by Thor Olavsrud

IBM brings Watson’s cognitive computing to sports

Oct 21, 2015
AnalyticsConsumer ElectronicsIBM

Under a trio of new partnerships, IBM Watson will power apps that will help prevent concussions, change the nature of training in golf and transform the game-day experience of Pittsburgh Penguins fans.

IBM took cognitive computing into the sports world today with a trio of partnerships under which cognitive applications-powered by Watson will help prevent concussions, change the nature of training in golf and transform fans’ game-day experiences. The partnerships with Triax Technologies, Spare5 and 113 Industries will use the power of cognitive computing in different ways.

[ Related: The Internet of Things comes to the NFL ]

“Cognitive is a new form of computing that represents a seismic shift in technology,” Lauri Saft, vice president, IBM Watson Ecosystem, said in a statement today. “We’ve moved beyond systems that are programmed — the technologies most of us use today — to systems that understand, reason and learn. These latest partnerships exemplify the entrepreneurial nature of our Watson ecosystem. Like so many other industries, sports is awash in data, and cognitive computing allows IBM’s partners like Triax Technologies, 113 Industries and Spare5 to apply deeper insights to all of that information to improve athlete performance and redefine the fan experience.”

Reducing concussions

Triax Technologies develops and manufactures products to ensure the health and safety of athletes. Its new Triax Smart Impact Monitor (SIM) is a wearable sensor that can be embedded in headbands or skullcaps to track the force and frequency of head impacts. The company says (SIM) empowers parents, coaches and athletic trainers with the tools to improve player safety and refine technique in real-time. Using Watson language service, the device can factor in more diverse data sources to analyze sentiment and infer cognitive and social characteristics.

[ Related: IBM looks to let Watson Health ‘see’ ]

It’s in the hole …

Watson’s deep learning, natural language and vision capabilities are powering Watson Golf Pro from Spare 5. The cognitive app is a personal caddy that amateur players can consult while at the driving range or on the course. It’s been trained with a corpus of knowledge from contracted golf professionals on mechanics and drills. By “seeing” a golfer’s swing, the app can provide feedback for improving that swing.

Keeping the fan engaged (and spending)

113 Industries is bringing Watson to hockey. It’s working with the Pittsburgh Penguins to transform the fan game-day experience with 113 Industries’ “Pi” service embedded with Watson natural language and cognitive capabilities. This allows the Penguins to analyze large volumes of fan-based data to develop specialized offers and services for fans at the CONSOL Energy Center. This includes concessions to merchandise and pre-/post-game entertainment.

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