Over the past several months, we’ve given Focus Flex waitlist members sneak peeks into our portable camera solution before it becomes available. Now we’d like to give you a chance to learn who made this camera possible.

Not familiar with Focus Flex? Learn about this portable, AI-powered recording solution for club soccer teams. (And be sure to join our waitlist so you can get the inside scoop.)

The Who

“I have been to countless club soccer games in the past year and have learned a ton from our customers,” said Bauer. “I do everything I can to share that knowledge with the rest of the Hudl Focus team so they can see the impact that they're having on the lives of the people who will eventually use the camera. I have the great pleasure of working with our customers to understand what's important, then working with our Hudl Focus development team to build it.”

Alongside Paul is Željka Hassler, lead product designer at Hudl. “As a product designer on the Hardware team, I first worked in tandem with Paul Bauer on the customer experience part of the process, and then later as a designer on the Installation and Activation squad.

“Being a customer experience product design team, we are focused on the experience in the field, within the Hudl ecosystem and with the Focus app. My role on the team now is to keep connecting the dots and encourage a connected, intuitive, empowering experience for our customers.”

The Why

Existing Hudl Focus users have already shown what a difference high-quality video can make for sports teams and clubs. But we knew it wasn’t always easy to get that video. With long tournament days, hard-to-capture pitches and playing nearly year-round, there were many complications to address.

“Recording quality video at a soccer pitch is a challenge for coaches, club directors and parents,” said Bauer. “Hudl has solved this challenge for sports like basketball, volleyball, American football and lacrosse with our other Hudl Focus cameras.”

It was obvious to Bauer—and Hudl—that soccer was up next.

“We've always seen the soccer pitch as the next frontier, a place where we can have a major impact on club teams and their ability to create opportunities for their athletes,” said Bauer. 

We know club soccer is highly competitive and includes frequent travel to various fields for practice and competitions. While coaches and teams reported great success using iPads to film and upload to Hudl, our team could simplify the experience further with an automatic capture solution.

“There were several signals in the market that pushed the team towards the portable camera solution: one of them was the unmet need for a portable, easy-to-set-up automatic camera in the soccer club market; and another one was a closer-to-the-sideline solution that would complement our permanent gym and stadium cameras,” said Bauer. 

The foundational work was done—the team already had the video upload and smart camera aspects done. “Building on top of it, while also diverging to support a portable, anywhere anytime use case, was a great direction to go,” said Bauer.

The Nitty Gritty

In the beginning, we attempted to answer three main questions: what do we already have that works well; what will have the most impact on our customers’ lives; and what is our competition up to." Željka Hassler

The team started from what they already had with other Hudl Focus cameras. After having been in the market for more than three years, and now with more than 11K cameras in use, we had a good starting point. Hassler explained they set up a Focus Indoor camera on a tripod, then tested it with existing software, which then created an experimental environment that allowed the team to move fast and learn quickly. This foundation created a safe space for trial and error for Hudl’s designers.

“Now, we have cameras in the field being tested by beta customers and we are still rapidly learning and improving the experience on tight feedback loops and timelines,” said Hassler.

Bauer shared a common sentiment across all Hudlies who are working to create Focus Flex. 

“A big thank you to all the coaches and clubs who have worked with us throughout this process. We're working hard to deliver a great product to you and could not do it without your help!” 

We’re excited to see how Focus Flex is going to help club soccer teams make every moment count. If you’re not already on the waitlist, join here.