IBM Thinks Data Can Improve Football Stadiums

IBM has spent years highlighting its data-analytics capabilities in the context of professional sports. At the U.S. Open tennis tournament, for example, it sets up “digital walls” that display players’ chances of winning, among other data points. But now Big Blue plans on taking its sports relationship to a whole new level.

According to Bloomberg, IBM is weaving its products into the infrastructure of an under-construction stadium in Atlanta. Not only will IBM technology manage essential services such as security cameras and doors, but its analytics will tell fans which line for beer is shortest, or the speediest way to exit the parking lot once the game is over. Once completed, the 75,000-seat stadium will host NFL and Major League Soccer games, among other events, which could prove quite the test of the software’s ability to quickly crunch a massive amount of data.

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Having divested itself of much of its hardware offerings over the past few years, IBM is focused more than ever on becoming an analytics, services, and software shop. In addition to partnering with Apple to push iOS devices to the enterprise, the company has modified Watson, its artificial-intelligence platform, for an increasing number of industries. If IBM chooses to expand its analytics efforts to other stadiums and public structures, it could also make a very big play within the nascent-but-growing Internet of Things.

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