Winner of Best Use of Data Science in an SME, 2017
October 6, 2017
In September 2017, Orreco won ‘Best use of Data Science in an SME’ at the DatSci Awards. The annual Awards recognise and reward the individuals and organisations who are forging the future with research and products that push the boundaries of data science. Winning the SME Category was especially gratifying as the team was up against strong competition from companies with up to 250 employees and turnover of $50 million.
Our entry centred around Orreco’s Zone service and application. This biomarker-based service shows athletes how well they are coping with their training load, provides alerts about their current illness and injury risk and offers them guidance about improving their wellness and recovery. Why is this important? Because athletes are all about winning, and winning is about being available to play and being able to maintain peak performance over time.
Zone is underpinned by Orreco scientists’ 20 years of peer-reviewed research on blood biomarkers in elite athletes, and particularly on Redox. (For more on Redox, see our recent post here). The service involves taking a low friction blood sample from the athlete at regular intervals, analysing the sample on the spot, and blending the blood data with other contextual data about the athlete’s performance and wellness. The athlete gets an immediate reading of their stress and defence systems. The truly novel element is Zone’s ability to deliver results at an individual level through machine learning and AI. As well as providing alerts to possible over-training and injury and illness risk, the system generates individualised strategies for recovery and wellness together with actionable recommendations for diet, training load and sleep. More importantly, the system adapts over time: the more data it gets, the better it becomes at defining what is ‘normal’ for each athlete and individualising the alerts and recommendations for each athlete.
In the era of Big Data, every organisation, every team and every athlete is striving to get meaning from all the data sources they collect, in a way that is visually understandable, accurate and actionable. We asked Fiona Slevin, COO of Orreco, why she thought the judges selected Orreco as the winner. She said, “The DatSci Awards look for an unusual combination of outstanding core research, a product that delivers measurable results for its users, and a team that has the vision and capability to shape the future. Orreco has an amazing, world-class team of data scientists, sports scientists, computer scientists, designers, product developers and knowledge engineers, backed up by great client delivery. We also seek out and work with the best research and development partners around the globe to drive our research, accelerate product development and access new customers and markets. We were able to accelerate the development of Zone by drawing on the specialist skills and capabilities of our partners, especially the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway, St Mary’s University, Frontend and IBM Watson. Our relationship with key clients was critical to our success as they provided essential input and beta-testing for the product.”
For Professor John Newell, scientific advisor to Orreco, who leads our research partnership with the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, NUI Galway, “The award recognises Orreco for its excellence in the use of data science to develop novel predictive analytical techniques in the domain of elite sport. Orreco’s multi-disciplinary team gives them the ability to transition their evidence-based research in sports science directly to the athlete by harnessing the company’s development and application of novel data science tools.”
Orreco is revolutionizing how athletes monitor and sustain their performance. Winning the DatSci award is another step towards achieving our goal of developing the world’s first AI Coach. We will continue to advance our Sports and Data science innovation to help optimize the performance of some of the best athletes on the planet, and ultimately to scale our solutions to the weekend warrior consumer.
Fiona Slevin COO (Centre) accepting the award on behalf of Orreco with the other category winners.