NTT DATA Transforms The Open: Tech Redefines Golf Experience

NTT DATA innovations such as ShotView are transforming the fan experience at The Open. Pic: NTT DATA
NTT DATA's cutting-edge tech is revolutionising The Open, with AI, digital twins and 5G transforming the golf fan experience

The sporting world is undergoing a digital revolution, with technology companies at the forefront of transforming how fans engage with their favourite sports and athletes. From artificial intelligence-powered innovations to digital twins, these technologies are reshaping the sports landscape, creating immersive experiences that blur the lines between physical and digital realms.

One prime example of this technological evolution is NTT DATA’s partnership with The Open, golf's oldest and most prestigious championship. As the championship’s official IT provider, NTT DATA has been pushing the boundaries of fan experience for over a decade, introducing cutting-edge technologies that are setting new standards for sports engagement.

“NTT DATA is revolutionising the fan experience, on and off the course, at The Open with cutting-edge technology,” says Mona Charif, Global CMO at NTT DATA Inc.

“In partnership with The R&A, we are catalysing change by applying our sports and entertainment expertise and integrating our latest advancements in technology. From 5G technology to digital analytics, we’re enabling deeper, more dynamic insights into every aspect of the game.”

NTT DATA driving innovation at The Open: Digital twins, AI and sustainability

NTT DATA's partnership with The R&A began in 2013, marking the start of a dynamic collaboration that has significantly transformed The Open: one of golf's most iconic championships and the only golf Major outside the USA.

In the following years, this partnership has focused on leveraging NTT DATA's capabilities in digital and IT solutions to enhance the fan experience, both onsite and online.

One of the most exciting developments in sports tech is the use of digital twin technology. NTT DATA’s ShotView activation at The Open utilises this technology to create an accurate digital representation of the golf course. This allows fans to gain a “player's perspective,” visualising the strategies and decisions made by players during each stage of the championship. The system can track ball positions with remarkable accuracy, down to half a golf ball's width: providing unprecedented insights into professional gameplay.

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Artificial Intelligence is another game-changer in the sports world. NTT DATA's AI-powered Digital Human, Lottie, represents the future of spectator interaction. This advanced AI can provide real-time insights, updates from the course, statistical data and deep knowledge of golf rules and history. By blending education and entertainment through a conversational interface, Lottie demonstrates how AI can enhance fan engagement and understanding of the sport.

Underpinning these technological advancements is the introduction of private 5G networks. At The Open, NTT DATA’s implementation of a 5G network marks a significant leap in event infrastructure, with this high-bandwidth, low-latency network enabling real-time data processing and supporting complex applications.

The NTT DATA Wall at The Open showcases how data visualisation can transform fan experiences. Using Hollywood-grade CGI, this massive LED screen presents real-time data insights and ball-tracking statistics alongside engaging visualisations. By rendering hyper-realistic scenes with accurate lighting, shadows, and textures, the wall brings data to life in a way that is both informative and captivating.

The NTT DATA Wall at The Open showcases how data visualisation can transform fan experiences. Pic: NTT DATA

Beyond enhancing fan experiences, technology is also playing a crucial role in promoting sustainability in sports. NTT DATA's initiatives at The Open include providing real-time sustainability insights to fans, helping them understand their environmental impact and encouraging more sustainable behaviours. This demonstrates how technology can be leveraged not just for entertainment, but also for positive social impact.

“NTT DATA's long-term partnership enables us to develop new ways to harness the opportunities of modern golf championships, from commercial viability to sustainability and broadening fan engagement,” comments Professor Steve Otto, Chief Technology Officer at The R&A. “Their insights, and innovative application of technology, particularly the use of data, not only makes golf more accessible and appealing, but also ensures The Open is poised to thrive for many years to come. Amidst environmental sustainability efforts, digital solutions like the NTT DATA Wall transforms how fans interact with The Open, while the Digital Human, Lottie, showcases what the fan experience of the future could look like, maintaining golf’s vibrancy in today’s rapidly changing world.”

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