Wimbledon 2017: The Tech

by borne . July 5, 2017

Our favourite time of year has come round again! It’s time to settle down with a glass of Pimms and spend the next two weeks pretending to be a tennis expert from the comfort of your sofa (or actually go to Wimbledon if you’re organised).

Last year we wrote a post all about the technology used at our favourite summer event, and this year we have decided to do the same (thoughts on making this an annual thing?). The technology used at Wimbledon does a great job of showing just how much the industry is growing, and we can’t help but wonder what 2020 might bring!

Here’s our quick roundup of all the fancy tech you can experience at both the courts and at home – when you’re not sipping pimms or celeb-spotting that is.

Ask Fred

Enabled by IBM Watson, Ask Fred is the Wimbledon chatbot, available to attendees via the Wimbledon app.

Ask Fred will be able to answer a variety of questions, from where to eat or drink to where to buy a Wimbledon towel (priorities). Three public WIFI hotspots have also been added to the grounds which is great for those of us who tend to use up all our data sending smug Snapchats to our desk-bound friends.

Artificial Intelligence

IBM have delved into the world of artificial intelligence this year, introducing an AI-powered system which was tested at the 2017 Masters golf tournament in April.

The system will create a ‘cognitive highlight’ reel after each game, based on what it deems the most exciting and dramatic moments of the tournament.

In past years, the post-match highlight reel would have to be manually selected by a producer monitoring the footage, so this is a big step up for the AELTC. The technology will make its decisions based on several factors such as the number of aces played, speed of the ball and breakpoints, but it will also analyse human behaviour. Loud cheering and reactions from a player which are different to their norm (it will also have access to past matches) will be noted. The clips are then ranked and formed into a two-minute highlight video, available to viewers approximately 30 minutes after each match.

Augmented Reality

If you fancy getting up close and personal with your favourite players then this next one is for you – as the club will be unveiling  a 360-degree video of the Wimbledon practise courts!

Visitors and fans will be able to get a detailed insight into how the players warm up and practise, while also discovering more about their favourite players. This ‘behind the scenes’ technology looks set to be a huge hit with hardcore tennis fans.

What Makes Great?

Another technology set to wow the public this year is IBM’s ‘What Makes Great’ solution.

The technology uses historical data to identify key performance measures against a set of topics required to make a great champion. Providing fans with far more than just various tennis skills, What Makes Great wlll take into account mental attributes such as passion and performance under pressure.

Analysing over 50 million tennis points ranging as far back as 1990, over 6000 newspaper articles and 11 million words worth of social media commentary, What Makes Great is for anyone who’s interested in what makes a great tennis player and for anyone who fancies themselves as a Wimbledon champion in the future!

Technology In Sport

Advances in technology are having a profound impact on the way the public experience large sporting events, and it’s great to see it happen first hand through an event as exciting as Wimbledon. Could AI in sport be the way to make advanced technologies more accessible to the public? We think it just may be! Keep an eye on our blogs page.

Let us know if you pay a visit to Wimbledon this year and what you think of the latest tech!