The making of a connected soccer game at Cannes Lions, 2016

By | 3 minute read | September 1, 2016

Leadspace image of connected soccer participants on a beach in Cannes for the Lions Festival

On June 20th 2016, on the beach in Cannes, France, The Girls Lounge and two of their partners IBM and AOL were joined by super stars Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach to make a statement: that we win with the power of teamwork.

IBM and transformed this pick-up game of soccer on the beach in Cannes into an exciting IOT experience.
What many do not know, is that the entire project was pulled together in an unprecedented 3 week period of time leading up to the festival. In the new making of video, we look at how this was done with powerful teamwork and some amazing technology.

Creating the connected soccer game

The connected concept came by way of IBM iX, IBM’s business design practice looking for a creative way to demonstrate their increasingly innovative capabilities during the Festival of Lions at Cannes. With collaboration at the heart of their work, IBM iX found itself in discussion with IBM Watson IoT, and JStart to find the right technology and platform to bring the idea to fruition.

With opportunity to add an innovative dimension, IBM iX proposed an enhancement to the match by way of Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The idea was to outfit the players with sensors, using the data generated to donate money to charity for every kick, step and touch during play. Being at the helm of the project, the iX team leveraged their strategy and design experts to concept the game and dashboard, in addition to player and spectator engagement.

kiwi wearable sensor strapped on charity athletes at Cannes Lions 2016
kiwi wearable sensor strapped on charity athletes at Cannes Lions 2016

Generating the data

In terms of technical execution, several important things would be needed. First were the sensors. Because sensors give off a raw stream of data, sensor based intelligence is needed to make sense of what would otherwise be incomprehensible data noise. This is where came in to assist with hardware and algorithm expertise. In the short span of three weeks, Kiwi was able to collect and process raw field data…with systematic analysis by way of their internal tools for highly accurate calibration of all motions.

Taking ideas to outcomes with Agile

Using Agile methodology best practices, IBM iX drove the project from ideation to completion ensuring great experience design. While this on it’s own is impressive given timeline, the project still needed the second part of the technological equation which was a central hub of intelligence that could translate all of these now recognizable movements, allocating them in appropriate, philanthropic ways.

Enter Watson IoT.

kiwi wearable sensor strapped on charity athletes at Cannes Lions 2016IBM iX designed Connected Soccer Dashboard on tablet using Watson IoT

The Watson IoT team was able to use their expertise to interface the sensor data, making use of Bluemix for seamless, real-­time engagement during play. To bring all of this together on time, IBM demonstrated its capability as an industry titan by running highly effective parallel efforts of collaborative teams. This meant iX championing concept, design and project management. The Girls’ Lounge bringing high-­level, star power across a number of industries. Kiwi’s advanced sensor intelligence and algorithm calibration. And finally Watson IoT’s use of their own intelligence tools, the Watson IoT Platform, Bluemix and their development team JStart. The resulting effort on the day was magic.

IBM iX designed Connected Soccer Dashboard on tablet using Watson IoTThe Power of Teamwork with The Girls’ Lounge, IBM iX,
Kiwi Wearables, IBM Bluemix and Watson Internet of Things

IBM, Kiwi, The Girls' Lounge, Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach, and players pose for group photo at Cannes Lions 2016IBM, Kiwi, The Girls’ Lounge, AOL, Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and players
pose for group photo at Cannes Lions 2016

While all minimal viable products have their share of rough edges, the connected soccer match at Cannes Lions demonstrated how our world has the capacity to turn IoT action in one part of the world, into a tangible positive impact in another. So while industry vets and observers on a sunny beach at Cannes took in a bit of afternoon fun, a positive ripple of value resonated around the world to the important work being done by the Girls Scouts of America and Let Girls Learn.

If there’s one takeaway from the connected soccer match at Cannes in 2016 perhaps it’s this: That today, we have the opportunity to apply innovation to IoT expansion in ways that help create a better world.

Watch the Connected Soccer Behind the Scenes video on YouTube.