IBM Announces New Innovations and Insights using AI and Cloud technology for 2021 US Open, Enabling Fans to Be More Informed, Engaged During Tennis Grand Slam®

FLUSHING, N.Y., Aug. 27, 2021 — IBM, the digital partner of the US Open, announced today new fan experiences leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and hybrid cloud to empower millions of fans around the world with player and match insights so they can experience the iconic tennis Grand Slam in new ways.

Experience the interactive Multichannel News Release here:

Innovating the Fan Experience

IBM is helping to enhance the US Open digital experience by using AI to keep fans more informed about the players and matches with real-time rankings and insights on the US Open app and The tournament’s new IBM Power Rankings with Watson and Match Insights with Watson run on IBM Cloud with Red Hat OpenShift, and use AI and natural language processing (NLP) to analyze data and offer key insights ahead of each of the tournament’s 254 singles matches. IBM Power Rankings with Watson and Match Insights with Watson will also be integrated into the tournament broadcast on ESPN, and in the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA), daily show, “The Changeover.”

  • IBM Power Rankings with Watson: Launched at the 2021 Wimbledon Championship, IBM Power Rankings with Watson are AI-powered daily rankings of player momentum that will be used at the US Open for the first time this year. The typical tennis tour ranking systems use 52 weeks of historical data to quantify player performance. IBM Power Rankings takes this further by focusing on a player’s most recent history. It combines advanced statistical analysis, Watson Discovery’s NLP capabilities and the secured and open IBM Cloud to analyze player performance data; mine media commentary; measure player momentum; and, highlight it’s determination of the most compelling matchups. The IBM Power Rankings Leaderboard will be first posted on the Friday before the tournament, and then will be updated daily during the tournament.
  • Match Insights with Watson: Match Insights with Watson uses Watson Discovery to create AI-generated fact sheets to help fans quickly get up to speed ahead of every singles match during the tournament. First launched in 2020, Match Insights with Watson is enhanced with updated features including “In the Media,” to extract key insights about each player from news sources, and “By the Numbers,” which uses natural language generation (NLG) to translate historical statistics into sentences and then uses IBM Decision Optimization for Watson Studio to help select which insights to display to fans.
  • New Features: IBM Power Rankings and Match Insights can also help fans better understand what the data is saying about players ahead of upcoming matches with new features including “Likelihood to Win,” “Ones to Watch,” and “Upset Alerts”:
    • Likelihood to Win (L2W): A confidence value, expressed in percentages, assigned to each singles match player toward the likelihood that they will win the match.
    • Ones to Watch: A pre-tournament perspective of players where the IBM Power Ranking is five or more positions higher than their respective tour rank.
      • Notably, Ones to Watch was tested earlier this year during Wimbledon. Using IBM Watson, the solution identified Matteo Berrettini as a One to Watch, and he made the tournament’s final.
    • Upset Alerts: Matches identified as “Upset Alerts” are when the IBM Power Rankings favor an underdog, as defined by the tour ranks, to win based on a higher L2W.

The work that IBM does with the USTA for the US Open — including digital fan experiences, cyber security, digital property support and more — is built on a hybrid cloud infrastructure that includes IBM Cloud, Watson for Cyber Security, and IBM Watson’s enterprise-grade AI capabilities. These are the same technologies IBM is using to digitally transform clients in a variety of industries around the world.

US Open Fantasy Tennis

New this year, the US Open is also launching US Open Fantasy Tennis on, which will include IBM Power Rankings and insights using IBM Watson Discovery. US Open Fantasy Tennis, the first-ever fantasy experience for this tennis Grand Slam, gives sports fans the opportunity to create a fantasy team of tennis pros that they can follow throughout the two-week tournament. US Open Fantasy Tennis will be enriched with Match Insights to help users make the most informed fantasy selections for their teams. Match Insights will be available within the US Open Fantasy Tennis interface to help users select a fantasy roster of four men and four women. The data from IBM Power Rankings and Match Insights will change throughout the tournament, giving users a chance to reevaluate their roster during the pre-determined redemption period, before the fourth round of the tournament. In the game, US Open Fantasy players will receive points every time their selected tennis players win a match (100 pts), serve an ace (two pts each), and break a serve (five pts each).

US Open Fantasy Tennis with IBM Match Insights

Engaging Fans Around the World

“Our partnership with IBM enables us to offer advanced data-driven insights to millions of fans worldwide watching or attending the tournament,” said Kirsten Corio, Managing Director, Ticketing, Hospitality and Digital Strategy, USTA. “Behind the scenes, IBM Cloud allows us to have the flexibility and security to power our remote operations, innovate new features year over year, and ensure that the US Open Digital Properties run flawlessly to deliver the tournament to the world.”

