Following is a guest post from Rick Singer, IBM vice president of client experience, which includes our work with major sports properties:
Here’s a frustrating scenario for a sports fan at any kind of tournament: you’re outside the stadium and hear a cheer break out, but don’t know what action just happened on the court. At this year’s U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, all you have to do is take out your iPhone and use the IBM “Around Me” application to point your phone at the stadium and “see through the walls” to get up to speed on the score and match statistics.
Around Me is an augmented reality application, developed by IBM, for iPhone users at this year’s US Open that allows fans to get a glimpse of what’s happening on the court and also to find the closest restroom, first-aid stand and pizza vendor in the food-court. Now when you take a quick break to get one of those giant tennis balls at the Chase booth, or need a hot dog, not all is lost (in fact, Around Me could’ve found you that hot dog). It works by blending the iPhone’s camera functionality with the global positioning system (GPS) that is embedded in the tennis fan’s iPhone. All of this is supported by a smart infrastructure of IBM technology at the Open and backed up by our data centers. See here for a video that shows how IBM mobile technology is making the U.S. Open smarter:
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Of course, augmented reality and geo-location are great for enhancing the tennis experience for fans at the Open, but what’s also interesting is the implication for future innovation in mobile technology that goes beyond sports. IBM researchers are developing applications for mobile computing that span industries and solutions like Smarter Healthcare, Smarter Retail and Smarter Finance.
In healthcare, IBM is developing methods to transmit a patient’s vital signs from a mobile device back to a central location running analytics to evaluate and predict things like heart attacks. This kind of mobile web technology could actually save lives. Routine healthcare visits might also be done remotely in the future through sensor technology transmitted by mobile devices – these types of systems could even allow for more current and accurate patient records than what we have today.
In retail, IBM is looking at ways that vendors might leverage data from telecom providers to capture customer information and better reach potential clients. With data about what a consumer has recently purchased, who their social networks are and their current location, a retailer might be able to know, for instance, that a consumer likes golf clubs, has friends who like them too, leaves work in midtown at 6:30pm and passes by the sports store on his way home. In this way, retailers can target the right consumers in the right places at the right times through mobile tracking and mobile advertising.
In finance, IBM is evaluating the types of payment systems that will exist in the future. For example, with digital wallet technology for mobile devices, the role of banks will shift within a new ecosystem. By combining the data analytics that banking institutions will be able to utilize, along with mobile advertising for retail and GPS tracking capabilities, IBM sees the dynamics radically shifting in the future.
Today, we’re making a Smarter U.S. Open with mobile web technology… tomorrow, we could be making people’s lives better and helping to spur new business opportunities.