It all started with a chat about football. Many chats start out that way. But it is rare that a chat about football becomes a partnership between two companies. This time, it did.

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At Replay Institute, there’s a small band of technical football enthusiasts with big ambitions of combining Big Data, tactical research and modern technology to strengthen tactical understanding and develop strategically intelligent football players.  To win more matches, naturally.

That is an ambition Cadpeople can understand and endorse. So, they did. The ambition strikes right down into Cadpeople’s sweet spot between digital learning, visual communication, VR and – yes, to be quite honest – sheer passion for football and technology.

Millions to collect in data

Replay Institute emerged from a wonder about why, in a multi-billion industry such as football, so few clubs utilise the possibilities of technology to make better decisions and improve their players. There are, after all, sums in the multi-digit millions at play when a player advances, is bought or sold, and when the points on the Premier League board get new places.

Football faces the same journey that the retail trade made in the ’00s – the journey in which data is used purposefully for improvement. But Replay Institute’s ambition to link football data and technology closer together, and thus make complex data intuitive to use, is difficult to realise.

It’s here that Cadpeople comes on to the pitch. The visual communications agency’s core focus is precisely to package complex messages simply and visually into supporting technology.

– We are a ‘match made in heaven’. It is the first time in my career that the match with a partner is so good, says Tim Monrad Larsen, Partner and CEO at Replay Institute.

Relive and learn in VR

Cadpeople will further develop Replay Institute’s existing digital solution, in which football players can train cognitively in VR. The players’ positions on the pitch are tracked through a whole match and, afterwards, they can then relive their own actions, put themselves in the places of their teammates and see possible outcomes of choices made on the pitch through VR glasses. The players will also be able to see and understand why the midfielder did not get to the throw-in, why the striker failed to see the defender in the 87th minute, and where the goalkeeper should have placed himself during the 5th corner kick – insight and feedback that players learn from for the next match.

Even professional football players are not always good at following the tactic laid out by the trainer. In fact, stats from DBU show that only 22% of the players’ decisions on the pitch can be traced back to the tactic. That number is too low, says Replay Institute.

Together with Replay Institute, Cadpeople will help the clubs get the match tactic across to the players so that there is greater cohesion between the tactic selected and the execution on the pitch.

– When we met Replay Institute, it was very quickly clear that here was a start-up with a razor-sharp idea and core. And, thus, they have a creative product platform with a super-exciting, international potential in a market with a gap. At the same time, since the chemistry was good, and since some of us are passionate for football, it was simply a journey that we just had to go on, says Thomas Juel, Partner and CSO at Cadpeople.

At DBU, they have also taken notice of Replay Institute’s innovative approach to the analysis of football.

– I am convinced that Replay Institute’s concept will set new and better standards for the sports industry, says Mounir Akhiat, National Team Analyst at DBU.

Advice all around

In addition to Cadpeople entering into a partnership with Replay Institute, Thomas Juel, Partner and CSO at Cadpeople, is going on the advisory board.

– Thomas Juel will, along with the other competent experts in our advisory board, help Replay Institute build up a global niche in the area of tactical software and VR. Here, Thomas Juel will be the expert in visual communication, VR and digital learning, says Tim Monrad Larsen.

It all started with a chat about football. But there are towering ambitions, so the story probably does not end there – either in Denmark or with football.