IBM Debuts Watson Media at the 2017 US Open

IBM is launching Watson Media, a new suite of AI-powered solutions on the IBM Cloud that analyze images, video, language, sentiment, and tone, at the US Open. By combining IBM Watson with IBM’s video capabilities, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) will be able to rapidly 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 analyzing 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:

  • Each day, the USTA will post a Highlight of the Day, as ranked by Watson, on its Facebook page.

  • Fans that “favorite” players on the US Open apps will receive real-time push notification alerts about those players’ highlights. Fans on iOS 10 can play the highlights within the lock screen.

  • On the player bio page, video highlights will be available across all of the USTA’s digital platforms.

  • Onsite in the player’s lounge and in the fan-facing IBM Watson Experience on the plaza near Court 9.

“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,” says 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:

  • Content Search & Discovery: Refined, detailed searches of content down to the scene level based on rich metadata identifying items and context.

  • Recommendation Uplift: More informed suggestions of new content for viewers based on a deeper understanding of video content.

  • Intelligent Closed Captioning: Speech-to-text that can transcribe audio and improve by learning topic-specific terminology.

  • Spotlighting: Identification of content – such as violence or adult language – that may require further screening and labeling

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.

Helping Fans Navigate and Personalize Their US Open Visit
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,” says 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 customizable and responsive to an individual’s needs.

Additional IBM Technology Solutions at the US Open

  • SlamTracker is now analyzing player and ball position data, which enables analysis of pace of play and proximity to the baseline, and is now using Watson Machine Learning to train the player style models used as part of the Keys-to-the-Match analysis.

  • IBM Cloud helps the USTA scale up in any or all of the public cloud locations and/or any of the private cloud locations. In addition, due to the multi-active cloud architecture, if an entire cloud location were to be taken off-line for maintenance, the operation of and associated digital platforms would be unaffected.

  • Watson for Cyber Security helps security analysts who protect the U.S. Open digital platforms, providing additional context on threats by mining unstructured data and current security research, drawing from its learned knowledge base of over 2 million cybersecurity documents.

  • US Open Digital Platforms – IBM designed, developed, and is hosting the US Open’s MobileWeb for iPhone and Android platforms, all of which share scores, highlights, and stories from the tournament.

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