IBM announced today that is has teamed with the Toronto Raptors to bring cognitive analysis in the form of IBM Watson to the NBA team’s talent evaluation process.
The new tool called IBM Sports Insights Central, pulls in data from a variety of sources including statistics, video, social networking sentiment analysis, medical records and much more. It compares this data against the team’s needs, a player’s likelihood of succeeding, staying healthy and working well with coaches and teammates for the duration of the contract.
The idea behind it is to help them draft the best players and find free agents and trade targets that not only meet the needs of the team, but also fit well with the team’s on-court philosophy.
The new tool was created by working across divisions within IBM starting with IBM’s digital experience agency, IBM Interactive Experience, which worked with the Raptors to create a tool to meet the team’s needs. It developed the solution announced today by layering on several different pieces of IBM technology.
It starts with Watson’s ability to analyze vast amounts of unstructured data quickly, explained Jim Rushton, global leader for IBM sports and entertainment practice. It also includes other tools from the IBM Bluemix platform including the AlchemyAPI (which the Watson group purchased last year) and some help from IBM Research, which fine-tuned the tools to match Toronto’s player development requirements.
The company is also working with a touch-screen company called MultiTaction to provide table and wall-sized displays to show data visualizations and help better understand the data and how it fits the team’s needs.
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