IBM has announced a host of improvements to the digital offerings it provides for the Wimbledon tennis tournament that starts on 22 June.
IBM said that the system takes advantage of cloud, mobile and social technologies, as well as analytics powered by Watson with InfoSphere streams, and that fans will have better access to real-time scoring, courtside action and insights.
The first major update will be to the Wimbledon.com website and mobile app, which has been redesigned to be more responsive from any device for those who can't make it to the event.
"When we got together with IBM and discussed what is right for the Wimbledon Championships we wanted that homepage 'wow' experience, and you'll see that this year with a video of a man running a lawnmower across the court grass, which is different from what people will have seen before," said Alexandra Willis, head of digital and content at Wimbledon.
"Another example is that we've used a long application along the bottom of the homepage. Although this goes against what websites would traditionally use, we wanted to create a focused featured content area with everything in one place, in a ‘less is more' approach, making it simple so people know where to go."
The website and app have been redesigned to encourage users to be more engaged with the content but in a more natural way. For example, the app will work in a smarter way for visitors to the ground, encouraging them to engage with their smartphones while at the event.
"We will be measuring the success of the data [IBM is collecting] in terms of engagement [so that] we can give people what they are interested in without making them have to find it," said Willis.
IBM said this engagement won't be long-form streaming of matches, but more about updates and deeper player analysis so that users of the website and app have "data much more at their fingertips".
One of the goals is to encourage people who want to find out what's going on at the tournament while at work, such as by showing quick clips or highlights from matches.
"We want them to get into a rabbit hole experience, like YouTube. This is where we'd like to get to," added Willis.
iBeacons are also being tested at various locations in and around Wimbledon, such as at nearby train stations, so that walking past an iBeacon will send a message to the Wimbledon app outlining current conditions at the park such as ticket queues.
In terms of social media, Wimbledon will work with IBM for the second year running to help raise the profile of the Championships as opposed to marketing it financially, such as with ticket sales.
"There's a lot of noise on social media," said Willis. "If you spend a little you can rise above that noise. It's not about selling but more about creating awareness; a test to see how we can improve awareness of Wimbledon between tennis fans."
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