The Philippines' first Digital Human is unveiled at the 2023 FIBA World Cup

Meet The Philippines’ First ‘Digital Human’ At The 2023 FIBA World Cup

If you’re watching the FIBA World Cup live, keep an eye out for Pearl, the Philippines’ first Digital Human.

The world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is growing faster than some of us might have expected, and it has reached the sports world already in several ways — programs that assist with research, ones that can help coaches analyze their players, and even ones that help scouts choose players better. And now, Filipino basketball fans will get to see this first-hand, as PLDT Inc., Smart, MediaQuest Holdings, Cignal TV, and NTT DATA announced their collaboration to offer a new experience for basketball fans from the Philippines and overseas who will watch the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 onsite in Manila: the unveiling of Pearl, the country’s first “Digital Human”. 

As the 2023 FIBA World Cup tips off in the Philippines, nearly half a million basketball fans are expected to gather together from August 25 to September 11 to witness the historic tournament. During this period, not only will the spectators get to watch all the basketball action on the court, but they will also get the chance to interact with Pearl.

Pearl is a conversational AI Avatar powered by Digital Human technology that has now been brought to the Philippines. Throughout the tournament, you’ll be able to find her at special kiosks at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and the Mall of Asia Arena, and ask her all your FIBA-related questions!

Upgrading the fan experience

A first in the Philippines, and in Asia, this is the latest in Digital Human technology. Her program combines speech recognition, machine learning, natural language processing, and conversational AI to connect with people.  

As she is equipped with ChatGPT technology, as well as visual and sound sensors, Pearl will be at the FIBA World Cup not just to entertain fans, but to help them out by answering their questions, such as how to get to their seats. She can also give people other useful information, including where they can get their snacks or recommended activities in Manila for tourists. 

Pearl speaks with visitors naturally, complete with detailed facial expressions.  Fans who want to get updates on the games can simply ask Pearl, who can then tell them the latest game results, statistics, leaderboards, and upcoming matches. 

“The NTT Group has been advocating Smart Solutions for sports for some time now, and we are happy to introduce it to the Philippines at this global event. We look forward to more collaborations with the PLDT Group and the Mediaquest Group as we develop more innovations,” said NTT DATA Executive Vice President, Noriyuki Kaya. 

Digital Human technology has been developed by NTT DATA, along with NTT Ltd. and NTT DATA Business Solutions, to promote Smart Solutions for fans to experience globally. These Smart Solutions combine creative communications with the latest advances in Internet of Things (IoT) technology and AI to create a unique experience for sports fans. The NTT Group has introduced Smart Solutions through various sporting events such as the Tour de France, IndyCar Series, and Major League Baseball. 

PLDT CEO Al Panlilio, NTT DATA EVP Noriyuki Kaya, MEDIAQUEST & Cignal CEO Jane Jimenez Basas with Pearl, the Philippines' first Digital Human unveiled at the FIBA World Cup
Al Panlilio, PLDT CEO; Kaz Nishihata, NTT Data CEO; and Jane Basas, MediaQuest CEO

In collaboration with Smart and PLDT, through its business-to-business arm, PLDT Enterprise, Mediaquest, Cignal, and the NTT Group have brought Smart Solutions to the Philippines just in time for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. 

“We are thrilled at the chance to bring these next-generation technologies to Filipino basketball fans as we adapt more innovative and customer-centric digital solutions. We will learn from the interactions that the fans will have with Pearl, and we will continue to improve the live stadium experience for future events.”, said PLDT and Smart Communications President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio, who also serves as Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President. 

“Aside from helping sports fans enjoy the FIBA games, Pearl gives them something more – a taste of the emerging digital future today. That’s why we are quite keen on bringing Smart Solutions to Philippine sports. This will bring the fan experience to new, higher levels.”, said Jane J. Basas, President and CEO of Mediaquest and Cignal. 

Images courtesy of PUBLICITYASIA.

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