Meet Northumbria University’s Tech Industry Gold undergraduate, William Cairns, who was successfully selected for a placement run by IBM at The Championships, Wimbledon. As IBM provides digital platforms across desktop and mobile, engaging fans around the world through an interactive experience, this was a fantastic opportunity for Tech Industry Gold undergraduates.
A blog by William Cairns
Placement: The Championships, Wimbledon
University: Northumbria University
Tech Industry Gold degree title: ITMB
Walking into the grounds on my first day, full of anticipation, I was blown away by the attention to detail around the site. Despite the challenges I knew I would face, I was excited about the opportunities that would present themselves.
The first three weeks at Wimbledon were very busy for the whole team, as we prepared for the approaching 2019 Championships. In my first week, I familiarised myself with the huge site, including the main buildings: Centre Court, No. 1 Court, Millennium Building (which houses the press and player areas), and the Broadcast Centre. I also attempted to guide my way through the Wimbledon tunnels under the site, which is easier said than done!
Throughout the second and third week of my placement, as a member of the hard-working Trojan team, we began to deploy over 200 ‘WIS’ (Wimbledon Information System) machines across the site. These machines showed match and player statistics, for use by players, coaches, broadcasters, VIPs and press.
During the weeks of The Championships, every morning we all had rounds consisting of checking all the systems to ensure they were operational for the day’s play ahead. We would assist with any issues throughout the day, but due to the successful deployment, there weren’t many problems.
In our free time we could watch the tennis on the outside courts, taste the famous Wimbledon strawberries and cream, and enjoy the sun (maybe a little too much in some cases!) In addition, there was time to network, build relationships with the other IBMers and share our experiences. In addition, I had great exposure to see how IBM harnesses the full potential of the data to unlock valuable insights. One of the most interesting features is the automated AI highlights. These are produced by Watson (the Artificial Intelligence of IBM) containing all the unmissable parts of the match, within 2 minutes of the match completing. The most impressive bit is that the match statistics update in real-time for 1 billion tennis fans in virtually every country around the world.
I saw many players training at the practice courts including Djokovic, Federer, Nadal, and Serena and Venus Williams – very special moments that I will not forget anytime soon. There were a few night outs during The Championships, whether it was celebrating July the 4th with our American counterparts, having fun at the karaoke bar on the Data Entry night out or celebrating our successes over a nice meal. Each social event brought the whole team closer together and we all had a great time, full of laughter.
After the tournament, the team embarked on the rollback of all the WIS machines and other systems around the site. This was an efficient and slick operation and despite three weeks of set-up, was completed within 48 hours. At the end of The Championships, there were celebrations with a few well-deserved glasses of champagne!
There were priceless moments and unforgettable memories from this amazing experience. Thanks to IBM and the Wimbledon team for making my experience so enjoyable and to Tech Partnership Degrees’ for making the placement available.
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Find out more about Tech Industry Gold accredited degrees at Northumbria University.