How Aaron And The IBM iX Team Take The Work Out Of Play

Aaron Baughman and the IBM Interactive Experience (iX) team take good things and make them better. For example, when the Recording Academy hosted the 60th annual GRAMMY Awards. And Aaron and his teammates—with Watson’s help—made sure millions of viewers around the world were able to access highlights in near real-time.

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For the 60th annual GRAMMY awards, Aaron and team put IBM Watson to work curating highlights, including images from the red carpet and lyric analysis of nominated songs. Explore the data and see what “Bodak Yellow” and “A Boy Name Sue” have in common.

Each year, over a period of nearly six hours, more than 100,000 images are captured on the GRAMMYs red carpet. In the past, The Recording Academy used third party photography services to analyze the photos and recommend to a content team those most suitable for the GRAMMY site.

More than 100,000 photos. Analyzed manually. Twice.

“The process was extremely time consuming and delayed the Recording Academy’s ability to create timely experiences for fans.” So Aaron and his teammates put Watson on the case.

Through computer vision, image analysis, fashion analysis and deep facial recognition, Watson provided contextual awareness for each photo in real-time. “Watson helps tell the story of the 2018 GRAMMYs, and ultimately gets fans get closer to the artists.”

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Aaron Baughman shows off his Fantasy Football Championship trophy, won a roster chosen using Fantasy Insight with Watson. “Within a 14-team league using a points per reception format, my final regular season record was a perfect 13-0.”

And using Watson to enhance fan experiences for major live events is what Aaron is all about. Among other projects, the iX team has helped fantasy football fanatics choose winning lineups, auto-curated highlights from The Masters, personalized content and real-time insights for Wimbledon fans and built a Virtual Concierge for Pebble Beach visitors.

“In sports and entertainment, every year you have to have something new and fresh. You always have to innovate.” And, as we know, it’s at the intersection of “fresh” and “new” where patents are found. Aaron estimates that he’s filed nearly 300 inventions, of which about 130 have been published and 60 granted.

But even if you’re not in a high profile, competitive space, Aaron urges you to look at your work and find ways to push new ideas forward. “Invention is important for global good. I challenge IBMers to think about the situation within their own lives and find ways to create.”

Aaron Baughman is a Senior Technical Staff Member, an IBM Master Inventor, an Academy of Technology member, a Principal Data Scientist for the IBM Interactive Experience team.

The IBM Patent Leadership series marks IBM’s 25th consecutive year leading in patent grants. The series consists of innovation stories from remarkable IBMers who help make this company what it is and has been for over a century: a collection of inquisitive, restless, determined humans who drive the culture of innovation within and beyond our walls.

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