IBM showcases augmented reality technology at Australian Open

Jan 18, 2010 at 04:29 am by Staff

Technology partner IBM is using the Australian Open to showcase new augmented reality smartphone application to tennis fans.

Teamed with an GPS-enabled Android mobile phone, the Seer application provides venue-specific information by taking a live view from the phone and superimposing content and data such as live scores, match information and catering facilities.

The application was first seen at Wimbledon last year, allows users to “see what others can’t”, bringing them closer to the game. It can be downloaded from the Android Marketplace store. Tennis and food courts, points of interest throughout Melbourne Park and beyond have been identified and mapped using Navteq’s digital mapping technology.

Using the Android and plotted coordinates, the application offers users a display of what they are looking at, augmenting this with other live data such as updates from the IBM-managed scoring system and an aggregated Twitter feed generated by IBM scouts reporting from around the grounds.

Pointing the camera lens towards a court leads to a display of details of the current match. Seer users can also use the phone’s map view – pinpointing their location – while the ‘radar’ function indicates the user’s current position and nearby points of interest.

IBM’s Australian Open executive sponsor David Burns says the Seer deployment is one of the first of its type in Australia: “It brings together data visualisation, content from scouts, Twitter feeds and real-time scoring to deliver a powerful new interactive tool,” he says. “With more and more information available, the ability to connect this information and communicate it intelligently will provide benefits in all facets of our lives in ways we have not yet considered.”

Seer was developed with IBM business partners: It features custom-developed core code based on Mobilizy’s Wikitude technology, and GPS positioning and digital mapping from Navteq. Aggregating the live Twitter feed and associated hosting services is provided by XS2TheWorld, with the systems integration – which incorporates the IBM scoring system – managed by IBM. Ogilvy Interactive was responsible for technical project management and provides server hosting for the IBM Seer application.

See a video of the application in use at Melbourne Park here:

IBM technology at the event also includes the scoring and Speed Serve systems, match statistics, Chump PDAs, an intranet and referee and scheduling services. In conjunction with Tennis Australia, the company also designs, publishes, produces and hosts the Australian Open website, and provides the SlamTracker facility which gives fans a ‘virtual seat’ at the tournament. The website is supported by multiple geographically-dispersed server farms, virtualised as one. In 2006, 60 servers were required to cope with the increase in traffic that the site experiences during the Open. This year, IBM will do the job with six.


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