Golf’s original major returns
Since announcing our patronage in 2013, NTT DATA has worked with The Open to use cutting-edge technology to elevate the fan experience. As we enter our 8th year as the official patron and IT provider for the world’s oldest golf tournament, enhancing the data experience has never been more important.
Our close partnership with The R&A has helped us to deliver engaging fan experiences for The Open, year after year. From the creation of the NTT DATA Wall in 2014, to the analysis of billions of data points to bring fans real-time insights into the current play, we have always been committed to using the latest technology to enhance The Open for spectators and fans alike, whether they are on the course, at home, or on the go.
Last year, NTT DATA and The R&A combined to bring The Open for The Ages to life. The Open for The Ages was a dramatisation that pitted the best golfers over the past 50 years against each other in a virtual championship and was created in response to the pandemic, which had postponed live tournaments worldwide.
This year, we welcome the return of The Open and NTT DATA will again use the most progressive in-venue fan technologies to create an experience for spectators that is fitting of golf’s oldest major.
NTT DATA has been a patron of The Open for several years now, providing technological capabilities behind the scenes. This year, we are working with the organisers of The Open to create a new personalised data experience, taking all the data available and using it to enhance the fan experience – whether they are enjoying the championship at home or at Royal St George’s.
We value our partnerships and our work on The Open for the Ages last year is testament to how we can move quickly and work side-by-side with our partners to make the best of a difficult situation. Even without a live event, we helped create a virtual championship that engaged and delighted golfing enthusiasts around the world.
This year, as we make our first tentative steps towards returning to live events, our technology will help fans engage with the sport they love in unique and innovative ways.
2013NTT DATA becomes an Official Patron and IT Provider for The Open.
2014The NTT DATA Wall is launched. The Wall provides an unprecedented immersive experience, providing fans with data from driving distances and accuracy to hole difficulty, available to fans at the event, watching at home or catching up on the go.
2015Introduction of the NTT DATA ‘mini-wall’, mirroring the data experience of The NTT DATA Wall at a secondary location at St Andrews for fans to enjoy. Fans are given the option to ‘tweet’ The Wall, requesting data on specific players.
2016For the first time, the NTT DATA Wall is available to see on NTT DATA’s corporate website, showcasing real-time features such ‘Hotspots’, for NTT DATA’s clients unable to attend the event.
2017Within the NTT DATA hospitality suite, the real-time tournament displayed on NTT DATA’s Wall is visualised (via HoloLens overlaid onto a 3-D golf course map) to NTT DATA guests using Augmented Reality (AR) technology.
2018The NTT DATA Wall evolves further, featuring 3D visuals synchronised with the live TV broadcast, displayed on a giant LED wall with instant scoring updates. Unprecedented hole-by-hole data analysis brings the data behind the sport to life in a unique way.
2019NTT DATA introduces video AI to The Open for the first time. The technology analyses the response of fans in the spectator village, using this data to create instant highlights of the most emotional moments of the event. Video clips of the AI ‘emotional recognition’ technology results are presented to guests in the hospitality suite using Kirari technology. Guests are also given demonstration of NTT DATA’s AI ‘video clipping’ technology, demonstrating how AI can automatically recognise and segment video clips of specific players, shots and holes.
2020The Open for the Ages is launched. With an in-person event not possible, due to the pandemic, NTT DATA worked with The R&A to put on a unique virtual event, pitting golfing greats from the past 50 years against one another.
The Open for the Ages
The pandemic brought unprecedented disruption to live events. With The 149th Open postponed until 2021, an imaginative and innovative approach was needed to provide fans with an experience worthy of the world’s oldest golfing championship.
A question was posed: What if golf’s greatest champions from the past half-century could compete in the same tournament when they were at the top of their game? Who would prevail? To answer this question, The Open for the Ages was born.
The event used real footage from past championships, weaving it together with modern graphics and cutting-edge data analytics to bring fans an unprecedented virtual experience, where the likes of Jack Nicklaus and Rory McIlroy battled against one another for the very first time.
Through expertise in data and AI, as well as a fan vote, a virtual contest was played out, incorporating factors ranging from the psychological to the meteorological.
The end result was a memorable, unique experience - one that was born out of adversity, yet helped realise the potential of technology in enhancing the fan experience.
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