One of the events that symbolizes the British summer is the Wimbledon tennis tournament, during which it generally rains. Sometimes this makes Cliff Richard sing. If we played that word game where someone says a word and you say words that immediately come to mind, the word ‘Wimbledon’ would generally conjure responses such as ‘strawberries, tradition, Centre Court, Federer, Nadal, Andy Murray being knocked out, that kind of thing. It would not necessarily conjure words such as ‘analytics’, ‘leading edge’ or ‘500 million viewers,’ according to the UK’s Guardian newspaper.
But the, obviously new and very windswept, marketing team at Wimbledon have implemented a version of IBM’s predictive analytics software which they have cleverly called SlamTracker. This tracks, maps and records every moment of play of every match. It can then tell the 500 million viewers (28 percent via mobile devices), what Andy Murray needs to do to win the match. Whilst my conclusion might be ‘stop shouting, play better’, IBM’s version is more scientific and might involve a digital thought process that analyses which type of points he wins and why, and which he doesn’t and needs to, and conclude that if he can win 51 percent more rallies that last 5 strokes or more he will win the match. As I said, ‘stop shouting, play better’.
Whilst this is interesting, it highlights a few points for communications providers. The most obvious is that it is now eminently possible to track, map and record every little thing we do, say and click. Telcos are already doing this and some of them are producing astonishing results in terms of increased efficiencies and better customer experience.
The problem, when you have so much information, is what questions to ask to get the best out of it. According to a survey of CEOs by IBM, 53 percent of CEOs are making decisions without having the relevant information in front of them.
As usual, the problem is not the software but the humans. It reminds me of the ‘Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’, where the biggest computer ever built concluded that the answer to the ultimate question about ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ was 42. This was fine, but they had to build an even bigger one to figure out what the question was. Sounds oddly familiar.