Video Analytics Can Boost Corporate Performance

Dartfish specializes in analyzing athletes, but says its technology can be applied on the factory floor or to a corporate presentation.
Dartfish is known in the worlds of sports coaching and broadcast for its frame-by-frame video analysis of the performance of athletes, but the company would like to show it can improve corporate performance as well.

"We started out helping with the performance of athletes, but whenever you have motion, video is really of importance," said Victor Bergonzoli, CEO of Dartfish. The Swiss company started out helping Olympic skiers and their coaches analyze their moves, but Bergonzoli said the tool could be applied just as easily to an analysis of factory assembly procedures or of how a keynote speaker moves across the stage.

You can see some of the videos customers have decided to share publicly at sports analytics like the one of tennis ace Roger Federer with annotations on his twists, turns, and form at the moment of contact between racket and ball. You may have seen some of its broadcast products, like its SimulCam system for showing the motions of two athletes side-by-side, in the sports coverage of networks including NBC, Bergonzoli said.

The company's main product is desktop software for annotating videos, which can include "key markers" with associated text notes at moments within the video where something important happens. Among other things, this means you can skip around a video to see just the most relevant portions. Bergonzoli said one use would be to mark up an hour-long speech and share it on a website or intranet, so the people you share it with can home in the specific sections you've commented on.

Dartfish videos can then be shared over the Web or on a DVD.

Early corporate customers include Implenia, a construction firm that's one of the largest companies in Switzerland, he said. A large bank also uses the software to record and annotate employee reviews. A Lean Enterprise Institute case study featured use of this technique by Nexteer Automotive--a relationship that began after a lean process specialist there saw his daughter's figure skating coaches using the software to mark up video of the team's performance. Other industrial videos on the website cover processes like electronics assembly (time and motion study) and ergonomic study of people getting in and out of a car. However, you have to dig a bit to get past all the sports, searching by keywords like "process" or "training."

Another Web video player that offers somewhat similar capabilities is Viddler, which hosts corporate videos and provides a player that includes the ability to tag parts of the video stream through the browser interface.

Viddler actually looks like a more polished Web 2.0 operation. On the other hand, Dartfish might win some traction with sports fans. "We're the choice of champions," Bergonzoli said.

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