IBM Watson Helps Pittsburgh Penguins Advance Fan Experience

IBM's Watson cognitive computing system has entered the realm of professional sports, helping the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins enhance fan experience.

IBM big data

The Pittsburgh Penguins are using 113 Industries’ Pi service, powered by IBM’s Watson cognitive computing system, to help transform the fan experience before, during and after each home game

The Pittsburgh National Hockey League (NHL) franchise is using 113’s Pi service to analyze large volumes of fan-based data to develop specialized offers and services and to create entertaining game night experiences for fans during their visit to the CONSOL Energy Center.

Pi is based on 113’s proprietary technology platform that uses IBM’s Watson cognitive computing capabilities and natural language APIs to analyze large volumes of consumer data, extract patterns and discover key insights that lead to new, highly adoptable products and services.

“The use of Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities enables us to analyze millions of data elements to identify and connect consumers’ attitudes and values to behavior and engagement at a scale not possible earlier,” said Anupam Singh, president of 113 Industries, in a statement.

Consumers and sports fans have become accustomed to on-demand customized offerings. Major industries such as hospitality, transportation and E-commerce have begun to shift to this model, and sports and entertainment are doing it as well. In an effort to better serve their fans, the Pittsburgh Penguins plan to use the Pi service to customize the experience of attending a game at CONSOL Energy Center -- from the time fans purchase their tickets to their time in the arena and their use of concessions, merchandising and pre-game/post-game entertainment.

The Penguins plan to apply the insights gleaned from this technology to tap into the Millennial generation, a growing demographic in the city of Pittsburgh given the rise in technology brands in the city. Creating specific offerings and programs aligned to these “new” Pittsburghers will help grow the fan base and help these Millennials connect and share the experience of enjoying their beloved Penguins with other fans, IBM said.

"The Pittsburgh Penguins have a very passionate fan base, and by using 113 Industries’ Pi service, powered by Watson, we look forward to developing service offerings that would give every fan experiencing a game at the CONSOL Energy Center a one of a kind engaging event," said James Santilli, vice president of marketing for the Pittsburgh Penguins, in a statement.

Razi Imam, CEO of 113 Industries, said his company works with several Fortune 500 companies, but the Penguins are the first NHL team to use the company’s Watson-based technology.

Meanwhile, in addition to teaming with 113 amplify the game-day experience for fans, IBM announced partnerships with Triax Technologies, and Spare5 and 113 Industries to develop cognitive applications powered by Watson that will help athletes to train better and to revolutionize golf training.

"Cognitive is a new form of computing that represents a seismic shift in technology,” said Lauri Saft, vice president of IBM Watson Ecosystem, in a statement. “We've moved beyond systems that are programmed -- the technologies most of us use today -- to systems that understand, reason and learn. These latest partnerships exemplify the entrepreneurial nature of our Watson ecosystem. Like so many other industries, the sports industry is awash in data, and cognitive computing allows IBM’s partners like Triax Technologies, 113 Industries and Spare5 to apply deeper insights to all of that information to improve athlete performance and redefine the fan experience."