The saying goes that you wait ages for a bus then 3 come along a once; and similarly this is my 3rd blog within a week! Inspired by one of my favourite sporting engagements returning next week, The Wimbledon Championships, and the launch of the #WhatMakesGreat campaign, I’ve reflected on my favourite ever great Wimbledon moment.
For this we will have to go back 7 years to when I volunteered at Wimbledon for 2 weeks whilst on Industrial Placement with IBM, as the Championships’ long standing technology partner. That means it’s also 7 years since we witnessed the longest tennis match of all time between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. As sports fans will remember, the match went to 70-68 in the final set and lasted a total of 11 hours and 5 minutes over three days of play!
This is clearly not only a brilliant match in Wimbledon’s long history, but also an iconic sporting moment. The players demonstrated many of the attributes of true Wimbledon champions: strength, stamina, perseverance, passion and humility in ultimate victory and defeat.
Looking back at this moment also made me think about what how the technology has evolved over this time as well. Back then, in 2010, my role at Wimbledon was to tweet news & commentary from around the grounds to sync to the award winning & pioneering IBM Seer Augmented Reality App. We helped provide visitors with additional layers of information about tagged locations around the legendary venue, such as the crowds on “Henman Hill”, or how long the queue for strawberries & cream was, to enhance the experience for those at the championships. We were giving people a first glimpse of this emerging technology, which is an exciting thing to have been part of.
Today’s environment reflects disruption across industries, business models and communication channels. To think that Twitter was 4 years old at the time and has since seen an 820% increase in users globally epitomises this. Citymapper wasn’t to launch in the UK for another year and Uber for another 2, so we were still checking the TFL and National Rail updates to tweet transport updates to the app (see this blast from the past highlights Wimbledon 2010 video) – http://bit.ly/2u6JNNI) Oh, how things have changed.
Like many tennis fans I can’t wait for The Championships to start and I am especially excited to be part of the IBM team sharing how technology is continuing to improve the experience for the thousands of visitors to SW19 and the millions of fans globally.