The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has launched an official Skype bot, Spikes, one week before the World Championships in London.
The Skype bot has been developed to stream live coverage of the event.
Spikes will launch updates from the Championships through videos and pictures of important moments, while also providing a ‘Live View’ feature through which fans can be directed to the Olympic Stadium to get an instant report.
In addition, the bot lets fans customise their preferences through the ‘My Spikes’ feature, where they can be updated on their favourite athletes or the specific competitions they are interested in.
“With the official launch of the Spikes Bot on Skype, the IAAF has taken an exciting and innovative path to engage with sports audiences in a personalised way,” said IAAF chief executive Oliver Gers.
“Athletics is an objective sport. The athletes that run the fastest, jump higher or longer and throw farthest are the winners. However, to the new or casual fan our sport can seem complicated as those winning performances are governed by technical rules and regulations. Added to that there are also a lot of athletes and many event disciplines.
“The Spikes Bot platform enables new fans to break down the complexities of athletics. The simple and interactive Skype interface will allow our bot users to explore, follow and receive real-time updates based on their specific interests. Fans can learn or go deeper into the sport.”
Gers added: “Launched as the IAAF World Championships London 2017 are set to begin, the bot enhances the experience of the fan, regardless of whether you are at home watching on TV, on the go trying to keep up with the action, or in the stadium getting additional background.
“Businesswise, we are also learning in real time what fans are interested in, to optimise the coverage of our sport to best feed fans’ appetites.
The IAAF World Championships begin on Friday and run until August 13. To use the new IAAF bot feature, search Spikes Bot in Skype’s Bot Directory and add to contacts.