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How Cloud Computing is Enhancing the Experience of the 2021 US Open Featured

How Cloud Computing is Enhancing the Experience of the 2021 US Open "Roger Federer serving during one of his matches at the 2012 London Olympics."

The US Open Tournament is the final major event in the professional tennis season. Its venue, located in New York City, and its schedule, which includes many primetime night matches, make it compelling viewing for serious and casual tennis fans alike. This year’s event features the return of vaccinated crowds to the stands that were left empty last year.

IBM has had a long association with the US Open, providing statistics and measurements that inform spectators and make commentators seem incredibly prescient. This year the company is rolling out new cloud and AI resources that promise to enhance the event for fans in the stands and television viewers. 

Creating an Enhanced Fan Experience 

IBM is introducing new applications that build on a synthesis of the hybrid cloud and the AI capabilities of the company’s Watson supercomputer. Through apps and websites, fans can obtain information about their favorite players and upcoming matches that were previously unavailable.  

IBM Power Rankings with Watson is a hybrid-cloud and AI-generated ranking of player momentum that is useful for predicting winners for each singles match in the tournament. The algorithms behind the Power Ranking combine analytics of recent statistics and performances with natural language processing that understands what individuals in the media are saying about a player or match.  

Match Insights with Watson will identify matches that may be particularly interesting or pose the potential for upsets. The insights are provided by using the same raw materials for analytics as are used in the Power Rankings. Fans may choose to watch specific matches based on these insights and can see how their favorite players are expected to fare as the competition progresses.  

Slam Tracker is a fan-facing real-time and historical data analysis tool available on the web or as an iPad app. Before a match, predictive analytics examines over 41 million data points to generate “Keys to the Match” that can be tracked in real time. Advanced analytics combines aspects of the competition like player movement and shot performance to uncover patterns that may impact the outcome of a match.   

Better Television Broadcasts 

Broadcasters and commentators have the power of AI at their disposal while covering a match. Real-time and historical data is made available to broadcasters so they can identify key statistics and convey them to the audience. So when Chris Everett tells you someone is taking advantage of their opponents second serve, she has the stats at her fingertips. 

These statistics are also responsible for the informative graphics displayed on your TV screen. Video clips can be filtered so only certain types of shots are displayed, providing viewers with deep insight into player strengths and weaknesses in a given match.  

Improving Player Performance 

IBM’s video and data analysis is provided to players and coaches within 30 minutes of a match’s conclusion. A player-only website is available, enabling players to dissect their performance while it’s still fresh in their minds. It’s a great way for a player to identify areas to work on before the next round begins. 

As AI and cloud computing continue to mature they will find more applications in everyday life and enhance society’s experiences in as yet unimagined ways. The technology on view at the US Open is only a taste of what’s to come. 

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 Robert Agar

I am a freelance writer who graduated from Pace University in New York with a Computer Science degree in 1992. Over the course of a long IT career I have worked for a number of large service providers in a variety of roles revolving around data storage and protection. I currently reside in northeastern Pennsylvania where I write from my home office.

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