Home IBM Helps Tennis Fans “See Through Walls” with Augmented Reality

IBM Helps Tennis Fans “See Through Walls” with Augmented Reality

It may come as a surprise to some but augmented reality and the wide world of sports go way back. Glowing hockey pucks and yellow first-down lines on the football field are just a few of the early examples, but today AR is a part of every-day sports broadcasts. More recently, however, AR has begun to make its way into the live sports experience, and an app recently developed by IBM for the U.S. Open Tennis Championships is an excellent example of this transition.

The app is only available on the iPhone and features functionality one would expect for a major sports event. Scores, news, videos, schedules, tweets, maps, etc. – the traditional sports fare is present and accounted for. This year, however, IBM has upped the ante by incorporating augmented reality into the app to let users “see through walls,” as they describe it.

By holding the phone up and looking around with the camera, users can view information about the tournament – including live scores, food menus, transportation, first-aid and restroom locations – in real-time AR perspective. Fans of augmented reality may not be blown away by this implementation, but the exposure for the technology from the tournament and from IBM is significant.

Rick Singer, IBM’s Vice President of Sports Technology Partnerships, was interviewed recently (see embedded video below) by Fox Business’s Brian Sullivan who asked, “What’s in it for IBM?” Singer notes that IBM can show to its clients that the company is on the cutting edge and experimenting with new technologies, but he also very succinctly summed up why AR is important.

“This is all about data. It’s about how you take data, aggregate it and make it simpler to use,” says Singer. “This is like having your best friend with you that knows everything about the Open right by your side because you can take all of that data and you can make better decisions.”

Making better decisions with more useful aggregation and presentation of data. Now that’s a great slogan for augmented reality!

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