Could IBM Watson Improve Your Event-Marketing Materials?

Author: David McMillin       

As you try to spread the word about the on-site energy and excitement at your conference or event, you’re most likely trying to leverage videos in your marketing efforts. However, the reality is that most sizzle reels and three-minute pump-up promos — the traditional approach to trying to create a sense of FOMO — fail to resonate with prospective attendees. It’s an understandable problem, though. With three days of sessions, speakers, music, and more, it can be hard to for an overwhelmed video crew and events team to identify the most memorable moments worth sharing.

The organizers of the U.S. Open know those challenges all too well. With two weeks of tennis matches between the best players in the world, determining which moments will make the best material requires plenty of work. So, this year, the sporting event isn’t bothering to assign humans to figure out the best highlights. Instead, the tournament is lobbing the ball to IBM Watson for help.

“The U.S. Open is packed with so much action across so many courts that even the fastest video team is challenged to keep pace with what’s happening,” Noah Syken, vice president of sports & entertainment partnerships at IBM, said in a statement. “To meet that challenge, Watson is now watching the matches alongside the USTA to help bring fans closer to the best moments across the courts shortly after they happen.”

Using a feature called Cognitive Highlights, Watson analyzes statistics, sounds from the audience in New York, and the facial expressions of players as they react to shots. All that data ranks the shots from the courts to narrow down the moments that will resonate most with viewers. Then, more than 180,000 fans of the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Facebook page see Watson in action with a Highlight of the Day.

“We’re seeing this technology come to life through tennis,” Syken added, “but the entire IBM Watson Media portfolio has the potential to impact many industries.”

SEE ALSO: Can Artificial Intelligence Make You a Better Networker

It’s easy to see how the technology would be a good fit for the business-events industry. For example, an events team might be able to use audience sounds from a general session to determine which moments were most exciting and which might be best left out of next year’s program. Or, by scanning immediate audience reactions to speakers, Watson might be able to offer a more valid assessment of attendee feedback than post-event surveys completed after a session ends. Watson is already impacting another crucial component of the experience: cocktail hour. Go here to read how IBM’s technology helped bartenders at SXSW mix drinks tailored to each individual’s preferences.

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