LONDON The roar of the crowd during a tense match between Serena Williams and Heather Watson, and a spike in fans’ heart rates during Andy Murray’s tiebreaker: those are two examples of information Jaguar is capturing every day during Wimbledon. In its inaugural year as a sponsor of the tournament, the British luxury automaker is using biometric wristbands, stationary sensors, and social media data to power its #FeelWimbledon campaign, giving fans worldwide a chance to experience the vibe of the event that runs through July 12 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
“There’s something really special about Wimbledon, and not everyone can physically come here. We want people to be able to experience what that feeling is,” says Laura Schwab, Jaguar’s United Kingdom marketing director. Schwab says the technology provides a broader view than just looking at a score. “For example Nadal lost in a heartbreaking match. You can look at the score, but the real story is what did it feel like and how was the crowd responding to what was happening. It gives an interesting picture around sports and the emotions sports create for people,” she says.
Jaguar has partnered with Lightwave to capture the vibe of Wimbledon by analyzing three types of data. Prior to the start of the tournament, Lightwave worked with Wimbledon to install about a dozen atmospheric sensors around the venue. These devices are collecting information on the density, temperature, and audio level of the crowd.
“Tennis is unlike other sporting events where there is persistent crowd reaction. Tennis is all about the silence and being respectful to players. So as it turns out our atmospheric sensors are perfect in picking up not only the audio response as in cheering but also the silence, which is as important from the data perspective,” says Lightwave C.E.O. Rana June.
The second set of data is coming from biometric wristbands being worn by about 20 people each day. The wristbands track the wearer’s motion, audio level, geolocation, and heart rate. “We are using a very high resolution heart rate device that is not just picking up the average heart rate—it’s pulling the raw heart rate signal,“ June says. “That’s allowing us to do heart rate variability, which is something that has been used in neuroscience to essentially detect the fight or flight response.” Each person is also carrying an iPhone 6 that is acting as a beacon to transmit the data in real time. The third set of data is coming from social media activity using the hashtag #Wimbledon and related words.
June and a team of about 30 people are at Wimbledon interpreting the information coming from these three sources—which she says equates to 45 million rows of data each day of the two-week tournament—and creating visualizations that Jaguar is posting on its website, sharing through social media, and displaying on billboards around London.
“This is a very exciting moment for sensor technology because historically this kind of measurement has only been done in the lab on a few of people,“ June says. “The fact that we can now take that to scale is very exciting. It’s very challenging, but it’s giving us incredible insights into human behavior.”