Written by Alejandro Artiles Castellano, IT Teach Lead at AIDA.
Hello to all those passionate about statistics and automation! Today I want to talk to you about the incredible power of automating tasks in any aspect of our life. It doesn’t matter if you are a video game fanatic, a sports fan or someone who just enjoys quantifying everything, automation can make your life easier and optimize your daily tasks.
In my search for tools to automate a specific task, I found myself faced with several challenges. I wanted to pull stats from the matches I play on the Xbox to FIFA23 and save them in a Google spreadsheet, but I couldn’t find a suitable solution. I tried using some tools like IFTTT, Zapier, etc., but none of them were able to offer me a service to correctly recognize the image data I needed (like the one on the cover).
That’s when I realized I needed a more powerful alternative. Doing some research, I discovered that major cloud players like Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services offered image recognition services. I was looking at a few like Azure Computer Vision but I’m not at my best as a programmer 🙂 …
I did not give up hope. I found an ingenious solution using the shortcut tool on my iPhone.
Shortcuts is a feature built into iPhone devices that allows you to automate tasks and create customized workflows. With the Shortcuts app, users can combine simple or complex actions into logical sequences to perform specific tasks at the touch of a button or by activating a voice command. These shortcuts can be created by the user or downloaded from the Shortcuts Gallery, where a wide variety of predefined shortcuts created by the community can be found.
By using iPhone shortcuts, users can save time and simplify repetitive tasks. You can create shortcuts to perform multiple actions at once, such as sending predefined messages, playing music, adjusting device settings, interacting with third-party apps, and much more. In short, shortcuts are a powerful tool that extends the capabilities of your iPhone by automating tasks and simplifying your daily experience.
If you are not from the 🍏
rotte… club don’t worry, in theory there is alternative for Android, it is known as “On-Device Actions” or “Quick Actions”. These features are available on Android devices starting with Android 7.0 (Nougat) version.
Here is the process I followed:
- Take the screenshot on the Xbox; this is sent directly to my Xbox cloud space.
- With the Xbox app on the iPhone, I download the screenshot.
- Next, I created a custom shortcut that performed the following:
a. Using the input image and a table with the image areas from which I wanted to extract the data, I applied text recognition functions for each of them.
b. I extracted the data of interest, such as goals, dribbles, shots and passes of both teams.
c. I combined all the extracted data into a tab-separated text string (TAB), which made it easy to copy and paste into the Google spreadsheet.
Here is the complete table of the data I wanted to extract:
|Datos a extraer||Inicio del recorte||Tamaño del recorte|
|Goles equipo local||860,40||80×80|
|Goles equipo visitante||970,40||80×80|
|Nombre equipo local||500,40||250×50|
|Nombre equipo visitante||1140,40||250×50|
|Regates equipo local||256,250||300×150|
|Tiros equipo local||256,500||300×150|
|Pases equipo local||256,750||300×150|
|Regates equipo visitante||1500,250||300×150|
|Tiros equipo visitante||1500,500||300×150|
|Pases equipo visitante||1500,750||300×150|
In the following image you can see how the whole process works. There are still parts that can be further automated and improved, but as my friend Javier would say, this is an incremental iterative process.
Google Sheets statistics
Once all the data was obtained, I saved it in a spreadsheet with columns such as Date, I am (Local or Visitor), Local Goals, Visitor Goals, Local Dribbling Success, Local Shooting Accuracy, Local Passing Accuracy, Visitor Dribbling Success, Visitor Shooting Accuracy and Visitor Passing Accuracy.
The spreadsheet is prepared to generate the statistics I am interested in thanks to the use of pivot tables and other formulas …
If you want to confirm for yourself that I’m not the best FIFA player in the world, or if you feel like making a copy of the spreadsheet to keep your own stats:
Automate, automate and automate.
Automation is the future and, in companies like AIDA, it is essential to optimize and do more with less. We have evolved from traditional systems with physical servers to manually managed virtual servers, but now we are moving into new frontiers. Infrastructure as code and other modern technologies allow us to automate and scale our IT systems more efficiently and flexibly.
So, no matter if you’re a passionate gamer, a statistics fanatic or just someone looking to optimize your daily life, automation is a powerful tool that can save you time and effort. Don’t be afraid to explore new ways to automate and simplify your daily tasks!
And, as always, remember that at the end of the day, statistics never lie, even if you’re not the best FIFA player!
See you next time and let’s automate!