Brilliard Service – a Willi-idea competition finalist
With the Brilliard service, a new lift for billiards enthusiasts and pool halls
Jere Heikkinen, a Lemi resident who hails from Kainuu, is participating in two final teams in the Willi-idea ('Wild Idea') competition. One of his ideas is an application that encourages physical exercise, Moowus, and the other is a system called Brilliard, developed for those who play billiards.
The analysis of automatic information has already become widespread in a great many sports. Jere Heikkinen provides an example – the national football team of Germany, whose gold on the World Championships level was also partly supported by the information delivered by data analytics. In billiards, the players do not, however, benefit yet from automatic analysis – even if the sport is a good candidate for it. Brilliard brings the solution.
Mr Heikkinen relates that the collection of information on billiards games is currently difficult. Players follow their own game largely by pen and paper, by which they try to find their weaknesses. Billiards coaches are also rare and remote training relationships pose challenges. The system currently under development automatically analyses the game and recommends exercises for the user that strengthen weak components. “Via Brilliard, coaching relationships can be several, and remote coaching relationships are easier. The service compiles information on the individual's games, on the basis of which the coach can plan the practice programme with comments. Enthusiasts can also utilize the service in developing their game,” Mr Heikkinen adds.
Mr Heikkinen, who works as a managing director in his day job, has gathered an impressive team together. There is a five-person team involved in development, one of whose members is the coach of Finland's national team. The rest of the team is composed of a data analyst as well as machine vision professionals. “The first step is to test the system at the outset of next year with selected pilot customers. The goal is the establishment of a company round the business idea,” Mr Heikkinen explains.
There is enough market potential for Brilliard. In Europe, there are over 800 thousand licensed players playing for member teams, and in the world as a whole there are several million. When active enthusiasts are included, players total dozens of millions.
The service is not designed merely for end users. According to Mr Heikkinen, it offers pool halls an activation and procurement channel for new customers. By means of Brilliard, the halls can offer their customers new types of services alongside the traditional table rental business, which will raise the numbers of players and visits to the halls. Mr Heikkinen believes more visibility will be obtained for pool halls and for the entire sport by means of this service, when game events are actively distributed in the social media.
The two-day training programme arranged for the finalists also brought new perspectives for Mr Heikkinen’s team in presenting the concept as well to main target groups for the service. “Alongside the pitch, what was clarified for us in Kaija Pöysti’s training was how the idea should be presented to various interest groups. We also got a handle on the main target group through Kaija’s tips,” Mr Heikkinen adds.