IBM Brings Watson to the US Open

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2015-09-02 Print this article Print
IBM big data

Indeed, IBM is teaming with the USTA to bring together the predictive analytics, cloud, mobile and social technologies to enable tennis enthusiasts to follow every US Open serve, volley and match point in real time.

For instance, this year, for the first time, IBM's streaming analytics technology will automatically identify and alert the USTA to record-breaking player achievements and milestones in real time, enabling significant championship stats and personal career highlights to be shared with fans via social media, Web and news sources.

IBM also enhanced its SlamTracker application to provide deeper analysis of player and ball position data to offer a better understanding of emerging player and match dynamics. This feature augments match analysis by uncovering hidden performance patterns that impact player performance and dynamics that influence the outcome of a match.

IBM SlamTracker provides live scores and statistics during matches. The application offers up information on aces, serve speed, winners and other key statistics in real time to give fans an immediate, accurate visual sense of a match in progress. SlamTracker provides US Open fans with useful analysis, insight and engagement as the match unfolds, including ball and player movement via a simple dashboard. Analyzing where a ball lands and how far a player runs in a given match offers a dynamic dimension to match analysis that uncovers patterns and insights into player performance that impact the outcome of a match.

IBM has added a Social Share feature to SlamTracker to enable fans to instantly share emerging match insights with friends and followers via Facebook.

In addition to analyzing real-time data, SlamTracker delivers historical player, match and tournament data. IBM also has embedded social sentiment data into SlamTracker, providing an analysis of Twitter conversations about players while they are on the court, including measurements of volume and tone of the sentiment over the course of the match.

SlamTracker analyzes more than 41 million data points from eight years of Grand Slam tennis match data to identify performance indicators called the "Keys to the Match" that can affect a player's ability to succeed. During a match, SlamTracker synthesizes the real-time data, including serve statistics and winning shots that allow fans to interact with the data to gain deeper insight into match dynamics.

"Year after year, IBM's technological expertise creates an incomparable mobile and digital experience for US Open tennis fans," Nicole Jeter West, senior director of Ticketing and Digital Strategy at the USTA, said in a statement. "We're excited to partner with IBM again to push the boundaries of fan engagement and entertainment to bring the US Open to life and promote the game of tennis to fans across the globe."

Throughout the tournament, fans can instantly access a vast range of tennis stats and information, including scores, in-depth analysis and live video. The IBM Interactive Experience in collaboration with the USTA develops mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, placing match stats and tennis court action at fans' fingertips to enhance their overall US Open experience. The US Open mobile apps also offer an interactive second-screen experience for fans watching the tournament on TV.

Moreover, IBM designed and developed the US Open tournament Website,, with new data sets and advanced data visualizations that are powered by IBM SlamTracker analytics and cloud computing technologies.

IBM notes that the same IBM mobile, analytics, cloud and social technologies that enable the USTA to connect with millions of global tennis fans throughout the tournament also help IBM's customers in every industry. Big Blue says many businesses can learn from how sports organizations are using analytics, cloud computing and other technologies to better understand and improve their daily operations.

For instance, during most of the year, the USTA runs like a small business, but during the two-week US Open tournament it becomes a demanding data- and performance-hungry organization that rivals a large bank, hospital or retailer, IBM said.



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