IBM forges sports partnerships for Watson efforts

IBM bolsters its Watson ecosystem with a trio of app partnerships with sports technology vendors.

IBM on Wednesday said that it has inked partnerships with three sports technology companies to develop cognitive computing applications for Watson.

The news indicates that IBM is busy targeting verticals for its cognitive computing technology. Sports generates almost $700 billion globally, according to A.T. Kearney.

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Triax's head impact app.

For IBM, sports is another vertical to complement healthcare, financial services, legal, education, retail and other industries. As for the big picture, IBM needs cognitive computing and other new businesses to grow enough to offset declines elsewhere. On Monday, IBM reported its 14th straight quarterly revenue decline.

IBM's sports partnerships cover better concussion tracking, golf training and game-day experiences for fans. All of the partners--Triax Technologies, Spare5 and 113 Industries--are using IBM Watson application programming interfaces to create apps.

Here's the breakdown:

  • Triax develops impact sensor technology used in headbands and skullcaps to track head impact during sports. Triax's tools and monitors are used by coaches, parents and trainers to improve safety and technique. Watson's language service is being used to use more data to analyze sentiment and social characteristics.
  • Spare5 has a Watson Golf Pro app that uses learning, natural language and vision tools to be a personal caddy for golfers.
  • 113 Industries is working with Watson tools to work on game-day experiences at Pittsburgh Penguin games. Watson will be used to analyze fan data, offers and services to better market to Penguin fans.

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