Wimbledon: The technology behind the best tennis world

From the archives: For a 140-year-old event, there are some amazing technologies.

The Wimbledon Championships, which consumes about 28 tons of strawberries, 10,000 liters of cream and 320,000 cups of bem each. This year is great for what seems to be a lavish, uncontrollable fun. But while most businesses, corporations, and organizations are looking to cut costs, Wimbledon sticks to its mantra. Don't do cheaper things. Do things better.

Update, July 3, 2021: The weekend is July 4 in the US, which means Ars employees are getting a decent time off to build Lego microscopes (or maybe just to relax). Likewise, we're reconstructing some classic examples from the Ars archive, including a behind-the-scenes look at The Wimbledon Tennis Championships. While we've all been cheering for Federer (or maybe Nadal) throughout 2021, this look at the 2017 championship gives everyone an idea of ​​what technology seems to be the school's oldest sporting event. This story originally aired on July 13, 2017 and appears unchanged below. Example: Wimbledon's use of technology is really impressive. I've been fortunate enough to have been following Wimbledon tech for the past three years and it's been very encouraging to see such massive efforts as tournaments going deeper and deeper into the tech. You might think Wimbledon could stand in his way after 140 years, but that's way off. When technology is the only way to bring significant and important stability to players, visitors, and hundreds of millions of people watching from a distance, you're not trying to fight it. You hug him.

Of course, Wimbledon embraces technology in a Wimbledon-specific way. For example, this year the tournament is testing free Wi-Fi - but because they still don't know how people deal with free Wi-Fi, it's only available in three specific locations (near the food court, when tickets are resold) is 12) . The tournament continues over the weekend, but the team has already begun analyzing the data. Fortunately, Court 12 Wi-Fi users seem to only use their phones between points. Wi-Fi stops when the game starts. If the test passes, Wi-Fi will be available via Wimbledon in 2018.

Image (apparently) of IBM's software highlighting tennis matches. You see four variables it tracks... Zoom in/image (apparently) for IBM's highlights tennis matches. You see four variables...Another big improvement is that IBM (the official technical partner of Wimbledon) now scans every tennis match and automatically creates high-quality videos of important or exciting moments. That sounds like a lot, but it seems that IBM only needs to control three variables: noise level, performance detection, and crowd cheer. These compounds create an "general level of excitement". The noise level is likely to be the excitement of the audience's environment, while performance recognition refers to the players. Do they wander a lot, hit hard, or have a lot of other emotions? Ad

When the total excitement level exceeds the minimum (0.8?), the program returns via the video buffer and a highlighted clip from the tip. Currently, a human editor uses all clips before publishing. A human editor is still needed to play more related videos. IBM software does not yet understand the context of singles matches or player pairings. But given that other IBM programs fit into the world of Wimbledon - largely because commentators can add extra flavor - it looks like a clear breakthrough in automated highlighting technology in the coming years. IBM's presence at Wimbledon is ephemeral - it shows up and runs for a few weeks and then disappears. So the 'servers' are all just ThinkPads and MacBook laptops. Zoom / IBM's presence at Wimbledon is completely fleeting - they seem to be running things for a few weeks, then disappear. Likewise, the "servers" are all just ThinkPad and MacBook laptops. Sebastian Anthony

Devouring Data

One of Wimbledon's richest assets is a comprehensive database of over 100 years of competitive tennis. . As Wimbledon's partnership with IBM matured, new technologies and sensors for collecting data expanded, as did the depth and accuracy of the data.

Perhaps most interestingly, Wimbledon now stores 3D tennis status via the compatible Hawk-Eye camera system on some courts. Hawk-Eye, which uses multiple cameras to track the ball and resolve line referee disputes, generates a continuous stream of data that IBM can process into a useful format. But it is really dangerous to do something with this data, because it is not clear who owns it. As you can imagine, some tennis players aren't very interested in some great wake-up learning software that reveals the secrets of their playing style to the world.

Today, Wimbledon/IBM only uses Hawk's Eye data to track "aggressive" images of each player. Most of the raw data will likely be stored in the Wimbledon database, which can be processed at a later time. For more information on testing issues, data collection, usage, and sharing, our recent football data feature is a good place to start.

Wimbledon uses different types of Wi-Fi signals to indicate how strong the signal is in a particular area. Zoom Wimbledon also used Sebastian Anthony as a potential source of usable data, using a variety of Wi-Fi signals to indicate signal strength in a given area. knows the vector. As you already know, when you connect to a Wi-Fi network (or actually any network), your carrier can see what services and apps you're using. Wimbledon, for example, can now see how many visitors are using the Line messaging app with this year's hotspot test. Line is primarily used in Asia, so Wimbledon may use this data to advertise to Asian visitors next year.


On a simpler level, if Wimbledon tennis courts across the UK had Wi-Fi, it would be possible to use each device's unique MAC address to track the movement of more visitors around the venue. Slowly I'm sure, not for frightening reasons, but to solve problems, bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Should there be another toilet? Do strawberries and cream stand there? Is the Pimm Eternal Pen here? Wi-Fi throughout the venue also allows Wimbledon to inform visitors via a traffic light-style traffic light.

Two years ago, an IBM engineer told me they were discussing with UK mobile network providers. To keep track of visitors through the hive triangle, but this year I was told that such a partnership did not exist at all. Doing this over Wi-Fi (and possibly with enhanced Bluetooth technology) probably makes more sense anyway.

Ask the camera (360°) who the person is (eh, Watson?)...

Wimbledon has finally released an important mobile app for this year's tournament. Over the past few years, a huge change has been made by people who follow Wimbledon in the desktop browser on their mobile devices. This mobile app is designed to provide a better experience than a mobile website - but to be honest, if you're a tennis athlete, you should probably just download the free app (iOS/Android) and see what you think. This year there is a new feature called Ask Fred that seems to use some IBM Watson technology to answer your questions. He can also look through the 360-degree cameras placed in every courtroom.

Now read how evolution can take us further in sports, but accepting technology is more exciting...

Wimbledon: The technology behind the best tennis world
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