IBM and Wimbledon 2018: serving up AI in pursuit of greatness

All those attending or watching Wimbledon 2018 this year may catch the occasional glimpse of the IBM logo as they read the latest serve speed, but in the background there’s a much bigger picture of activity.

IBM technology and expertise has been helping Wimbledon for nearly three decades; and more recently, in their pursuit of greatness.

In our 29th year of partnership, we’re capturing millions of data points throughout The Championships, and constantly developing new ways to analyse and interpret them. 4.5 million data points were collected by IBM during the 2017 Championships. But it’s not just about player statistics and data. It’s about upping the game to a whole new level for a greater fan experience, with the help of AI.


IBM Watson

IBM Watson’s Visual Recognition System used artificial intelligence to design the official Wimbledon 2018 poster, marking the 150th anniversary of the AELTC (All-England Lawn Tennis Club) – the organisation behind the annual tournament.

But that’s just the warm up event. When it comes to the matches, there’s a whole host of IBM Watson solutions supporting The Championships, behind all the action:

  • IBM Watson Visual Recognition – deep learning algorithms analyse images for insights about visual content
  • IBM QRadar Advisor with Watson – searches for and identifies any potential threats, analysing them to suggest recommended actions

And in other areas not specifically using IBM Watson:

  • IBM Cloud – Wimbledon uses APIs to rapidly develop, test and deliver the technology to make the fan experience unique
  • IBM SPSS Statistics – for deep and accurate insights on match performance, which enhances the player, journalist and fan experience
  • IBM Experience Design – the team behind and the official app
  • IBM Dash DB – a database service delivering both performance and capacity, through the Cloud


The smarter use and understanding of data

Stopping to consider what smarter really means in this context is more important than ever. If we use data in the right way, we can go beyond mere statistics to understand things about the game we simply couldn’t before.

And this isn’t just vital for getting under the skin of tennis matches at Wimbledon; it applies to service providers and businesses, just like yours, large or small, from any industry, around the globe.

Since the partnership with Wimbledon formed in 1990, the world has changed tremendously. Our desire for better insights from data has grown and our analytical capabilities have taken monumental steps forward to support that.

The idea that we can know more from the data available to us is gaining focus. Why?


We can look at data differently now, for new insights

We just have to know how to break down that information. In the increasingly complex world of data, patterns are locked away that no human could ever decipher, at least not in the timeframe we need them.

Modern technologies like AI can tell us things we may not have thought of or had the need to question. And it’s not just about looking at the everyday data, we can now look at player emotions, excitement levels and offer far better personalisation for the audiences, wherever they may be watching The Championships from.

And for those who can’t attend the prestigious event in person there’s the official Wimbledon app, designed by IBM iX, the next best thing to being there. Available on Apple TV, iOS and Android, the app enables fans to engage with everything Wimbledon, wherever they are in the world.

So what does this all mean for a service provider like you?


Learning from the pursuit of greatness

Getting under the skin of tennis is all about discovering what it really takes to pursue greatness within the sporting arena, while delivering a great customer experience.

Businesses need to start thinking about more than just the historic structured data available to them and focus on the vast volumes of unstructured data created every day, for a much deeper level of insight.

In this case, there’s a shared aim in both the sports and business worlds, as both aim to be great in their own ways.

And for you, it’s about delivering great customer experiences, differentiating your services by integrating IBM technologies into your solutions. It’s time to start thinking about a future incorporating AI in to your business.


Find out more about how IBM is helping Wimbledon in their pursuit of greatness at and see how you can find the advantage like IBM and Wimbledon:

Learn more about becoming an IBM Partner

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