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IBM Serves Up an Ace Fan Experience with Innovative Technology at The Championships, Wimbledon 2014

New for 2014: Redesigned mobile fan experience; enhanced SlamTracker analytics; and new Wimbledon Social Command Centre powered by IBM SoftLayer cloud
25 Years On and ceaselessly reinventing: The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) and IBM aim to deliver the most engaging Championships yet.

London, UK - 16 Jun 2014: IBM (NYSE: IBM) is marking its 25 year partnership with The Championships, Wimbledon, by bringing tennis fans even closer to the prestigious event, with new ways to access and interact with the latest Championships news and court-side action as it happens.

IBM is serving numerous innovations to Wimbledon fans, including an enhanced interactive mobile experience; redesigned and simplified SlamTracker analytics that encourages engagement; and a new Social Command Centre powered by IBM SoftLayer cloud that will provide AELTC with insights into social media conversations about The Championships.

The engaging Wimbledon 2014 experience continues a tradition that has existed since IBM became AELTC’s technology supplier in 1990. Over the years, the partnership has consistently delivered innovative technology solutions, enhancing The Championships’ experience for players, coaches and fans around the world.

“We continue to look for new ways to innovate and strengthen our leadership position in the sports industry, and one of the ways we will do this is by delivering content and information about The Championships to fans in the way that they want to consume it, no matter where they are,” said Mick Desmond, Commercial Director at AELTC. “Working with IBM is a winning partnership because it allows us to create a unique digital environment that delivers stats, video and information to our fans whenever they want it on all devices and is the next best thing to being there.”

New IBM Technology Innovations at The Championships 2014 include:

  • Redesigned interactive mobile experience for Wimbledon fans – IBM and the AELTC have transformed the Official Wimbledon iPhone and Android apps and added new functionality to the iPad app for 2014. The result is a visually engaging, immersive, personalized and social Wimbledon experience that delivers comprehensive mobile coverage across all three platforms, as well as easier access to live scores, results, news, live blog, photos, live video and radio, video highlights, and much more. The personalization in the phone allows fans to tailor their own unique feed getting the information and experience they want. No matter where they are located, fans can connect to the action on the Wimbledon courts – including scores, stats, live video and match analysis – via their smartphones, tablets, PCs and other devices.

  • Enhanced IBM SlamTracker - For 2014, SlamTracker has been redesigned and simplified, featuring a new interface that encourages engagement and dynamically delivers insights to Wimbledon fans. SlamTracker is a multifaceted aspect of Wimbledon’s digital presence that leverages historical and real-time data to add depth to The Championships’ experience. SlamTracker’s ‘Keys to the Match’ predictive analytics offers ‘fan friendly’ insights into a match by identifying three performance indicators that will likely affect a player’s performance.

  • Wimbledon Social Command Centre – Powered by IBM SoftLayer cloud technology, the new Social Command Centre at The Championships 2014 will boost fan experience on digital platforms by helping the Wimbledon content team understand and respond to fans’ needs in real-time. The Social Command Centre will deliver insights into current and evolving social media conversations taking place on and off the court. This insight will not only help to inform AELTC but also provide them with compelling and unique content to draw people back into Wimbledon’s digital channels.

The Wimbledon Social Command Centre will consist of:

- Evolving topics – Understand what topics are growing or reducing in focus and their relative importance to fans in order to make editorial decisions about content priorities

- Key social statistics - Discover core data points around volume and reach of fan conversation, where it is focused in terms of location, which players it is focused on and what is appealing to fans

- Player conversations - Get insight into what participating players are discussing, what fans are saying about them, and who has the greatest share of voice.

- Social heat-map – Representative world view depicting popularity of topical discussion points surrounding players, performance and results.

- Hill vs World – A global social conversation which will encourage the audience onsite to respond to match-based questions, and compare their responses with the audience offsite.

- Social court - Insight into which topics are being discussed about specific courts around The Championships, and why.

- Influencers – Understand who is driving the Wimbledon social conversation, why they are influential and what are they saying. This is delivered using complex network algorithms from IBM’s Customer Experience Lab that taps into IBM’s $6B annual research and development investment.

- Wimbledon Sentiment – Real- time analysis of how Wimbledon’s own social brand is being perceived, informing adjustments to content and style

Cloud-based Predictive Analytics

During the Wimbledon Fortnight, the AELTC transforms into a massive, data hungry environment that requires access to accurate and dynamic content to meet the demands of millions of tennis fans. During 2013, there were more than 19 million unique visitors and some 430 million page views of Wimbledon.com during The Championships. This is impressive by any standards, especially so for a business that for fifty weeks of the year is a tennis club in southwest London.

Annually, IBM helps the AELTC expand its infrastructure to meet these demands and then scale back to support regular operations following the tournament.

To meet this high demand and the scalability required to support such a high profile event, IBM is now using SmartCloud Orchestrator to dynamically, securely and rapidly optimize digital platform hosting for The Championships. The IBM Watson Foundation’s Big Data and analytics platform captures and analyses relevant data from multiple sources, enabling IBM to predict web traffic and proactively adjust the cloud infrastructure to dynamically accommodate based on demand while offering transparent and real-time access by a multitude of devices, such as smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.

This dynamic provisioning powered by IBM servers and storage in three geographically dispersed locations virtualized as one, analyses historic web use, player popularity, the schedule of play and the social media buzz about particular matches. All this input enables IBM to ensure that just the right amount of resources is provisioned to ensure a perfect visitor experience whilst not ‘over provisioning’ so we don’t waste energy or cost at the same time.

The same kind of technology is used by organizations such as retailers and travel companies who have to accommodate major swings in seasonal demand.

Sport as a Metaphor for Business

“The Championships allow us to demonstrate how these same cloud, analytics, mobile and social capabilities are being used by IBM clients globally. For example to improve transport networks and improve pediatric care,” said Sam Seddon, Wimbledon Client & Program Executive for IBM. “By using Wimbledon focused social media feeds to better understand fans, customers, in real time, we are enabling AELTC to better manage their digital presence and understand how its brand is perceived.”

“In addition, by helping Wimbledon provide a better experience to fans we help them achieve their mission of being the best tennis tournament in the world,” Seddon added. “Our clients across other industries can do the same to improve customer experience and help develop market opportunities.”

Editors’ Note

IBM is the Official Supplier of Information Technology and Consultancy to The All England Lawn Tennis Club which stages The Championships. Since 1990, IBM has worked with the All England Club to introduce new technologies that help bring the wealth of real-time data captured during The Championships to life. IBM sends the captured data around the world in seconds, keeping on-site broadcasters, media and tennis fans everywhere up to date with all the latest scores and statistics. Detailed analytical reports for the players are also available as soon as each match has been completed. During The Championships 2013, the tournament website received 19.7 million unique visitors and 433 million page views.

Contact(s) information

Emma Bennett
IBM UK External Communications
+44 (0) 7976 839109 
Emma.Bennett@uk.ibm.com

Chris Andrews
IBM External Relations
(914) 499-4045
candrews@us.ibm.com

Related resources

Images

IBM SlamTracker has been redesigned and simplified, featuring a new interface that encourages engagement and dynamically delivers insights to Wimbledon fans (Credit: IBM)

Wimbledon Social Command Centre powered by IBM SoftLayer cloud technology (Credit: IBM)

IBM and the AELTC have transformed the Official Wimbledon iPhone and Android apps for 2014 (Credit: IBM)

Fans can connect to the action on the Wimbledon courts via their smartphones, tablets, PCs and other devices (Credit: IBM)

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