IT giant IBM has launched IBM Watson Media, a new suite of AI-powered solutions on the IBM Cloud that analyse images, video, language, sentiment and tone, at the US Open Tennis Championships. By combining IBM Watson with IBM’s video capabilities, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) will be able rapidly to share highlight videos of more matches while engaging and informing fans more than ever before.
The US Open will use one of the first solutions available through IBM Watson Media called Cognitive Highlights. Developed at IBM Research with IBM iX, Cognitive Highlights can identify the match’s most important moments by analysing the statistical tennis data, sounds from the crowd and the reactions of a player using both action and facial expression recognition. The system then ranks the shots from seven US Open courts and auto-curates the highlights, which simplifies the video production process and ultimately positions the USTA team to scale and accelerate the creation of cognitive highlight packages.
The finished highlight videos will be available in four ways:
“The US Open is packed with so much action across so many courts that even the fastest video team is challenged to keep pace with what’s happening,” said Noah Syken, IBM VP of Sports & Entertainment Partnerships. “To meet that challenge, Watson is now watching the matches alongside the USTA to help bring fans closer to the best moments across the courts shortly after they happen. We’re seeing this technology come to life through tennis, but the entire IBM Watson Media portfolio has the potential to impact many industries.”
Leading up to the US Open, IBM’s cognitive highlights technology was tested as a proof of concept at this year’s Masters Tournament, and also was served as part of the content production system at Wimbledon. The successful results and positive reception at both events led to the technology being integrated into the new soon-to-be commercially available solutions from IBM Watson Media.
Beyond the US Open, the solutions to be enabled include:
IBM Watson Media is designed to provide companies with a more comprehensive view of video than other technologies on the market. IBM Watson Media will provide a deep analysis of objects, people and words, as well as concepts, emotional overtones and character personalities. This deep understanding of video can help companies deliver more relevant content to consumers, provide advertisers more effective matches for their products and help production teams find specific parts of videos. Available in September through the IBM Cloud on the IBM Marketplace, it will provide a packaged product that can be scaled and used across a company’s video assets.
In addition to generating AI-powered match highlights, IBM is elevating the fan experience at the US Open by incorporating a Cognitive Concierge in the US Open app’s Guest Info feature, which will answer a variety of questions from fans attending the tournament. Enabled by Watson APIs, the app will provide information about scoring, schedules, transportation, and dining options featuring a natural language interface – meaning attendees can just type their questions and Watson will respond. Depending on the question, Watson may also plot the response on an interactive map of the venue, which will also indicate an attendee’s current location, where available.
“An afternoon or evening at the US Open, especially for first time visitors, has really never been easier to enjoy,” said Kirsten Corio, USTA Managing Director, Ticket Sales, Hospitality and Digital Strategy. “Watson’s capabilities within the US Open app will help our fans plan ahead, move around the grounds at their own pace, and always know where they are and where they want to go.”
This particular application with Watson is also in action as part of IBM’s collaboration with Pebble Beach Resorts in California. In addition, these services are in place at various hotels, retail stores, and banks, as IBM continues to help make physical spaces – in the sports world and beyond – more customisable and responsive to an individual’s needs.
Additional IBM technology solutions at the US Open: