Triple Play: IBM Watson Scores Three All-Star Partnerships to Change the Game for Athletes, Fans

Pittsburgh Penguins small blog pic

Ecosystem Partners Transform Player Safety, Training and the Fan Experience with Cognitive Computing

ARMONK, NY – 21 Oct 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced partnerships with Triax TechnologiesSpare5and 113 Industries to develop cognitive applications powered by Watson that will bolster concussion prevention in athletics, revolutionize golf training, amplify the game-day experience for fans and ultimately transform the future of sports.

These organizations are part of a growing ecosystem of partners that are building applications, services and businesses embedded with cognitive technology across 17 diverse industries and business disciplines such as sports and entertainment, retail, travel and hospitality, and healthcare.

Watson’s ability to interact in natural language, analyze large volumes of unstructured data, respond to complex questions with evidence-based answers, and discover new actionable patterns and insights makes it uniquely suited for the domain of sports, an industry that’s becoming a much more scientific undertaking driven by data and numbers to improve the health and performance of both amateur and elite athletes.

Sports annually generates nearly $700 billion around the world, according to consulting firm A.T. Kearney, and the market is growing faster than Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in nearly every country — even many times more in some major markets such as the United States, Brazil and the United Kingdom. At the same time, the demand for artificial intelligence infused apps is increasing, with IDC predicting that by 2018, half of all consumers will regularly interact with services based on cognitive computing.

“Cognitive computing represents the latest analytics innovation that sports organizations are adopting to accelerate decision-making and gain a competitive advantage,” said Lauri Saft, Vice President, IBM Watson Ecosystem. “IBM’s partnerships with Triax Technologies, 113 Industries and Spare5 exemplify the entrepreneurial nature of our Watson ecosystem to transform how we work and play – in this case, improving the safety and performance of athletes while redefining the fan experience.”

These three partners have specifically tapped into a variety of IBM Watson APIs to deliver the following offerings for today’s sports organizations:

Scientific Research and Innovation: 113 Industries is working with the Pittsburgh Penguins to transform the game-day experience for hockey fans. By leveraging 113 Industries’ “Pi” service embedded with Watson natural language cognitive capabilities, the Penguins can analyze large volumes of fan-based data to develop specialized offers and services for fans visiting the CONSOL Energy Center. This can range anywhere from the concessions to merchandise to the pregame/postgame entertainment. For example, by applying cognitive computing to marketing, the Penguins will be armed with the insights needed to tap into the growing millennial demographic in Pittsburgh and communicate with fans in various ways – to ensure they have an enjoyable experience and return to future games.

Mobile Crowdsourcing: Spare5 is creating a cognitive app called, “Watson Golf Pro” that leverages Watson’s deep learning, natural language, and vision capabilities to act as a personal caddy that amateur players can consult while at the driving range or on the course. Based on the corpus of knowledge about mechanics and drills obtained from contracted golf professionals combined with Watson’s ability to “see” a user’s golf swing will enable the app to provide feedback on how to implement better fundamentals. The Watson powered app can also deliver information and feedback in the right tone based on learning the nuanced personality of the users to better motivate the player to learn and take action.

Impact Sensor Technology: Triax Technologies has a wearable tech headband embedded with sensors that measures the impact of head trauma and Watson natural language capabilities that equips athletic trainers with the data needed to improve player safety and increase player efficiency. The Watson language service enables the wearable to factor in more diverse data sources such as social media to analyze sentiment and infer cognitive and social characteristics to provide a more holistic view of athletes. For example, if an athlete showcases risk-taking behavior on their social media accounts, the personal trainer can monitor that athlete to ensure he or she is using proper form on the athletic field to help prevent injuries. Sports teams are also starting to experiment with Triax to prevent concussions, a prevalent injury associated with contact sports, given up to 3.8M sports related head injuries occur a year.

IBM has a 20 plus year heritage in applying Sports Analytics in a variety of ways to improve the coach, fan and player experience. Today, Watson is being applied to add a layer of sophisticated cognitive computing capabilities to further transform the sports world in the areas of professional and amateur athlete development; and enhanced fan experience.

Today’s sports and wellness partner examples join recently announced efforts by Edge Up Sports in the competitive world of fantasy football; ORRECO in helping to train the world’s best athletes; and Brightminded in changing the way personal trainers manage their fitness business, clients and knowledge.These ecosystem partners are leveraging the Watson Developer Cloud, a platform used by more than 77,000 developers globally to pilot, test and deploy their business ideas.

IBM Watson: Pioneering a New Era of Computing

Watson is the first open cognitive computing technology platform and represents a new era in computing where systems understand the world in the way that humans do: through senses, learning, and experience. Watson continuously learns, gaining in value and knowledge over time, from previous interactions. With the help of Watson, organizations are harnessing the power of cognitive computing to transform industries, help professionals do their jobs better, and solve important challenges.

To advance Watson, IBM has two dedicated business units: Watson, established for the development of cloud-delivered cognitive computing technologies that represent the commercialization of “artificial intelligence” or “AI” across a variety of industries, and Watson Health, dedicated to improving the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers and other related health organizations to surface new insights from data to and deliver personalized healthcare.

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