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Watson Dialog[6]

IBM wants to improve your golf game and it’s getting help from a Seattle startup to do so.

The tech giant today announced three partnerships to develop applications that use its Watson technology to “ultimately transform the future of sports.”

Contact[12]One of those deals is with Spare5, a relatively new Seattle startup that raised $10 million in August and pays people to spend their spare time performing short tasks on a smartphone.

Spare5 is building an app called “Watson Golf Pro” that utilizes Watson’s deep learning, natural language, and vision capabilities to provide advice to golfers. The app combines Watson’s ability to analyze a golf swing and deliver relevant information with real-life golf professionals on its platform who can make money in their down time by providing tips to golfers.

The idea is to use technology and mobile devices to reach golfers and improve their game at any time and at any location. It’s a more sophisticated version of what teaching professional Hank Haney does on Twitter, where he’ll have people submit videos or photos of their swing and then offer advice in response.

This is an interesting move from Spare5, which is typically used by companies for tasks like photo tagging, price guessing, and simple surveys — jobs that Spare5 users complete on their smartphone in exchange for payment.

spare5Customers of Spare5 come from a wide variety of industries and use cases. For example, Getty Images uses the platform to improve subjective descriptions, relevant keywords, and SEO for its photos. Groupon, meanwhile, asks Spare5 users — also known as “Fives” — to help update metadata on merchant listings. Other customers include United Way, which uses Spare5 to improve its data on King County demographics, and Sentient Technologies, which bolsters its machine learning algorithms by giving Spare5 users small tasks.

The partnership with IBM to utilize golf professionals on Spare5’s platform is unique, though. Spare5 said there are other opportunities to “democratize coaching” outside of just sports and for industries like retail, healthcare, and life sciences.

ibm-logo11IBM’s other two partnerships announced today include a deal with Triax Technologies, which has developed a wearable tech headband embedded with sensors that also utilizes Watson natural language cognitive capabilities.

“By utilizing the Watson language service, this device can factor in more diverse data sources to analyze sentiment and infer cognitive and social characteristics to provide a more holistic view of athletic safety and performance,” IBM said in a press release.

IBM also partnered with 113 Industries, a company that helps teams use technology to improve the fan experience. From IBM’s press release:

“By leveraging 113 Industries’ “Pi” service embedded with Watson natural language cognitive capabilities, the Penguins can analyze large volumes of fan-based data to develop specialized offers and services for fans visiting the CONSOL Energy Center.”

IBM, whose stock has dropped by nearly 23 percent in the last year, has inked similar deals with sports companies, leagues, and organizations over the past several decades. It worked with The Masters this year on an array of innovative technologies like ball tracking and predictive analytics, and also partnered with the USGA during the U.S. Open.

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