As play gets under way at the Wimbledon tennis tournament in London, IBM is serving fans with an interactive mobile experience with new analytics and social capabilities.
This year marks the 25th year IBM has partnered with the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) in support of the Wimbledon tournament and provided new ways to access and interact with the latest tournament news and courtside action as it happens.
This year, IBM is providing an enhanced interactive mobile experience; redesigned and simplified SlamTracker analytics that encourages engagement; and a new Social Command Centre powered by IBM SoftLayer cloud that will provide AELTC with insights into social media conversations about the championships.
"We continue to look for new ways to innovate and strengthen our leadership position in the sports industry, and one of the ways we will do this is by delivering content and information about The Championships to fans in the way that they want to consume it, no matter where they are," Mick Desmond, commercial director of AELTC, said in a statement. "Working with IBM is a winning partnership because it allows us to create a unique digital environment that delivers stats, video and information to our fans whenever they want it on all devices and is the next-best thing to being there."
IBM redesigned the Official Wimbledon iPhone and Android apps and added new functionality to the iPad app for 2014. The app provides comprehensive mobile coverage across all three platforms, as well as easier access to live scores, results, news, live blogs, photos, live video and radio, video highlights and much more. The personalization in the phone allows fans to tailor their own unique feed to get the information and experience they want.
In addition, for 2014, SlamTracker has been redesigned and simplified, and features a new interface that encourages engagement and delivers insights to Wimbledon fans. SlamTracker leverages historical and real-time data to add depth to The Championships' experience. SlamTracker's "Keys to the Match" predictive analytics offers insights into a match by identifying three performance indicators that will likely affect a player's performance.
And the new Wimbledon Social Command Centre helps the Wimbledon content team understand and respond to fans' needs in real time. The Social Command Centre delivers insights into current and evolving social media conversations taking place on and off the court. This insight will not only help inform AELTC but also provide them with content to draw people back into Wimbledon's digital channels.
The Wimbledon Social Command Centre consists of evolving topics, key social statistics, player conversations, social heat map, information about topics being discussed about specific courts, a look at influencers and sentiment analysis of how the Wimbledon brand is being perceived.
The influencers section helps fans understand who is driving the Wimbledon social conversation, why they are influential and what are they saying. This is delivered using network algorithms from IBM's Customer Experience Lab that taps into IBM's research troves.
During the two weeks of play at Wimbledon, the AELTC feeds on data and requires access to accurate and dynamic content to meet the demands of millions of tennis fans. During 2013, there were more than 19 million unique visitors and some 430 million page views of Wimbledon.com during The Championships. This is impressive by any standards, especially so for a business that for 50 weeks of the year is a tennis club in southwest London.
Annually, IBM helps the AELTC expand its infrastructure to meet these demands and then scale back to support regular operations following the tournament. IBM is using SmartCloud Orchestrator to optimize digital platform hosting for the tournament. The IBM Watson Foundation's big data and analytics platform captures and analyzes relevant data from multiple sources, enabling IBM to predict Web traffic and adjust the cloud infrastructure based on demand while offering access by a multitude of devices, such as smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.
This dynamic provisioning powered by IBM servers and storage in three geographically dispersed locations virtualized as one, analyzes historic Web use, player popularity, the schedule of play and the social media buzz about particular matches.
"The Championships allow us to demonstrate how these same cloud, analytics, mobile and social capabilities are being used by IBM clients globally—for example, to improve transport networks and improve pediatric care," Sam Seddon, Wimbledon Client & Program Executive for IBM, said in a statement. "By using Wimbledon-focused social media feeds to better understand fans, customers, in real time, we are enabling AELTC to better manage their digital presence and understand how its brand is perceived."