IBM Signs Noteworthy Deals With Schlumberger (SLB) And ESPN

By Amit Chowdhry ● September 10, 2020
  • IBM (NYSE: IBM) has signed noteworthy deals with Schlumberger NV (NYSE: SLB) and ESPN. These are the details.

This week, IBM (NYSE: IBM) has signed noteworthy deals with Schlumberger NV (NYSE: SLB) and ESPN. The deal with  Schlumberger involves a collaboration to accelerate digital transformation across the oil and gas industry. And the deal with ESPN involves a new feature to the ESPN Fantasy Football app.

Deal With Schlumberger

Through the agreement with Red Hat and IBM, Schlumberger has committed to the exclusive use of Red Hat OpenShift. By using the container platform, it will enable the deployment of applications in the DELFI environment across any infrastructure, from traditional data centers to multiple clouds including private and public. And this new way of hosting will offer the possibility to use multiple cloud providers and will address critical issues for customers, facilitating in-country deployments in compliance with local regulations and data residency requirements.

The DELFI environment incorporates data analytics and AI, drawing upon multiple data sources, automating workflows, and facilitating seamless collaboration for domain teams. And many more oil and gas operators, suppliers and partners — from all regions of the world — will be enabled to work from the industry’s leading digital environment built on a standard and open platform where they can ‘write once and run everywhere’ when creating new applications.

Schlumberger is known for supporting many of the world’s most vital oil and gas operations and is on the forefront of digitalization across the energy sector. And it has established the DELFI environment as the industry-leading cognitive E&P environment where today energy professionals access open APIs to work together, independent of role, workflow or physical location, and create solutions that significantly improve business operations.

And the organization intends to further their collaboration with the creation of a differentiated data management and operations solution for the OSDU data platform, enabling oil and gas operators to build, deploy, and transition digital solutions with hybrid-cloud data infrastructures. This is going to foster wider collaboration and greater efficiency across many professionals in the E&P value chain.

Before this announcement, Schlumberger, IBM, and Red Hat successfully piloted the new hybrid cloud deployment of the DELFI environment on Red Hat OpenShift (the leading Kubernetes platform) working with Red Hat and IBM Services, the world’s largest team of Red Hat certified consultants. The two organizations focused on demonstrating the flexibility and portability for compute, storage and data intensive exploration and field development applications.

IBM’s partnership with Schlumberger is part of the company’s new commitment to invest in accelerating adoption of hybrid cloud and open architectures. And IBM is targeting essential industries like energy, running the crucial processes of the world. These efforts are becoming increasingly in importance as organizations navigate the impacts of the pandemic and economic downturn — which is creating an acute need for speed to market, flexibility, and nimbleness to encourage innovation.

Key Quotes About The Schlumberger Deal

“By expanding market access to the DELFI environment we take a major step forward on the journey to establishing the open and flexible digital environment our industry needs. Our collaboration with IBM and Red Hat complements our established digital partnerships to produce an industry-first solution to overcome our customers’ challenges. Together, we are enabling seamless access to a hybrid cloud platform in all countries across the globe for deployment in any basin, for any operator.”

— Olivier Le Peuch, chief executive officer, Schlumberger

“The logic, purpose, and differentiation of all businesses can now be rendered in code, which is why digital innovation has become the most powerful way to drive transformation and hybrid cloud is the lever that unleashes it. Together with Schlumberger, we are empowering a much broader group of participants to play a role in driving that transformation and helping the energy industry solve some of the world’s toughest challenges to emerge stronger.”

— Arvind Krishna, chief executive officer, IBM

“The energy industry is transforming as organizations look for efficient new ways to power their operations, adopt digital technologies to create a competitive advantage, and innovate and integrate workflows to make faster and better decisions. A hybrid cloud foundation built on open source offers the flexibility, acceleration and innovation this digital transformation requires. Schlumberger has long been an industry leader and is bold in its vision for digital transformation in the energy industry. We look forward to working closely with Schlumberger to make the DELFI environment available everywhere with Red Hat OpenShift.” 

— Paul Cormier, president and chief executive officer, Red Hat

Deal With ESPN

IBM and ESPN also announced Trade Assistant with IBM Watson — which is a new feature to the ESPN Fantasy Football app designed to help fantasy football players make more informed and fair trades throughout the 2020 season. And the feature builds on ESPN and IBM’s efforts to make playing Fantasy Football more engaging by utilizing artificial intelligence (AI).

Trade Assistant with IBM Watson was designed to reduce the complexities of fantasy football trades by suggesting trades that assess the fairness and value of a proposed trade: helping fantasy football players make smarter and more informed decisions. The Trade Assistant with IBM Watson feature will assess the value of a player on a roster, the cost of losing a player, and the equity involved in a trade. The new IBM feature is integrated only into ESPN Fantasy Football apps (mobile iOS & Android).

In order to suggest trades, Trade Assistant with IBM Watson uses Watson Discovery’s advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities to extract, translate, and review inputs on football players and teams like player stats and experts’ sentiment from sources including ESPN.com, news articles, blogs and podcast transcripts. And this helps to remove bias and uncover new insights from troves of unstructured and structured data buried in a variety of different document types.

Language tends to be a persistent challenge for businesses because it is always evolving and lives in many different forms. NLP parses language into elemental pieces to help organizations unearth insights, make more informed decisions, and create conversational experiences. 

Currently in the fourth season, ESPN Fantasy Football Insights with IBM Watson utilizes machine learning techniques to turn unstructured data into actionable insights by assigning a “boom” or “bust” designation based on the player’s likelihood of exceeding or falling short of his projected scoring range. And users can then compare player data to help balance risk and reward across their roster. Where the average fantasy football user takes in fewer than four sources of data before making decisions, the Player Insights with IBM Watson feature tapped into nearly 228 million articles and delivered 25 billion insights to ESPN Fantasy Football users across the world during the 2019 season.

Key Quotes About ESPN Deal:

“IBM is a longstanding, pivotal sponsor of ESPN Fantasy Football. Over the years, we have worked with IBM to uniquely integrate the brand and Watson technology to enhance the fantasy player experience and drive deeper engagement with sports fans. This year, our relationship is reaching new heights with Trade Assistant with IBM Watson, which is a testament to the types of innovation that can emerge from exceptional collaboration.”

— Marco Forte, Senior Vice President, Disney Advertising Sales at Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS)

“Like the business world, Fantasy Football has access to massive amounts of data that can be extremely challenging to digest and glean meaningful insight from to make more informed and less biased decisions. IBM is advancing Watson’s ability to understand the language of business to help our clients turn information into actionable insights. Trade Assistant with IBM Watson is a chance for the millions of ESPN’s Fantasy Football users to directly interact with IBM Watson on a daily basis.”

— Noah Syken, Vice President of Sports & Entertainment Partnerships, IBM