Sport Singapore: Harnessing the power of Vision AI for faster, more efficient content creation

About Sport Singapore

Sport Singapore is a statutory board under Singapore's Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth. Founded in 1973, it encourages Singaporeans to lead active lifestyles through innovative sporting experiences.

Industries: Government & Public Sector
Location: Singapore

Sport Singapore uses Vision AI to automate photo tagging and categorization, freeing up time for staff to focus on platform development and increasing engagement among Singaporeans.

Google Cloud results

  • Empowers staff to work more productively and easily locate the photos they need
  • Enables a wider pool of contributors by automating tagging and labeling tasks
  • Grows engagement among Singaporeans thanks to a faster photo rollout

Saves 1,000 man-hours by switching to automated tagging

Tasked with promoting an active and healthy lifestyle among Singaporeans, Sport Singapore (SportSG) has been driving the conversation around sport in the country for more than 45 years. It believes that engagement is crucial to creating a sporting culture. As such, the organization has a content discovery platform, MyActiveSG, to keep the conversation going among the public.

SportSG works with a number of private and public sectors and relies on volunteers to help out in its storytelling journey and contribute photos for the site. The organization has been around since 1973, so its key challenge is managing its assets. "Things are still done very traditionally,” says Darren Ho, Team Lead for Digital Operations at SportSG. “We send a photographer, write a story, and file it. I didn't think it was such a big problem until I realized nearly 1,000 man-hours were spent just sorting photos!"

With years of images archived in hard disks, SportSG needed a way to ensure that its images are well organized and easily accessible. It also wanted to automate its tagging processes to enable more volunteers to join in. To address these challenges, SportSG turned to Google Cloud in April 2019.

"Before Google Cloud, we used a static hard disk system, so people had to physically come to the office to access files," says Ho. "Because of the speed at which content is created and updated, we want a better way to get fellow Singaporeans to work together with us in content creation."

"Before Google Cloud, we used a static hard disk system, so people had to physically come to the office to access files. Because of the speed at which content is created and updated, we want a better way to get fellow Singaporeans to work together with us in content creation."

Darren Ho, Team Lead for Digital Operations, Sport Singapore

Boosting productivity with auto-tagging

Managing image assets can be a painstaking and time-consuming process. Citing an example of the way things were done prior to deploying Vision AI, Ho explains what happened when they needed an image from 2013, without proper tagging. "We wanted a photo of how the national stadium used to look, and an employee spent almost an entire day just looking for that photo,” says Ho. “When they found it, it was in low resolution and couldn’t even be used."

Before choosing Google Cloud, SportSG explored a range of other free commercial services to help it house its images, but none of the services could meet its specific needs. Today SportSG’s solution is based around Vision AI on Google Cloud. Photographers and content generators are now able to contribute photos, articles, and videos from anywhere, at any time, for the team to curate and share. Beyond storage, the organization also uses Vision AI to automate many of its manual processes. Volunteer photographers can upload their photos and Vision AI will scan through each photo, inserting tags automatically.

Using a Google Cloud pre-trained model, the AI algorithms within Vision AI detect everything from the background to colors and logos, and even identify the faces of people in the photo. This means that it can detect a known athlete or personality and promptly apply the right tags. The team uses Google Data Studio for tracking usage, statistics, and reporting.

This has opened doors to many more photographers contributing, who don’t necessarily need to understand the different categories for tagging, labeling, or contextualizing. "Ultimately, as Vision AI does all the work of tagging photos for us, it enables us to work with a much larger group of people who have a camera and want to shoot,” says Ho. “We don’t have to spend too much time training them to add the right tags."

"Ultimately, as Vision AI does all the work of tagging photos for us, it enables us to work with a much larger group of people who have a camera and want to shoot. We don’t have to spend too much time training them to add the right tags,"

Darren Ho, Team Lead for Digital Operations, Sport Singapore

Achieving greater community engagement and staff productivity

Thanks to Vision AI, SportSG volunteers and employees are now able to work more effectively. "Since migrating to Google Cloud, my team is more productive,” says Ho. “Team members spend their time doing things such as developing the platform, rather than having to manage other stakeholders who are searching for photos."

Apart from removing frustration and providing a higher value experience for its employees, proper tagging also ensures that images are more easily surfaced when searched. This gives local athletes more visibility and will make them feel appreciated.

"Since migrating to Google Cloud, my team is more productive. It spends its time doing things like developing the platform, rather than having to manage other stakeholders who are searching for photos,"

Darren Ho, Team Lead for Digital Operations, Sport Singapore

SportSG plans to eventually migrate all its photo assets to Google Cloud, as having all its 850,000 files stored in the cloud will mean they are more secure. "It’s not so much a question of the money we're saving, the important thing is that we could potentially lose the information otherwise," says Ho.

Dollars and cents aside, the definition of success for SportSG is good engagement. Ho says, "For me, success is when our people look at these photos, comment on them, and engage on social media. We can see that a growing pool of photographers is now keen to keep contributing to this important resource."

About Sport Singapore

Sport Singapore is a statutory board under Singapore's Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth. Founded in 1973, it encourages Singaporeans to lead active lifestyles through innovative sporting experiences.

Industries: Government & Public Sector
Location: Singapore