Each year, IBM combines business and technology expertise to bring the
thrill and enjoyment of the UK’s premier home-grown Grand Slam tennis tournament to fans worldwide; improve services for players and the media; and support the world-class administration of the largest of four Grand Slam tournaments.
Tennis is often seen as a very traditional sport, lacking the innovation of other sports. But IBM has pushed us to be more innovative by applying cutting-edge technology and first-class business consultancy to the tournament. Innovation is integral to the ongoing transformation of the Wimbledon experience for players, fans, press and club members alike.
said Ian Ritchie, chief executive officer, The All England Lawn Tennis Club.
Our partnership with IBM is an important marketing outlet for the AELTC. We are a small business competing on the world’s sporting stage with an important heritage to uphold. It is IBM’s deep understanding of the club’s brand, mission and values that has maintained the championships position as the world’s premier sporting event.
he concludes. IBM has brought a number of technology innovations to the 2006 Championships, including:
- Training : IBM has streamlined the ball boys and girls pre-tournament training process. Much like the strawberries on offer throughout the tournament, the 180 AELTC ball boys and girls are hand-picked.
Before they take up their positions court-side, they undertake an online training programme developed by IBM. Basic match rules, physical training routines and Wimbledon etiquette are key parts of the training.
Bluetooth Hotspots : From the moment the tournament begins on 26th June, tennis fans can tap into the magic of Wimbledon on their mobile phones via a number of Bluetooth hotspots across the City of London, including Finsbury Avenue Square and The Fulcrum at Liverpool Street. Across the capital, trees have been enabled with the wireless technology to transmit the latest scores and
news to passers by.
Real-Time Identification (RTID) : This year IBM has introduced a cutting edge RTID (Real-Time Identification)
badge scanning technology, which will enable the AELTC to set a new security benchmark. IBM’s RTID tracking system, based on an extensive wireless network, will allow all players, VIPs, tournament officials, press and employees (including some 5,000 temporary staff) access to the site through gates linked to a real time time/security accreditation.
Track Me Down! : Once inside the grounds, officials have access to voice-controlled tracking devices from IBM business partner Vocera Communications which will allow them to communicate with one another and locate each other in an instant using simple voice commands. The Vocera Communications Badge is a wearable device that weighs less than two ounces and can easily be clipped to a shirt pocket or worn on a strap lanyard. It enables instant two-way voice conversation without the need to remember a phone number or manipulate a handset.
Players Performance Report : Players competing on Centre and Number 1 courts are provided with a detailed analysis of their performance. Data captured during the game from scoring, ball tracking and other information systems is collated into a report that players can use with their coaches to quickly identify strengths and weaknesses to improve their game before the next match.
Virtualise It! : IBM Virtualisation Engine / Virtualisation technology from IBM makes it simpler and less expensive the club to optimise and integrate hardware, software, storage, networks and computer systems in open and heterogeneous environments.
Virtualisation decreases cost and simplifies IT management and increases IT utilisation. It is this virtualization capability that powers Wimbledon Online.
The AELTC need a scalable web infrastructure, to accommodate the peaks and troughs of data streamed to the site. Downtime is simply not an option when the demands of the world’s top sporting players, media, onsite spectators and fans across the world must be met. Last year, www.wimbledon.org was accessed by 4.6 million unique visitors who visited the site 29.9 million times in the space of the tournament fortnight alone. The site, which runs on IBM POWER p550, remained failsafe throughout the Championships, meaning that live match data was constantly available on the downloadable real-time scoreboard.
IBM has made Wimbledon a truly On Demand business. Other features of the website include an e-store selling an array of Wimbledon merchandise and an
interactive camera that offers panoramic views of the grounds.
IBM’s involvement in the Championships goes beyond simply stamping our corporate identity on the event and sitting back to bask in the reflected glory of sporting triumph. We are in partnership with the AELTC and are 100 per cent committed to continually providing innovative technology and business solutions to the club.
said Chris Lee, IBM Wimbledon Project Director. The 120th Wimbledon Championships take place at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, London SW19 from 26 June – 9 July 2006.