Using AI to get a beer quicker at the footy

A South Aussie start-up is promising to change the game again for sporting stadiums, hospitality venues and arenas worldwide with AI.

Jan 23, 2023, updated Jan 23, 2023
MyVenue at work in Adelaide Oval. Photo: supplied

MyVenue at work in Adelaide Oval. Photo: supplied

Athletes and the stadiums have always been an essential part of watching live sports, whether it’s soccer or Aussie rules.

Australian start-up company MyVenue hopes to make artificial intelligence (AI) as necessary to a sporting match as the players and the ball.

The Adelaide company, based out of Lot Fourteen’s Stone and Chalk building, developed its point-of-sale (POS) system several years ago.

Since then, the software has been rolled out across hospitality venues, sporting stadiums here and overseas and concert arenas.

The software removes the need for expensive data servers and relies on a cloud host that can report data in real time. It’s also built to work offline, so workers can continue to take payments even during internet outages.

MyVenue has now partnered with the Australian Institute for Machine Learning (AIML) to develop an algorithm that predicts food and drink sales at stadiums.

MyVenue chief executive Tim Stollznow said this algorithm could optimise venue food and labour costs.

“We generate a lot of data from every single sale including who bought it, what was purchased, where it was purchased and how it was paid,” Stollznow said.

“For us, it was a matter of thinking how we can give a venue more tools, better tools, to help them optimise their stock and labour.”

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Stollznow said they had to get permission from stadiums, including Adelaide Oval, to use data to see if this was possible. Finally, the company was able to hand over years of data to AIML engineers to find a solution.

AIML engineer Milad Dakka said the data was converted into 10-minute intervals, using the past three hours to predict the next two hours of a sporting match.

“We were seeing the model correctly predicting a rise as the game starts, and sort of the ebbs and flows of the game in a useful way, in an actionable way, that can be turned around and acted upon by operators at the venue,” Dakka said.

Stollznow said the data would allow the company to accurately predict what stock is required before the event starts.

“We can hopefully do that fairly accurately and by doing it accurately, that reduces wastage. It means improves cash flow, of course, and it hopefully prevents running out of stock because ideally you want to run out of stock like at the end of the third quarter,” Stollznow said.

In January, MyVenue signed a lucrative contract with the Miami Dolphin’s Hard Rock Stadium, which saw almost 1400 terminals fitted with their software. The venue also hosts Formula One, concerts and international soccer games.

Stollznow said MyVenue had submitted a patent application on intent to purchase technology that would reduce the time a punter waits for their order.

In some stadiums, you can order food or drinks and choose to have them delivered to your seat or collect them from an outlet. This technology could predict how quickly a customer can pick up their order.

“It’s all about predictability, and it’s all about getting the order ready even 30 seconds or a minute closer to when they get to the outlet where they’re going to pick up the product,” Stollznow said.

“There’s a lot of work to do with AI because this is all about making predictions, but we know that if we can halve the time that people spend in an outlet waiting for a beer or waiting for a burger that will have a massive change in the industry.”

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