IoT Devices Hit Centre Court at Wimbledon

Article Key

Technological innovations such as connected tennis rackets, wearables and audience monitoring tools are a smash at the world’s most popular tennis match.

The Wimbledon tennis tournament in London has historically been a showcase of up-and-coming stars. This year is no different, as IoT solutions are making a smashing debut.

According to Business Insider, IoT is helping players and merchandisers at this year’s Wimbledon event. Connected cameras are taking pictures of spectator’s facial expressions during the games. Those photos will be sent to IBM’s Watson, which will analyze them to determine which players are the fan favorites. Wimbledon wants to use this information to strategically market tennis and player merchandise and sell tickets.

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And the cameras aren’t the only IoT gear at the match. On the court, some players will use IoT technology from Babolat. Connected tennis rackets with built-in sensors collect Big Data on strokes, including swing velocity, angles and performance. The players and coaches can then access this information through an app that analyzes the data and make recommendations on improving the game.

The Babolat Play app and dashboard determines hitting power, endurance and technique and shows players where on the racquet they hit the ball and how fast their velocity is on each serve. The app doesn’t play country favorites at Wimbledon either, as it is available in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German and Japanese.

Big Data, FTW

Already the IoT racket technology is having an impact on the sport worldwide. According to digital-security company Gemalto, The International Tennis Federation officially approved the racket-sensing technology for major competitions last year. During last year’s French Open tournament, data from connected rackets was available to fans on the Internet, enabling them to monitor individual stats and better understand how their favorite players were performing in the game.

The IoT data collected during these high-profile tennis matches also equates to new revenue streams for sponsors and supporting organizations. As Lewis Sherr, Chief Revenue Officer at the US Tennis Association mentioned in an interview with CIO Magazine, IoT is a game-changer for the sport of tennis. He noted that the devices and the information they collect bring new opportunities for sharing Big Data with sponsors and demonstrating visibility and impact of competition in real-time.

“We've gotten much more sophisticated in the data we can share with our sponsors. We can give them nearly real-time data on the visibility generated, all over the world, from signs that surround the courts,” Sherr added. “We can precisely equate that visibility to media value to allow our sponsors to calculate the return on investment.”

With new smart sensors, apps, signs and wearables appearing in every major competition this year, it seems that tennis is already showing a lot of love for the possibilities of IoT.

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