IBM’s Watson supercomputer is joining Andy Murray, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic on the courts of SW19 as the firm prepares to use its cloud analytics to deliver enhanced coverage of the Wimbledon tennis championship for 25th year running.
Enhancements this year include the roll out of a new mobile website and various tweaks to the way social media content is analysed that pushed Wimbledon commercial director Mick Desmond to tell The Inquirer that it’s the “next best thing to being here”.
Wimbledon’s website, which saw 19.7 million unique users during the 2013 Championships, has a brand new mobile version and it will mean that users can create a personalised feed of news content. This means results can be narrowed down depending on players, countries, and category of match, with data updated up to 140,000 times per day.
Another new addition this year is “Hill vs World” that will poll fans sitting on Henman Hill via the big screen and face them off against the TV and Internet audience responding through social media.
Wimbledon Social Command Centre, an IBM Softlayer analytics console, will work tirelessly behind the scenes to let the social media team look at engagement in real time and adjust content accordingly. Some of the things that’ll be monitored are which matches are being talked about the most on a national, regional and global level, as well as other trending topics surrounding the tournament.
IBM’s Customer Experience Lab will utilise algorithms to look at what is being said as well as how much engagement is taking place within each conversation and work out which participants are the most influential. The firm has been developing systems that can create “psycholinguistic analytics” that take personality traits from social media posts and “life event detection” that uses social media stats to detect “critical life moments”.
48 tennis analysts will still be stationed around the grounds to manually collect data that is then put into the IBM cloud that takes the data and creates the statistics and graphics that are seen on Wimbledon TV coverage and Slamtracker. The latter has been enhanced for 2014 with a system that can track aggressive shots by using an algorithm that looks at the speed of the ball, where it lands, how far the other player moves to retrieve it and where on the racket it is hit.
2014 is IBM’s 25th year at Wimbledon and with its Watson supercomputer helping to power its private cloud it will continue be as flawless as the 24 years preceding this one.