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January 3, 2018updated 04 Jan 2018 5:33pm

Bournemouth scores AI victory with Microsoft Azure

Football club takes fan engagement to the next level with the introduction of AI chatbot.

By James Nunns

CherryBot, an artificial intelligence system has been hailed as a success after it was deployed by AFC Bournemouth.

The AI system, which was led by digital agency Greenwood Campbell, with technical support from Microsoft and support from Bournemouth University, was launched at the club’s recent fixture against Liverpool.

Designed to enhance supporters’ matchday experience by answering questions, offering access to an exclusive selfie competition, video highlights, and other things, the AI system was deemed a success.

CherryBot used Microsoft Azure’s AI cognitive services and more functionality is expected to be added in the coming weeks.

Photo: Robin Jones/Digital South/SilverHub 0208 004 5359 sales@silverhubmedia.com

Cherrybot during AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool Premier League football match at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, UK on the 17th December 2017.

 

More than 400 selfies were uploaded, 1,150 unique Facebook users interacted – sending an average of 17 messages per person, which resulted in more than 19,200 messages being sent through the chatbot. Additionally, there were more than 3.2 million impressions across social media from launch to midnight on matchday.

Jamie Dalton, technical evangelist of Microsoft UK, said: “CherryBot has been an exciting project to be involved in and it’s great to see the latest edition to the squad being so well received by AFC Bournemouth fans.

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“Using Microsoft Azure AI cognitive services, we’re delighted to see how CherryBot engaged and entertained fans on matchday. We look forward to working with AFC Bournemouth and Greenwood Campbell to roll out additional functionality for fans in the coming weeks.”

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AFC Bournemouth commercial director, Rob Mitchell, said: “A lot of hard work went into creating and implementing CherryBot at the BU Big Match, and I am delighted at the response from our supporters.

“As a club we are always looking to embrace new and emerging technologies and to have so many people interacting with it, in the form of questions and selfies, can only be a positive sign.”

The ‘personality’ that is described as being able to interact with fans through “emotion recognition and intelligent conversation,” could become the new norm for football fans in the future.

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