A recent IBM Institute for Business Value survey1 of over 2,600 US adults highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed consumer preferences of the fan experience during sports. Two times more US adults surveyed report watching traditional sports on digital platforms during the pandemic (84%) compared to pre-pandemic (41%), and 60% of US adults surveyed reported technologies like AI and cloud computing make sports more engaging to watch for fans.

“Since last year’s entirely virtual tournament we’ve learned even more about what fans are looking for and how technology can help execute a tournament of this scale,” said Noah Syken, Vice President of Sports & Entertainment Partnerships, IBM. “We’re excited to bring that insight into our continued partnership with the USTA, and to help leverage our AI and cloud expertise to make the tournament more engaging for fans via the digital platforms and their new fan experiences, and the behind-the-scenes technology that helps enable the tournament.”

Arthur Ashe Stadium

Driven by the Hybrid Cloud

For 30 years, IBM has been the Official Technology Partner of the US Open. IBM designs and develops the US Open app and website, including fan experiences that help engage with fans globally throughout the tournament. Similar to previous years, the US Open’s digital properties run on a combination of on-premises, public, and private clouds, and pull from a variety of data sources and APIs. IBM uses this hybrid cloud approach to collect, integrate, and distribute data and applications across multiple clouds while seamlessly handling a variety of different workloads. This year’s innovative solutions were built on IBM Cloud, and containerized using Red Hat OpenShift. The flexibility of the cloud allows for rapid innovation each year, as the IBM developers building these solutions are able to write code for new features once, and deploy them in the many USTA environments.

As experiences have increasingly shifted online during the pandemic, a hybrid cloud architecture gave the US Open’s digital operation the flexibility it needed for ongoing remote work while maintaining productivity and certified to the highest commercial level of data security2. Due to the ongoing pandemic and lessons learned from the 2020 US Open, the tournament’s digital and content teams are operating with a combination of on and off-site team members. A hybrid cloud architecture enables remote operations to function with resiliency, scalability and speed.

American Council on Education Validates IBM Apprenticeship Program, Recommends College Credit to Participants

ARMONK, N.Y., Aug. 19, 2021 — Today, IBM announced that its 21st century apprenticeship program has earned official recognition from the American Council on Education (ACE) which, for the first time, will allow IBM apprentices to translate their 12 months of on-the-job training for up to 45 college credits, or roughly three semesters of college coursework, from participating academic institutions.

IBM’s technical apprenticeship in software engineering will allow past, current and future IBM apprentices to apply their credits at participating two and four-year institutions across the country. This offers a unique opportunity for apprentices to fast-track their progression toward an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in pursuit of their career goals.

Earlier this year, ACE launched its Apprenticeship Pathways project, in partnership with the Charles Koch Foundation, to expand the range of alternative educational experiences eligible for college credit and better leverage the impact of high-quality apprenticeships. As a result, IBM’s software engineering apprenticeship will be represented in ACE-endorsed badges and transcripts on the Credly Acclaim platform, which translates learners’ knowledge, skills, and achievements into digital credentials.

“Amid the pandemic, industry leaders nationwide are rethinking their approach towards education, skills training and hiring. Apprenticeships have become an increasingly critical element in the country’s skills portfolio because they can rapidly provide more people with access to new career opportunities, all while continuing to earn a paycheck,” said Kelli Jordan, Director of skills, career and performance at IBM. “This validation by ACE reaffirms the impact of IBM’s apprenticeship model and its ability to provide an opportunity to learn in-demand technical skills that can lead to some of technology’s fastest growing careers without taking on student debt or taking time away from the workplace.”

To date, IBM has trained nearly 1,000 apprentices across 17 states and 30 cities through its earn-while-you learn model. Their learning spans 25 apprenticeship career tracks, and the company also has made expanded access to apprenticeship a hallmark of its public policy advocacy, supporting, for example, Congressional passage of The National Apprenticeship Act.

ACE, through its Learning Evaluations program, seeks to facilitate seamless pathways for learners, schools and employers to intersect – creating economic mobility and a skilled workforce. The ACE-endorsed badges and transcripts are designed to allow learners to easily transition between work and postsecondary education while retaining a record of all their learned skills.

“We are proud to validate programs like IBM’s Software Engineering Apprenticeship, which provide opportunities for underserved student populations to improve their economic mobility through postsecondary education and professional advancement,” said Michele Spires, executive director for Learning Evaluations at ACE. “This program empowers students to further their education while helping colleges and universities grow and diversify their student body.”

According to the World Economic Forum, closing the global skills gap could add US$11.5 trillion to the global GDP by 2028, but education and training systems need to keep pace with market demands. The ACE Software Engineer Apprenticeship validation can help support this future of work by allowing learners to leverage their skills across every available channel, and help them achieve their goals.

