IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence supercomputer is going to lend its insights to help enhance the fan experience at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.
It will do so via a new cognitive-based concierge feature in the tournament’s official mobile app. To enhance the fan experience at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the mobile app will pilot a Watson-enabled discovery tool that allows fans to input natural language questions and receive immediate responses about a range of tournament topics, such as transportation and directions, food and drink options, and on-site services and facilities.
Accessible via the cloud, Watson will offer cognitive computing, cloud, and analytics. By tapping into the natural language software from the Watson platform, the A.I.-infused app will enable fans to ask questions in natural language and get the information they need to plan and navigate their tournament experience. For example, fans can ask questions like, “Where can I get a soda?” or “Where are the taxi stands?” Due to Watson’s machine learning capabilities, the app also continuously learns from previous interactions, helping further refine its responses over time.
Available for download, the Watson-enabled mobile apps for iOS and Android devices are built to engage and inform U.S. Open fans while enriching their understanding of the game — no matter where they are following the tournament. The apps also offer an interactive second-screen experience for fans watching the event on TV.
“We’re thrilled to have IBM Watson come to the US Open because it places an intelligent engagement platform directly into the hands of attendees that can answer their questions and provide the most relevant information and points of interest,” said Kirsten Corio, managing director of ticket sales and digital strategy at the USTA, in a statement. “Each year, IBM designs, develops and delivers a compelling digital experience that enables us to engage, entertain and inform our fans in entirely new ways, while transforming how they encounter and enjoy the tournament.”
In addition to integrating Watson’s cognitive capabilities into the US Open app, IBM and the USTA are tapping into other Watson services available through the IBM Bluemix hybrid cloud platform to deliver real-time analysis and insights about the tournament. The Watson Speech-to-Text API will “listen” to video-on-demand clips of player interviews and tournament action and will automatically generate subtitles and transcripts for videos published to the US Open website and other digital platforms.
The Watson Visual Recognition API will dynamically analyze every photo taken by the USTA photographers to accelerate identification of photo subjects (players and celebrities), allowing the USTA to speed publication of photos across its digital environment.
“We’re excited to introduce IBM Watson’s game-changing cognitive computing power to the US Open’s digital platform,” said Noah Syken, vice president at IBM, in a statement. “Watson is revolutionizing the way fans can navigate the tournament this year. By tapping into unstructured data, Watson is enabling us to extract and apply insights that can improve how people engage with technology on-site, making their experiences more meaningful and natural.”
IBM’s SlamTracker also delivers a new level of analysis, insight, and engagement as tennis matches unfold. SlamTracker will offer insights based on “pressure situations” within a match that will show the historical performance for a player when in a specific match “situation,” revealing hidden patterns in player and match dynamics. Additionally, SlamTracker enables fans to share insights via their social media accounts with the push of a button.
At the core of SlamTracker’s predictive analytics technology is “Keys to the Match,” which analyzes eight years of Grand Slam tennis data comprised of 41 million data points to identify three key performance objectives a player has to meet to succeed within a match. Prior to a match, fans can access SlamTracker to check out each player’s keys and during the match follow the players’ progress against these keys in real time — point by point.