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Watson, where did I hit my golf ball?

IBM and the Pebble Beach Company have partnered to add Watson’s artificial intelligence to a virtual concierge that shows guests around the Pebble Beach golf resort.

The collaboration highlights how IBM is targeting the golf business and virtual concierge experiences with its AI technology. IBM also partnered with The Masters golf tournament to use AI to spot great shots, and it used Watson at the U.S. Tennis Open. Pebble Beach is launching a new app that uses the intelligence of Watson — the supercomputing technology that beat the world’s best human Jeopardy player — to guide people around the resort. All told, IBM is targeting its Watson Cognitive Computing technology at 20 different industries.

To promote the app, the companies have tapped star surfer Laird Hamilton and pro volleyball player Gabrielle Reece. While Intel is targeting its technologies at active sports and extreme sports, IBM is going after the golfing set, which has a lot of money to spend.


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The app is embedded with Watson’s Conversation applications programming interface (API), which enables visitors to experience Pebble Beach as if they’re traveling with a local guide.

“We’re pleased to bring the cognitive power of Watson to Pebble Beach through our new app, which will enhance our guest experience whether they are here to explore 17-Mile Drive or to enjoy our award-winning restaurants and shops,” said Bill Perocchi, CEO of Pebble Beach Company, in a statement. “IBM combines industry expertise and cutting-edge technology to deliver a level of engagement our guests haven’t seen before, making the company a great fit in our portfolio of brand partners. This new app will provide a new, transformative way for our guests to enjoy their Pebble Beach experience.”

Above: IBM Watson will help you find your way around Pebble Beach.

Image Credit: IBM

Available for download on iOS and Android devices, the mobile app, designed by IBM iX, is hosted on the IBM Cloud and includes the virtual concierge, through which guests can use voice queries to discover the dining and shopping options at Pebble Beach.

By tapping into the Watson Conversation API, the app can provide answers to requests such as, “Where can I get a burger?” or “I need a souvenir for my daughter.” The technology uses frame-based dialogues, where several options are presented, rather than the command-and-response seen in other machine learning technology.

The app also gives guests a full tour of the 17-Mile route on the California coast, and it can create an express tour for guests who want all the highlights in a shorter time frame.

Guests can use the app to create a 60-second souvenir movie of their Pebble Beach experience, using their own photos, then instantly share it on social networks. They can use an interactive resort guide to discover dining, shopping, and scenic options at Pebble Beach.

They can browse points of interest by category or tap around the map to read menus, make reservations, and get directions to favorite locations around the resort. And the “today at Pebble Beach” feature gives guests information about daily events happening across the resort and allows them to set calendar reminders.

Above: Star surfer Laird Hamilton and pro volleyball player Gabrielle Reece are promoting the virtual concierge app for Pebble Beach.

Image Credit: IBM

“IBM’s work with Pebble Beach Company is a powerful example of how companies are infusing Watson’s cognitive technologies into the lives of consumers and helping enhance the customer experience at the iconic resort,” said Noah Syken, a vice president for the sports and entertainment sponsorships at IBM, in a statement. “Pebble Beach is focused on making its customer interactions even more personal and valuable with the help of Watson. This partnership is reimagining the customer experience, bringing the sights and sounds of 17-Mile Drive to life.”

IBM is also deploying analytics to help the Pebble Beach Company run the resort with smarter and quicker data analysis.

Above: IBM Watson powers the Pebble Beach app.

Image Credit: IBM

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