What can government learn from Wimbledon’s AI video highlights?

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In part one of this series of three blog posts, I explored how IBM and Wimbledon innovates to deliver a fabulous digital experience for fans.  In this second part, I look at what government can learn from Wimbledon’s use of artificial intelligence (AI) in automating the video production of match highlights.

Automating video production

Consumer demand for video has risen to insatiable levels in recent years.  Wimbledon has seen corresponding growth in viewings: a record 210 million views during The Championships fortnight last year.  Speed gives Wimbledon first mover advantage by using AI to create a video highlights package of a match just two minutes after play on the six show courts is finished, 95% faster than traditional approaches used in any sport.

The use of AI not only enables quicker curation of highlights packages, the AI is trained to select the best clips.  The excitement of each point is scored through automatic analysis as follows:

  • Video content analytics – for example, to identify a player celebrating or strong emotion after a point
  • Audio detection of crowd reaction, for example, cheering
  • Analyse the match statistics for each point that might represent a highlight
  • This year we shall be using Watson Acoustics to “listen” to the strike of the ball to create even tighter highlights packages

Then we use meta data to generate overlay captions that tell the story of the match to complete the package.  Video is used by Wimbledon to earn the appeal of a time poor, younger demographic.  Furthermore, Wimbledon presents short clips of top moments to fans.  AI needs to be trained and introducing bias in training affects all subsequent insights.  We are using Watson OpenScale in 2019 to ensure all AI highlights are treated the same regardless of crowd size, court or crowd favourites.

Video is also a major data source for maintaining city operations and public safety.  Being able to detect the build up of a crowd, unusual traffic congestion and other unexpected events allows early intervention helping prevent situations escalating out of control to maintain order.  Speed is of the essence in these situations.  Automated analysis is essential to scale operations that use video because it is not humanly possible to watch everything, let alone spot the key moment of interest as it happens.

Wimbledon uses AI and automation to create match highlights for value.  Its digital and content team can spend a greater proportion of time using its expertise to engage fans and build brand value.

Applying this approach offers opportunities for government to enhances its reputation.  Freeing up experts to spend more time serving citizens who have complex issues regarding tax or benefits, for example, becomes possible when AI is used to help deal with the higher volume of standard requests.  Furthermore, integrating AI into operational systems aids agents in contact centres and enhances their ability to make quick.  Done well, everyone gets a better service and satisfaction goes up.

Wimbledon shares the best short video clips to engage its fans because, in general, people’s attention spans are reducing.  However, the same challenge of maintaining someone’s interest has different implications for government.  Using technology to analyse video to identify scenes of greatest importance reduces the need for investigative officers to wade through hours of content manually and risk drifting off momentarily, missing the key event.

Wimbledon took an outcome driven approach to this innovation.  We identified one key area where large amounts of time and effort were spent performing tasks manually and targeted it to stay one step ahead.  Workflow automation of government administration aided by AI offers huge opportunities to overcome bottlenecks, eliminating paperwork and bringing greater efficiency and consistency in delivering services to citizens.

Experience for yourself

You can watch match highlights on the web site and mobile apps.  They are the front end to Wimbledon for you – AI powered on cloud to deliver a fabulous experience.  You can download the Wimbledon app from the app store or

Learn how other organisations are using AI, or speak to your IBM government sales representative to find out other ways you can experience Wimbledon.


CTO Government, IBM Europe

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