The world’s oldest tennis event has always delivered an iconic fan experience. Strawberries and cream, queueing overnight for tickets and pristine grass courts come to mind. For The All England Lawn Tennis Club, running Wimbledon is about understanding the different ways people like to engage with the game and constantly innovating for a diverse audience. For many fans, the mobile app and website are a key part of how they track the action: during The Championships 2022, Wimbledon reached approximately 21 million people through its digital platforms.
IBM has been the Official Technology Partner for Wimbledon since 1990 and is tasked with co-creating new features for the All England Club to evolve the fan experience each year. The IT teams behind the app and website have to step up and deliver on these bold ideas, fast.
We spoke to the IBM team about how they are using Red Hat OpenShift to get these new features up and running quickly and smoothly. Tyler Sidell, technical program director, Sports & Entertainment Partnerships at IBM, told us: “Our team is able to innovate rapidly due to Red Hat OpenShift. You can write once and run on any cloud. It helps our team to push the envelope each year.”
They’ve brought two major updates for 2023:
- Wimbledon is leveraging the latest capabilities from IBM watsonx to introduce an artificial intelligence (AI) commentary feature for match highlights videos for the first time. The tool gives fans the option to add AI-generated spoken narration to highlight reels and turn on closed captions. This means they can catch up on the action across different courts with the feel of a live broadcast.
- Another new feature, the IBM AI Draw Analysis, creates a completely new metric for tennis. It gives a rating for each player in the ladies’ and gentlemen’s singles draws as to how favourable their path might be to the final. The upshot for fans is that they have a world of insights at their fingertips to analyse each player’s draw, where the big upsets and dramas might lie ahead and what this might mean for the outcome of the event.
Put simply, OpenShift is an accelerator. IBM’s developers are building and scaling these new applications (and many others) using containerisation across a hybrid infrastructure of public and private clouds. It entails a huge volume of data: for AI Commentary, the team drew source material from nearly 130 million documents and the final model has three billion parameters. Nearly three million data points are available during the event to be analysed and reproduced at the right time, from the crowd roar and the scores that form the commentary highlights, to unstructured data like media sentiment that feeds the IBM AI Draw Analysis. Data needs to be instantly routed to multiple clouds in different locations, where it feeds a variety of applications. Hence the need for agility provided by containers and a robust, open, flexible platform to be able to orchestrate and integrate data from many sources and transform it into something valuable.
With Red Hat OpenShift, IBM was able to put together and train its AI commentary system within a matter of weeks.
The team is always looking for new data points and ideas for enhancements, so they value the consistency of experience OpenShift provides for developers getting creative and scaling across clouds. The platform lets you focus on deploying intelligent applications by helping automate key tasks like MLOps (machine learning operations).
These core requirements are the same for any of our customers looking to build a reliable hybrid cloud platform. Open source lends rapid innovation and interoperability and Red Hat balances that with quality assurance, security-as-code, enablement, lifecycle management and technical support. This is what we do every day of the week and it is always exciting to see such a tangible end user experience coming to life. I’ve got the Wimbledon App downloaded and can’t wait to try the new features myself!
- To learn more about IBM’s partnership with Wimbledon, go to https://www.ibm.com/wimbledon.
- To learn more about how you can use Red Hat OpenShift in your own business, visit https://www.redhat.com/en/technologies/cloud-computing/openshift.
- You can check out an array of Red Hat customer stories at https://www.redhat.com/en/success-stories.
About the author
Joanna is a technologist at heart and is fascinated by how technology can be applied to business and social challenges. She has worked in the IT industry for more than 25 years, including senior business and technical leadership roles. At Red Hat, Joanna leads the UK team in helping clients solve business challenges with innovative open-source software solutions.