Fans will be able to scrutinise Andy Murray's performance at Wimbledon thanks to a host of new technology being introduced this year

Wimbledon still at cutting edge of sports tech

Wimbledon fans will be able to see a ‘map’ of their favourite competitors’ game thanks to new ball and player tracking technology.

Wimbledon fans will be able to see a ‘map’ of their favourite competitors’ game thanks to new ball and player tracking technology.

Wimbledon has been at the centre of technological innovation in the past, most notably with the introduction of the Hawk-Eye ball-tracking system that has become a central part of the Championships in recent years.

And this year IBM, which has been working with the All England Club for 25 years, will collect data from Hawk-Eye regarding player and ball position as well as shot placement and power in order to create a ‘map’ of contestants play that will be shown on TV during matches and used by commentators as part of their analysis.

"It's more fan engagement on-screen, and it brings another layer of data to consumers, who are used to it now and always want more. It will also help the commentators as it gives them another aspect of the match to look at and talk about," said Sam Seddon, IBM Wimbledon client executive.

For the fans, IBM has also completely redesigned the official apps that it develops for Wimbledon, introducing a host of new social features to not only help users who are lucky enough to be on Henman Hill or at Centre Court, but give those at home the "next best experience to being there".

The Wimbledon Social Command Centre will also be introduced for the first time at this year's tournament, with social heat maps of the hottest topics being discussed on social media, as well as a Social Court feature which will measure which arena is being spoken about the most online and why, with the aim of sending users towards the best action during the fortnight of the competition.

The most interesting feature is called Hill vs World, and will see questions posed to those fans sitting on Henman Hill via the big screens, asking them to answer via the app. Those using location services will even be sent notifications asking them to get involved. The same question will be posed to fans away from the site via social networks, with the two results compared and shared.

Seddon said: "The Club wants to be known as the best tournament in the world. That's a bold statement, and what it means is that with them we want to push to innovate every year."

Supporting the large amounts of data created by the competition and social media users and viewers, the IBM Watson Foundation’s Big Data and analytics platform will be used to capture and analyse data from these various sources, enabling IBM to predict web traffic and proactively adjust the cloud infrastructure using its SmartCloud Orchestrator cloud management technology.

The system allows IBM to analyse historic web use, player popularity, the schedule of play and the social media buzz about particular matches to ensure all the digital platforms operate seamlessly, without wasting time, money and energy by over provisioning.

“The Championships allow us to demonstrate how these same cloud, analytics, mobile and social capabilities are being used by IBM clients globally. For example to improve transport networks and improve paediatric care,” said Seddon.

“By using Wimbledon focused social media feeds to better understand fans, customers, in real time, we are enabling AELTC to better manage their digital presence and understand how its brand is perceived.”

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