IBM and Infosys take their AI battle to tennis courts

London, UK – Bangalore, India: Tech giant IBM and India’s top IT services company Infosys are pushing hard their artificial intelligence (AI) technology offerings in the sports field, particularly in tennis.

Both companies are grabbing some share of the huge millions and billions of dollars that are spent on the sport of tennis annually by the tennis governing body and tournament organizers.

For instance, ATP and Infosys recently have renewed their technology services partnership for two more years, until 2020. As per the partnership, which actually begun in 2015, Infosys will continue as a global technology services partner and platinum sponsor of the ATP World Tour, as well as the Nitto ATP Finals.

Under this ongoing partnership, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) body will continue to leverage Infosys’ technology capabilities like artificial intelligence (AI), deep analytics and insights. Plus Infosys has got the mandate to completely revamp the digital platforms of ATP.

In fact, Nia – Infosys’ AI platform has been playing a key role in creating content such as ATP Beyond the Numbers, which is a unique analytics series that deep dives into player performance. Also, there’s the ATP Stats Leaderboards, a new statistical way to understand and measure performance of ATP World Tour players, leveraging data sets spanning 27 years all the way back to 1991.

And then, there’s the Second Screen capability, which offers valuable information on the strengths and weaknesses of players, enabling them and their coaches to review strategies and improve performance.

In addition, Infosys has played a significant part in building the ATP’s new PlayerZone app, which servers the tennis ecosystem in terms of the ATP players, support teams, staff and coaches providing a wide range of operational aspects information on the tour and other real-time notifications and features.

“Our work with the ATP has gone from strength to strength in showcasing the future of tennis using technology such as AI and analytics, and in providing unique and differentiated digital experiences for players, coaches and most importantly the millions of tennis fans across the world,” said Pravin Rao, COO – Infosys.

“Technology is playing an increasingly leading role in enhancing our understanding and analysis of our sport as well as enabling us to forge greater engagement with our worldwide fanbase. We are delighted to extend our partnership with Infosys, a great partner to the ATP since 2015, for two more years to 2020,” commented Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President.

On the other side, IBM and the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) have been closely working together on the technology front, particularly AI technologies over the past many years. In fact, IBM recently unveiled new AI technologies for The Championships 2018 organized and hosted by the AELTC.

These AI technologies will not only provide unique data insights and analytics to enable fan engagements and business efficiency, but also play an effective role in the digital aspects.

For instance, the AELTC’s prestigious lawn-tennis tournament – Wimbledon has been leveraging AI technologies since 2015; however, during the recently concluded 2018 edition, it deployed IBM Watson based AI system for automating video highlights with core focus on capturing player emotions and also improved the turnaround time by 15 minutes.

Built by IBM Research scientists and IBM iX consultants, this AI system auto-curated highlights based on analysis of crowd noise, players’ movements and match data to help simplify the highlight video production process and focus on key moments in the match.

The system came very handy to the Wimbledon editorial team in the area of video production process, highlight packages and timely broadcasts to viewers globally.

To make the tournament more interesting with some social media experience, an IBM Watson powered Wimbledon Messenger was built for social assistance for off-site court activities and was delivered within Facebook Messenger.

This new initiative was an extension and complimentary to ‘Ask Fred’, which is Wimbledon’s in-app AI assistant launched last year. Besides, IBM iX team also rebuild Wimbledon’s portal to improve delivery of content and engaging user experience keeping in view with near future scenarios.

In addition, IBM also redesigned its SlamTracker, works by analyzing the players’ Cognitive “keys” to the match to understand which tactics to look for in a head-to-head match and provide alternative views to different types of fan. More so, IBM Watson helped Wimbledon on the creative side as well by creating its official 2018 Poster.

While, IBM has been providing AI technologies to Wimbledon during past two years, its security had detected and blocked over 200 million suspicious events during last year Championships.

Interestingly, IBM has been associated with Wimbledon since 1990 as the technology partner.

“The solutions that IBM uses to improve the fan, player and media experience at Wimbledon are the same technologies and solutions that are used to transform industries and professions,” said Sam Seddon, Wimbledon Client & Programme Executive – IBM.

“Supporting Wimbledon in achieving their mission statement requires constant innovation and transformation to not only meet but exceed their expectations. This is why IBM has been Wimbledon’s technology and innovation partner since 1990,” added Seddon.

Certainly, this shows how the two tech companies IBM and Infosys are not just tapping AI led business opportunities on the different trade fronts but also on sports front as a new vertical to earn new revenue.

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