IBM scores 3 all-star partnerships for sporting Watson

30 December 2015

IBM has partnered up with three US-based tech start-ups, Triax TechnologiesTM, Spare5 and 113 Industries. The firm will work with the companies to provide the power of the Watson cognitive computing system to various sports-based technologies developed by the companies. IBM has become increasingly active in the sports technology segment, recently launching its Sports, Entertainment and Fan Experience consulting practice.

The sports industry in the UK is worth £20.3 billion according to EY, while an analysis by A.T. Kearney places its global value at roughly $700 billion. Given the considerable value of the market, finding ways to improve profession sports and peoples’ game, thereby making it to the top of the sporting pile – where the majority of the money is to be found – is becoming not merely a personal achievement, but also a technical scientific one.

In a bid to improve the performance of athletes IBM has announced partnerships with Triax TechnologiesTM, Spare5 and 113 Industries. The firm will work with the three new partners to develop the cognitive applications powered by Watson. The aim of the partnerships is to improve the athletes training regiments, revolutionise golf training, as well as amplify the game-day experience for fans.

IBM partners with Triax TechnologiesTM, Spare5 and 113 Industries

Triax Technologies is a US-based firm, founded in 2012, that is specialised in the creation of impact sensor technology. The technology is used in contact-sports to provide information about the force of player impacts, improving the safety of players.  IBM’s engagement with the firm will see the utilisation of the Watson language service. The impact sensor device will be able to factor in more diverse data sources to analyse sentiment and infer cognitive and social characteristics to provide a more holistic view of athletic safety and performance.

Founded in 2014, Spare5 shot to fame with an app that allows users to complete small business tasks when they have nothing to do, in exchange for cash. As part of its partnership, the app developers will create an 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. Watson will ‘see’ how a player swings their club, and advise on how to better implement fundamentals.

IBM Sports Consulting Practice

113 Industries was founded in 2010 to take advantage of the explosion of social media information for business. By identifying consumer needs from social media platforms, the company helps drive new product designs for clients. IBM will work with 113 Industries to transform the game-day experience for hockey fans. Leveraging 113 Industries’ ‘Pi’ service, through the Watson natural cognitive capabilities, the team will be able to interpret large amounts of fan information to create various service offerings to fans visiting the CONSOL Energy Centre.

Recently, IBM also launched its dedicated Sports, Entertainment and Fan Experience consulting practice, which is based in its IBM Interactive Experience Studio in Atlanta. The practice is staffed by 100 people, with additional expertise from 20 different studios IBM Interactive Experience has around the world. As part of the announcement, the firm also formed a consortium of specialists to expand digital sports across the US. In the UK, IBM has also brought its Watson cognitive computing technology to the sporting world as it worked with Wimbledon to improve the fan experience.


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