Data Science Interactive: Accessible, Immersive Analytics Space at SSAC 2016

As a discipline, sports analytics is maturing—fast. Since the original MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in 2007, we’ve seen extraordinary advances in how teams and leagues use data science to power their performance on the field, off the field, and in the stands.

At the same time, Booz Allen’s sports analytics practice is growing rapidly as well.

Building on our inaugural conference sponsorship in 2015, in 2016 we’re thrilled to present Data Science Interactive, an immersive experience into the world of analytics and sports science in Room 252 of the Boston Convention Center. Data Science Interactive is designed to make high-level analytics approachable for a broad audience, featuring a combination of structured demos, interactive visualizations, and discussions arranged around our “on the field, off the field, and in the stands” approach to sports analytics.

On the Field – “Exploring Data in Motion”

The recent explosion of motion-capture and wearable technologies presents a challenge for sports organizations as they try to take advantage of the systems and the unique data sets they generate. Data Science Interactive will feature applications of cutting-edge techniques and technologies to show the tremendous opportunity this emerging data source can provide.

Specifically, we’ll demonstrate motion-capture camera technology that Booz Allen uses to assess the biomechanics of pitching. Using on-site tablet computers, Data Science Interactive visitors will be able to generate various visualizations to better understand pitchers’ anatomy in motion and uncover flaws in pitching form, pinpoint changes in pitching behavior throughout a season, and identify factors that make a pitcher susceptible to arm injury. In addition, using the QlikView dashboard with data supplied from PITCHf/x, we’ll demonstrate how teams can use analytics to predict pitches in MLB games.

Off the Field – “Predicting with Open Source”

The sports industry has a rich history of tracking data and using statistical techniques like sabermatrics to evaluate the performance of players and teams. But today, organizations can leverage open source tools and data sets along with advanced machine learning techniques to predict how their players and teams will perform.

To show this in action, we’ll showcase the outcomes of our recent hackathon with the Baltimore Orioles, in which participants used open source data and technologies to develop interactive predictive applications. And though sabermetrics are traditionally associated with baseball, Data Science Interactive visitors will also be able to learn about their application to the NFL, going hands-on with our tablets to gauge the efficiency of different offensive and defensive football schemes.

In the Stands – “Bringing Data Science to the Business of Sports”

Sports analytics aren’t limited to on-field performance or off-field game planning. In fact, leagues and teams are turning to analytics to drive their business through ticketing, loyalty programs, and social media interaction. In Data Science Interactive, visitors will learn how teams can use next generation analytics to further engage and catalyze these fan bases before, during, and after events.

Using a transportation data set from Uber and New York City taxis, we’ll demonstrate a visualization that shows how fans travel to games and how that factors into the holistic fan experience. This non-traditional data set represents the need for teams to think outside the box around the data they are making use of for their next-generation loyalty programs.

We’ll also demonstrate Booz Allen’s Sailfish family of products that make data science approachable and accessible. Specifically, we’ll use data curation tool Sailfish Exchange to bring together several different sports data sets, and let visitors “get in the game” using our web-based analytics platform Sailfish Explore to do their own exploratory analysis.

Collectively, Data Science Interactive will be a powerful, participative learning experience for attendees, who’ll have the opportunity to interact with data science experts and industry leaders in a collaborative lounge setting. Whether you’re an analytics novice, journeyman, or master, the space will feature something for everyone—and we can’t wait to see you there.

This post has been sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, a sponsor of the 2016 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.