About ACE
The American Council on Education (ACE) is a membership organization that mobilizes the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice. As the major coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities, our strength lies in our diverse membership of more than 1,700 colleges and universities, related associations, and other organizations in America and abroad. ACE is the only major higher education association to represent all types of U.S. accredited, degree-granting institutions: two-year and four-year, public and private. Our members educate two out of every three students in all accredited, degree-granting U.S. institutions.

IBM and Black & Veatch Collaborate on AI-Driven Monitoring Solutions

Predictive asset monitoring and digital twins to help improve industrial asset reliability, lifespan and performance

ARMONK, N.Y. and OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Aug. 3, 2021 — IBM and Black & Veatch today announced a collaboration to jointly market Asset Performance Management (APM) solutions, including remote monitoring technologies that combine near real-time data analytics with artificial intelligence to help customers keep equipment and assets running at peak performance and reliability.

The companies are collaborating on solutions combining Black & Veatch Asset Management Services (AMS) and digital analytics with IBM Maximo Application Suite. These solutions are designed to help organizations support more resilient operations for industrial, energy and utilities assets. Black & Veatch operates four monitoring and diagnostics centers and has vast experience with near real-time, detection and analysis of emerging problems by running thousands of models and scenarios to predict changes in asset performance. IBM Maximo Application Suite’s Assist, Monitor, Health, Predict and Visual Inspection capabilities aim to integrate Black & Veatch monitoring and diagnostics expertise and data analytics with maintenance management to bring them into the field where the insights can be applied.

The two companies are also planning to expand the IBM Digital Twin Exchange using Black & Veatch’s digital twin asset models. “Digital twins will be a necessary part of the industrial sector’s digital future because of the detailed understanding they provide and expert analysis they enable for complex assets,” said Dave Brill, Vice President and Director of Asset Management Services with Black & Veatch. “The IBM Digital Twin Exchange can make this level of understanding more accessible by connecting customers in asset-intensive industries and in need of digital twins with members of IBM’s rapidly growing partner ecosystem that can share their models. As part of this collaboration, Black & Veatch plans to develop digital twin asset models to sell through the Digital Twin Exchange, expanding the library’s inventory.”

Faced with aging equipment, tightening budgets, increased regulation and rapidly changing market dynamics, operators and engineers require increased visibility into their equipment performance and asset conditions. Remote monitoring technology can help organizations understand their assets better by providing a near real-time view of operations. Once data is collected, it can enable both predictive and conditions-based maintenance, where problems are proactively corrected before they escalate into system breakdown, in an effort to limit downtime and maximize productivity.

As assets and facilities continue to evolve and the volume of data they generate grows, knowing how to effectively manage and use this information is a major challenge for many organizations. As a result, the dashboards used for monitoring data can be overwhelming and have so many alerts that important ones may be ignored. AI and machine learning can help bridge that gap and reduce this “alarm fatigue” by sorting through the thousands of incoming datapoints, so organizations can prioritize alerts and decisively plan their actions. This collaboration combines IBM’s software, artificial intelligence and machine learning expertise with Black & Veatch’s engineering expertise to offer solutions that can help reduce thousands of incoming data points to a handful of actionable escalations by making predictions and then screening and diagnosing alerts. With more than 20 years of experience in near real-time data analytics, Black & Veatch provides a deep understanding of how facilities and systems operate, and its expertise and models are used to train IBM’s AI to help detect anomalies and support monitoring at scale.

“Organizations in every industry need to figure out how to use the vast amounts of data generated within their own systems,” said Kareem Yusuf, IBM General Manager AI Applications and Blockchain. “Monitoring insights that combine AI and machine learning technology with deep industry expertise can help organizations make better sense of their data and use it to manage their assets better. IBM and Black & Veatch are collaborating to deliver insights that can be applied to improve the performance of assets and extend their lifespans.”

Black and Veatch is part of IBM’s partner ecosystem helping unlock the value of Industry 4.0 by accelerating the adoption of open hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence for clients in essential industries such as manufacturing, energy, retail, and smart cities. IBM’s partner ecosystem is designed to fuel hybrid cloud environments by helping clients manage and modernize workloads from the mainframe to the edge and everything in between with Red Hat OpenShift, a leading enterprise Kubernetes platform.

About Black & Veatch
Black & Veatch is an employee-owned global engineering, procurement, consulting and construction company with a more than 100-year track record of innovation in sustainable infrastructure. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people around the world by addressing the resilience and reliability of our most important infrastructure assets. Our revenues in 2020 exceeded US$3.0 billion. Follow us on and on social media.