IBM outfits Wimbledon with AI-powered fan tech
- IBM has partnered with The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) to bring four digital strategic innovations to this year's Wimbledon tennis Grand Slam, as detailed in a press release.
- The four cognitive and data insights technologies include: a mobile-minded IBM SlamTracker, which helps highlight matches of interest with real-time scores, stats and insights; a Watson-powered cognitive assistant called "Ask Fred"; AI-powered automated video highlights to help "scale and accelerate" content creation, including through a 360-degree video camera; and a "What Makes Great" solution that analyzes 44 years' worth of sports coverage to provide fans with a new perspective on athletic achievement.
- "Ask Fred" will augment the award-winning "My Wimbledon Story" feature included with official apps around the event. The tech will help curate experiences for actual attendees of Wimbledon with dining recommendations and an interactive map of the venue, according to the IBM release.
Wimbledon may be a legacy event — it's been around for well over a century — but the AELTC is likely looking to upgrade the tournament in a modern way with cutting-edge tech and Watson-powered AI, in particular. The IBM partnership recognizes the growing importance of crafting compelling content for sports and entertainment that goes beyond the television set, and several of the solutions being offered from IBM focus on efficiency of content production and then getting that content in front of eyeballs.
These types of innovations around viewing and fan experiences will only become more pressing as TV continues to grapple with ratings declines spurred by cord-cutting and the rise of digital video alternatives. Major sporting events are a natural fit for AI-data analysis given their stats-driven, highlight-centric nature. AI can be used to crunch the numbers and string together highlight reels at a faster clip than can be accomplished manually, and IBM and the AELTC are smartly bringing that editorial and analysis to the place people are more often spending their time — on their smartphones.
IBM has been integrating its technology with major tennis tournaments for several years. The company created a mobile-heavy experience for the 2015 U.S. Open, for example.