Tennis is witnessing increasing technology penetration that is boosting its efficiency and transparency.
New IBM Cloud and AI feature enhancements debuted at the Wimbledon 2022 tennis championships in mid-June, bolstering digital fan experiences around the world and keeping tennis lovers better connected to the players, matches and the overall tournament in London. A new “Win Factors” feature adds details on how IBM’s AI systems provide insights into upcoming Wimbledon matches, while a new interactive “Have Your Say” feature allows Wimbledon fans opportunities to register their own predictions for tennis matches at the event. IBM has been the official technology partner of The Championships for 33 years.
Infosys signed on for Roland Garros
Earlier in the same month, French Tennis Federation (FFT) working with Indian IT company Infosys revealed the latest innovations that will usher in a new era of technology-driven sports viewing and fan engagement. The two organizations are kickstarting their five-year extended partnership through a range of 3D, AR, VR and AI-powered experiences. Beyond the court, the partnership will also deliver a new STEM1 initiative that leverages tennis as a platform to educate and inspire young people about the impact of science and technology in sport.
IBM creates digital fan experiences
Co-created by the All England Club and IBM for Wimbledon.com and the Wimbledon app, the new features join a comprehensive suite of digital fan experiences – including the award-winning1 IBM Power Index with Watson, IBM Match Insights with Watson and Personalised Recommendations and Highlights Reels – all designed to help global audiences stay more informed and engaged with players, matches and the tournament.
Microsoft transformed NBA with AI on the cloud
Powered by AI on the cloud from the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Back in 2020, Microsoft and the NBA had announced a partnership that changed basketball. The NBA’s vast array of data sources and extensive historical video archive became available to fans through state-of-the-art machine learning, cognitive search and advanced data analytics solutions.
Real-time data overlay on live match footage
At Roland Garros, Infosys Stats Flash will track records broken, and performance across the tournament with real-time data overlaid on live match footage. The Infosys Match Center will also feature a new interactive visualization, called Patterns of Play, which delivers in-depth views of player tendencies and winning tactics. Together these capabilities enable a new, data-driven broadcast experience.
IBM Cloud and AI are the latest tools that IBM uses to help the Wimbledon tennis championships deliver great experiences for tennis fans and players since IBM signed on 33 years ago as the official technology partner of the event. And now, with two more cloud and AI enhancements to again bolster the digital experiences of Wimbledon fans the world over, IBM has again hit the mark to make this year’s tennis championships even more interesting and interactive for fans.
Fan to get a new match, player insights
IBM’s cloud, hybrid cloud, and AI capabilities and services are already in broad use by enterprises around the world, and Wimbledon has been no exception. Working together, the All England Lawn Tennis Club – the organizers of the Wimbledon championship – and IBM created the Wimbledon website and a Wimbledon app for tennis fans to stay up to date on the events. Both the app and website take advantage of powerful IBM Watson technologies that led to specialized Wimbledon-focused services, including the IBM Power Index with Watson, IBM Match Insights with Watson, Personalized Recommendations, and Highlights Reels.
The latest IBM Cloud and AI capabilities are great incremental upgrades that add cool new features for Wimbledon fans to gain intriguing new insights into the matches and players at the 2022 Wimbledon championships.
The “Win Factors” upgrade is particularly helpful for fans. Here, IBM Cloud and AI are delivering what IBM calls “enhanced explainability” to the existing Match Insights feature created by IBM in the past. “Win Factors” provides fans with an increased understanding of the elements affecting player performance, such as the IBM Power Index, court surface, player rankings, head-to-head comparisons, the ratio of games won, net of sets won, recent performance, yearly success, and comments from tennis media pundits.
Have your say
The other new interactive feature, the “Have Your Say” upgrade, for the first time gives Wimbledon fans the opportunity to register their own predictions for match outcomes between players using the Wimbledon app and on Wimbledon.com. This is exceptionally cool for diehard tennis fans to be able to make and compare their own Wimbledon match predictions with the aggregated predictions of other fans and with the AI-powered “Likelihood to Win” predictions generated by IBM and Watson.
This capability is bound to help drive excitement and bragging rights during this year’s championships. I also love that this is a very public use of important technologies that show the world what they can do in events where millions of eyes are watching.
Underpinning these new IBM Cloud and AI features at Wimbledon 2022 are IBM Watson and IBM hybrid cloud, using a combination of on-premises systems, private clouds, and IBM Cloud. In this system, IBM Cloud provides the foundation and scalability for the digital experiences by hosting and processing data from matches that are fed into AI models built using IBM Watson Studio and IBM Watson Discovery.
It is fun to watch each year as IBM Cloud and AI find new ways of enhancing digital fan experiences at Wimbledon in the last few years through IBM Watson and other important technologies. IBM works this magic in other sports as well. In 2020, for example, IBM Watson worked with ESPN Fantasy Football to make player “trades” more equitable for millions of fantasy football participants. It will be interesting to see how these new IBM Cloud and AI feature enhancements improve the 2022 Wimbledon tournament for its fans around the world.
(Abhijit Roy is a technology explainer and business journalist. He has worked with Strait Times of Singapore, Business Today, Economic Times and The Telegraph. Also worked with PwC, IBM, Wipro, Ericsson.)
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