IBM’s high-tech mobile apps for Wimbledon fans


19 Jun 2009

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IBM is trialling several new technologies at the Wimbledon Championships 2009 this summer, one of which is a Twitter mobile app called the Seer Aggregator and another that will provide a real-time augmented reality experience through a phone camera for Android users attending Wimbledon.

The Twitter Aggregator works on most Java-enabled mobile phones, gathering Wimbledon-based tweets, including firsthand accounts and real-time updates on queues, seating, taxis, travel information, live match updates and order of play for attendees.

The most exciting initiative by IBM is the Seer Android Beta application that takes advantage of the T-Mobile G1’s digital compass and precise GPS functionality to essentially offer Wimbledon visitors a taste of augmented reality.

Using the camera on their Android handset, the Seer application will take in a live video feed and overlay information based on the extensive GPS mapping around the grounds, returning information on points of interest and live data.

For example, aiming the camera lens at a court will identify the court number and will also display information on the current match being played, as well as past ones.

"These smart applications were designed with tennis fans in mind and add a whole new dimension to the event, whether you are attending in person or sitting in your garden 5,000 miles away," said Rob McCowen, marketing director at the AELTC.

"I can see the incredible potential here to change the way people will engage with major sporting and other events both now and in the future, as the applications help address common challenges such as getting lost, encountering queues or momentarily missing some of the action."

"IBM has always been committed to helping the All England Club improve everybody’s experience at Wimbledon by making better sense of the data and information that is all around us," said Alan Flack, IBM client executive for the AELTC.

"We recognise that people come to Wimbledon to watch tennis, so anything we can do to help make their day smoother, to help them find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently, just makes their visit more enjoyable. By exploring new technologies, we can bring information to life by making it more useful, engaging and accessible."

The Seer Twitter Aggregator is available for download as of yesterday, and the Seer Android Beta will be available to download from 22 June.

By Marie Boran