What are the latest technological innovations at Wimbledon this year? TechWeekEurope finds out
It’s started a little later than usual this year, but with Britain set for a heatwave, there couldn’t be a better time for the annual Wimbledon Championships at SW19.
Widely regarded as the most prestigious of all of tennis’ four Grand Slam tournaments, the All England Club (AELTC) works hard to keep it that way, with a wide-ranging investment programme to improve facilities, increase prize money and profile.
Technology plays an important part in this quest and Wimbledon is introducing a range of new innovations for the 2015 Championships. TechWeekEurope guides you through the big innovations and IT issues impacting SW19 this year.
IBM has been a partner of Wimbledon for more than 25 years and provides detailed information for every point of the Championships for the benefit of fans, players and broadcasters. The company also powers the official website, mobile apps and monitors social media information to help the AELTC understand what fans demand and how to better run the tournament.
This year, IBM Watson will be deployed to help organisers provide more information to spectators and viewers, while new statistics will be collected to power SlamTracker.
But what about fans attending the All England Club? Mobile-happy fans will have noticed there is no Wi-Fi at the site, making it difficult to access the official app, email and social media. The AELTC explained that it has no plans to introduce wireless connectivity to the site until it is confident it can deliver a satisfactory service and that it is constant talks with mobile operators about improving coverage at SW19.
This year, beacons will be trialled to provide location-based information to users of the Wimbledon app, but don’t use your phone on court and definitely don’t break a selfie stick.
There is no official Apple Watch or Android Wear application this year, but that doesn’t mean the AELTC isn’t paying attention to wearables. Wimbledon partner Jaguar Land Rover has launched a project to capture the emotions of tennis fans using sensor technology.
In ground atmospheric sensors will collate audio levels and infrared; biometric wristbands will capture heart rate, movement and location around the grounds; and sociometric tracking will the conversation among fans around the world on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Along with the selfie-stick, the drone is this year’s persona non grata at Wimbledon, with police already seizing one hovering over the AELTC on Saturday.
“It is an offence to fly a drone within 50 metres of a structure. Anyone intending to fly a drone should give prior consideration to the surrounding landscape and any structures or venues,” said Inspector Roger Robinson of Merton Police. ““While it is not our intention to prevent people from enjoying the use of drones, it is important that regulations are adhered to. Police will take positive action against anyone committing an offence.”
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