlights? It doesn’t do it as perfectly
as a trained editor But in basketball for instance it can
recognize every shot scored and every assist In order to create automatic video clips That’s the role of the AI – the Artificial Intelligence And then it produces a short version of the game Also during the game
we can replay segments When the system understands
there is down time For example it can show the shots
scored during a timeout And will also rank and define them whether it was a fast break or a three point shot So according to this we can set the different interests Alon, this system provides more than just broadcasts It seems to be something very family like The parents and the coaches
can take part in it Exactly, I think this is the revolution and
that’s why I enjoy working for this company Because it is a community It enables so many sport
matches, even neglected ones In Israel and around the world To be watched by the kid’s parents even after the game – amazing! It enables coaches of small
teams, not Barcelona Who we work with too by the
way, but we’ll discuss that later Teams without a big budget The coach can send each
player his good and bad plays – on mobile phones? Yes, it is available on phones. Basically, there are two
simultaneous broadcasts To answer your question, Rotem One is like what is shown on TV The second one is a panorama
which is simultaneously streamed That enables me on my tablet or phone To zoom in or out or to rewind And record a clip of a play
by Sharon, for instance And immediately send it to her Then the coach can
collect all the clips of a certain player and
send them to him To analyze them But what if something happens
away from the camera? Yes, as per my previous question. there have to be
things that are missed since it’s not monitored
by a human Like suddenly the ball is on one
side, and on the other side Two players are having a fight Can your system spot that?
it only follows the ball No, it doesn’t just follow the ball It also follows the players Let’s use ice hokey as an example The puck is flying around the court
so fast you could barely see it It recognizes all movements of the players And accordingly also follows the puck or ball And decides were the most
interesting thing is happening Now, if two guys are having a
fight in the left corner We might miss that If we really don’t want to miss that,
we’ll go back to having five cameramen And we won’t stream the match
because it’s too expensive So the quality is not quite like the NBA But the quality is high The pro volleyball league in
Germany uses our automatic system, With no cameramen? None, except for the main match Because there wasn’t enough
money to broadcast them all So this revolution is slowly kicking off I suppose you plan to upgrade
this system in the future Because at the moment it
sounds like it works but it’s more for the younger
generation, for the children It’s not just for kids It is for all the women sports which were almost never streamed Even the Tier One games Second and third leagues for adults
in Spain are also done by us … as well as other leagues around the world… The opportunity lies there, I want to provide
content that wasn’t available beforehand Of course
-There is now a revolution in the world of OTT, I don’t know how familiar the
viewers are with this, but Like Netflix, providing direct content A lot of content is necessary The same thing is happening in sports Many networks are offering new variety So that is our job, to supply more content And more personal needs Sorry if I am ruining
the mood a little bit But It seems like nothing can replace a human realizing that a player that is crying Or a crowd being suddenly
emotional and capturing that frame This isn’t replaceable,
your capture is more sterile You’re absolutely right The Barcelona vs Real Madrid
match we do not plan to replace They will have 20 cameramen,
even a special one for Messi I understand
-But we go for the other 99% So you actually give the
stage to those who need it Okay, we were worried
that our director will lose his job
-Don’t worry, your jobs are secure We now stream 40,000 hours a month,
and this number keeps rising 97% of them weren’t broadcast before There are some that only
do it to lower their costs But we aren’t aiming to broadcast
the top professional games Alon, we wish you the best of luck Thank you for having me Gladly. I believe we will meet again All the sport technology in Israel… -Its amazing, it really is How we are supplying the Americans
with the sport technology Great pride Thank you very much

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