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IBM Watson Media Takes Center Court at US Open

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Tennis fans who want to make sure they don't miss a single highlight from the US Open are getting a little help from IBM. The newly launched IBM Watson Media integrates with IBM Cloud Video and AI to analyze images, video, language, sentiment, and tone to help the US Tennis Association deliver the best highlights and improve search and discovery and content recommendations.

Using a technology IBM calls Cognitive Highlights, IBM Watson Media analyzes things like statistical data, sounds from tennis matches, and player reaction and facial expression to select the most important moments in the tournament. The system then ranks the shots from seven courts at the US Open and automatically curates highlights., which will be available in four ways:

  • Each day, the USTA will post a Highlight of the Day, as ranked by Watson, on its Facebook page.
  • Fans that "favorite" players on the US Open apps will receive real-time push notification alerts about those players’ highlights. Fans on iOS 10 can play the highlights within the lock screen.
  • On the player bio page, video highlights will be available across all of the USTA’s digital platforms.
  • Onsite in the player’s lounge and in the fan-facing IBM Watson Experience on the plaza near Court 9.

"The US Open is packed with so much action across so many courts that even the fastest video team is challenged to keep pace with what’s happening," said Noah Syken, IBM VP of Sports & Entertainment Partnerships, in a press release. "To meet that challenge, Watson is now watching the matches alongside the USTA to help bring fans closer to the best moments across the courts shortly after they happen. We’re seeing this technology come to life through tennis, but the entire IBM Watson Media portfolio has the potential to impact many industries."

IBM showed a proof of concept of the technology at NAB in April, using footage from the 2017 Masters Tournament, and the IBM Watson Media portfolio—which has also been employed to generate "cognitive movie trailers"—will be commercially available in September.

Watson Media offers several features, according to the press release:

  • Content Search & Discovery: Refined, detailed searches of content down to the scene level based on rich metadata identifying items and context.
  • Recommendation Uplift: More informed suggestions of new content for viewers based on a deeper understanding of video content.
  • Intelligent Closed Captioning: Speech-to-text that can transcribe audio and improve by learning topic-specific terminology.
  • Spotlighting: Identification of content – such as violence or adult language – that may require further screening and labelling

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