Wimbledon 2019 will feature more AI power than ever before

(Image credit: Yann Renou/Shutterstock.com)
(Image credit: Yann Renou/Shutterstock.com)

This year's Wimbledon tennis championships are set to be the most technologically advanced yet thanks to the latest releases from IBM.

The technology giant has once again partnered with the All-England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), the organising body behind the world's oldest tennis tournament, set to start on July 1st, for a number of significant new tech upgrades.

The latest updates in the 30-year partnership between the two organisations builds on the expertise of IBM's Watson AI service to continue bringing the 133rd championships even further into the modern age.

Feel the noise

“For 30 years we have been working with Wimbledon to introduce new technologies that enhance fan experience," Sam Seddon IBM Wimbledon Client Executive said of the news.

"For more than a century, IBM has responsibly ushered into the world revolutionary technologies, building enterprise solutions that are trusted as part of our DNA, and we are dedicated to delivering AI systems that are built responsibly. It seems fitting that to mark the 30th year of our partnership, one of the new innovations for The Championships, Wimbledon 2019 will be eliminating bias in creation of the video highlights package.”

With the AELTC still running its own proprietary media and highlights operations on-site, the need for greater accuracy when creating video clips is paramount.

Watson, which is already used to identify the most exciting rallies for highlight reels using audience analysis, has been taught to better recognise acoustics to make this more accurate.

The new Watson Acoustics analytics can detect exactly when the ball has been struck, allowing the AELTC tighter cropping of highlight clips, saving vital time and maximising every second of rights footage. 

The system can also use Watson Open Scale to recognise levels of crowd noise and excitement levels of the players themselves. This will reportedly allow it to remove bias when searching for highlights from players with a particularly vocal following or those who are particularly animated on court.  

“For 30 years, IBM’s technology innovations have been at the heart of our efforts to continuing our journey towards a great digital experience that ensures we connect with our fans globally wherever they may be watching and from whatever device that may be," said Alexandra Willis, Head of Communications, Content and Digital, AELTC.

"Our partnership with IBM is critical to us in helping us to disrupt the traditional perceptions of Wimbledon through innovative, world class uses of technology, in particular, enabling us to place content with fans where they want to consume it and acknowledge the ever-increasing focus on video and new content formats.”