The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) have a problem. Millions of people from around the world would love to squeeze into the grounds at Wimbledon each year to cheer on their favourite players but only 500,000 lucky people can actually be accommodated over the course of the tournament.
So the AELTC have set out to create a digital experience that allows those fans from everywhere access to engaging and data-driven personalised content that gives them “the next best thing to being there”. Helping them do that is IBM who have been Wimbledon’s technology and digital partner for over 25 years.
And at IBM we believe that there are six constantly evolving elements that define how we help to shape the Wimbledon experience in SW19 and beyond.
1.Content remains king – and with the explosion of material across a range of platforms, context, relevance and seamless navigation are essential. By providing real time insights around breaking match records faster than anyone else, IBM supports Wimbledon in being ‘first to market’ with content, helping it rise above the noise of other global media outlets. This summer there will be even more context than ever before, with leader boards of all-time greats and alerts in advance of newsworthy milestones being hit.
2. We design a consistent experience on any Platform, allowing fans to find personalised content quickly and easily. Whether it’s desktop, smartphone or even apple tv (new for this year), it needs to beautifully and intuitively designed.
3. Data informs content – and is now at the heart of the sporting experience. It shapes how the story of a match is told to a global audience. We harness, analyse and deliver these data-driven experiences in real time. During The Championships, IBM typically captures 3.2 million data points from 19 courts across 13 days with an accuracy target of 100% and a sub-second response time. It does this using highly trained tennis analysts and transforms that data in near real time to provide insights to commentators and media helping to bring The Championships to life for TV fans globally.
4. Technology changes – and in the era of the internet of things, designing for the device is not enough. Experiences need to be created for fans in the context of where they are. This year sees the introduction of Hill vs. World vs. Queue – a piece of social interaction that is rendered in a responsive web page across all digital channels. Questions are posed to those on The Hill via the large screen on the Hill, to those in the Queue, new for 2016, and to “the world” via Wimbledon’s social channels. The responses are analysed and presented back to both communities. The objective is to create a connection between the physical location and the digital world to unite Wimbledon fans on and offsite. If you can’t attend, you can get a sense of connection with those who can.
5. And they have to be delivered fast. Today, designing at the speed of delivery is essential – if you miss the moment you don’t get a second chance. Performance is everything. In under four seconds, the match insights IBM captures are used to update millions of digital devices around the world, delivering a fan experience that supports the AELTC’s digital vision to be the next best thing to being there.
6. Throughout the years, Wimbledon and the values it stands for rarely seem to change. But Audience expectations are always evolving. So new for this year is a Cognitive Command Center built using IBM’s Watson and hybrid cloud technologies. The solution will ingest feeds across multiple social media channels to automatically understand, reason and learn the most relevant and emerging topics of conversation as they relate to Wimbledon, as well as other major sporting events, providing those insights to the digital editorial team.
By identifying common topics of interest, IBM can help Wimbledon identify opportunities to better serve related articles, posts and images. For example, the Cognitive Command Center could identify emerging conversations around a Swiss football game at the same time as a peak in interest around a moment in a Roger Federer match. Using these insights, Wimbledon will be able to make rapid content decisions to engage and inform sports fans during a summer filled with numerous major sporting events.