Reimagining the Fan Experience Through AI

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Digital technology has created an expectation among consumers for unique, personalized experiences. Sports teams, performance venues, competitions, major sporting events and award shows are under intense pressure to go beyond staging live entertainment by providing a personalized and interactive fan experience, whether a user is on their couch or in a 100,000-seat stadium.

One great example is the 2018 World Cup, which was watched by billions of soccer fans around the globe. Rather than simply covering games as if all viewers are the same, FOX Sports debuted the FIFA World Cup Highlight Machine, an AI-based platform that allows fans to create and share their own customized highlight videos in seconds. Using this interactive platform, fans could browse and filter FIFA’s archive of past and current matches by year, team, player and plays such as penalty kicks and goals.

Similar tools have been developed for golf and tennis fans at other iconic events around the world like the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, constantly raising the bar of “experience” year after year. To deliver on the promise of a personalized user experience, the integration of physical and digital realms must be seamless and intuitive for modern consumers.

At work behind the scenes are intelligent technologies that can process data in real time, “learn” to recognize event participants, “listen” to crowd reactions and sentiment, and understand human gestures to package individualized content on the fly.

Defining the “Segment of One”

For years, marketers in every industry have talked about the “Segment of One” — the ability to understand individual customers and provide them with personalized service. While many skeptics long have considered the Segment of One to be a unicorn, we’re at a tipping point where most of the tools are there to deliver unique, personalized experiences to individuals.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are getting better at using not just binary data from databases, consumer devices or the Internet but also the vast ocean of unstructured data which goes unused in every industry (including video and audio) that can be analyzed for meaning and context. Because AI technologies have the capacity to learn, they become more accurate and insightful over time, distilling a dynamic world of data to the level of simplicity we expect in an app.

While harnessing all the data is one challenge, amassing the right skills is another. It requires a winning digital customer engagement strategy backed by an unfailing infrastructure layer that delivers a consistent, high-speed content experience that is individualized for the fan, guest or shopper across a complex landscape of online, mobile, social and physical platforms.

Digital reinvention demands the right development, design and technical talent, as well as the soft skills necessary for teamwork and collaboration. Unless your company is already a digital design agency, this means finding an experienced partner with the skills, technology breadth and industry aptitude to ensure you can deliver and evolve the kind of bar-setting experiences that people have come to expect.

To learn more, visit IBM iX or download this report for the latest insights on architecting exceptional customer experiences.

Partner, Digital Strategy and Interactive Experience Practice Lead, IBM

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