IBM Serves up an App for Wimbledon

Fans Using G1 Smartphones at Courts Will Get Updates, Maps, Menu Offerings

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LONDON (AdAge.com) -- With the rollout of an "augmented-reality" app for Android phones, IBM is bringing state-of-the-art technology to the U.K.'s most traditional sporting event, the Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

As the tournament kicks off on June 22, the crowds at the All England Lawn Tennis Club will be able to use an Android smartphone application specially developed to enhance the event. IBM is touting the Seer Android Beta being tested during Wimbledon as the future for sporting events. The application, developed for the T-Mobile G1 phone, features location-aware technology that acts as a real-time guide to the tournament.

Android is Google's mobile operating platform that is used with the G1 handset.

Alan Flack, IBM client executive for the All England Lawn Tennis Club, said, "IBM recognizes that people come to Wimbledon to watch tennis, so anything we can do to help make their day smoother, to help them find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently, just makes their visit more enjoyable."

The vast Wimbledon site has been plotted using GPS, so that with the help of the G1's digital compass, the phone will bring up a display with information about whatever the phone's camera is pointing at.

For example, pointing the phone's camera lens towards a court will bring up information and scores about the match being played on that court, as well as information about forthcoming matches. Point the phone at a cafe and a menu and an update on the length of the queue for strawberries and cream appears.

The system can also be used as a pathfinder, with a "radar" function showing the user's position and nearby points of interest. IBM is touting the Seer Aggregator as the future of sporting events.

For tennis fans who don't have the G1, there will be another application, downloadable from Twitter, that enables them to receive specific real-time "tweets" from a variety of sources, including players, commentators and a team of IBM scouts at the event.

Rob McCowen, marketing director at the All england club, said, "These smart applications were designed with tennis fans in mind and add a whole new dimension to the event whether you are attending in person or sitting in your garden 5,000 miles away."

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