Nothing screams the start of summer louder than the Wimbledon tennis tournament – accompanied, of course, by strawberries and cream, the inevitable summer showers and the throng of avid tennis fans on Murray Mount.

As the championships launched this week, it was great to see innovative technology move once more to the fore – not only for the benefit of the game, but also the fans. The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) is no stranger to using innovative technology. Justin Gimelstob made history in 2007 when he became the first player to use the Hawk-Eye ball-tracking system to challenge a serve in his first round loss to Andy Roddick.

This year, AELTC – with its technology partner of 25 years IBM – will be taking its use of Hawk-Eye to the next level. Data collected from the system on the player, shot placement, power and ball position, will be used to build a map showing how aggressive his or her game was. This information will then be referred to and analysed by the tournaments’ commentators. Great news for data-hungry fans’ always keen to analyse the minute details of every match. However, the use of innovative technology doesn’t stop there…

Even better news for fans is the unveiling of the Wimbledon Social Command Centre, which sounds like a strange sporting / Star Trek hybrid, but will serve up the information that fans want, via the channel of their choice. This tailoring of content is a shining example for organisations everywhere on how to use innovative technology to respond to the needs of your audience. By monitoring and analysing fans’ discussions that are taking place on social media, the Command Centre’s innovative technology will serve up insights into the fans’ wants and needs in real time. The AELTC can then respond with the information fans need on the Wimbledon.com website. So, if there’s a huge debate taking place on Twitter and Facebook about a shock loss / win, or a lot of conversation about a match taking place on court 8 – rather than centre court, for example – the information provided on the website can be updated accordingly and additional insight provided. And there’s more. As well as the algorithms tracking social media, Wimbledon’s mobile apps have also been overhauled so that you can receive player performance alerts for your personal favourites, as well as on demand video previews, highlights and interviews.

Many organisations can take a page out of the AELTC’s book as, with a wealth of information now bombarding people every day in both their work and personal lives, consumers are demanding information relevant to them. In the business world, Huddle’s intelligent recommendation engine aims to do exactly that. It makes sync personal, presenting you with the content and communication most relevant to you, in a context that makes sense, on the device of your choice. There’s so much innovative technology now available that organisations have a chance to gain a far greater understanding of the needs of their target audience.

What sports do you think are making the most impressive use of innovative technology? Let me know.


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