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IBM rallies tennis fans with innovative technology at the Australian Open 2014

Tennis Australia and IBM use new mobile apps, enhanced data analytics and cloud computing to deliver the most engaging event yet for fans

Melbourne, Australia - 14 Jan 2014: IBM (NYSE: IBM) is bringing tennis fans even closer to the Australian Open 2014, with new ways to access and interact with the latest tournament news and courtside action from the Grand Slam as it happens.

Through the use of innovative and interactive technology, IBM will provide fans with a richer fan experience for the international tennis tournament. The official mobile apps for the Australian Open deliver easy functionality with real-time scores and schedules, comprehensive match and player analysis and Twitter feeds. New this year is the free iPad app, which is the ultimate digital destination, enabling fans to follow their favourite players, tweet messages of support from a player's profile and track player popularity online using IBM social media analytics.

Infographic: Australian Open 2014 rallies fans online

“We are seeing increased demand from fans around the world for more access and real-time event content. Over the two weeks of the Australian Open last year, more than 15.5 million unique users connected with the tournament online, and almost half of the website views were from mobile devices.  Each year we aim to enhance the event experience and this year we have worked with our technology partner, IBM, to develop a new iPad app, improve the website and smartphone apps, as well as advance the technology infrastructure behind the scenes,” said Samir Mahir, CIO, Tennis Australia. 

Today’s tennis fans also seek a deeper experience that goes beyond live scores and updates. Insights and visualisations, provided by IBM SlamTrackerTM on the Australian Open website, analyse more than eight years of Grand Slam data to identify patterns in player style. New features to SlamTracker for 2014 include streamlined analysis of more fan friendly key turning points in a match, such as aces and winning shots, and a social media sentiment feed that measures the percentage of positive tweets. 

“During the Australian Open each year we transform almost overnight from a medium size business to a global enterprise that must service millions of fans, players, media and officials from around the globe,” continued Samir Mahir. “Using IBM predictive analytics and cloud computing technologies ensures we can meet this demand uninterrupted.”

IBM predictive cloud provisioning analyses multiple data sources in real-time, such as tournament schedule, player popularity, historical data and social media conversations, to predict and automatically allocate the computing power required by the Australian Open website.

New this year, tennis fans can also now experience what it is like to face a serve from one of the world’s top players with the new IBM ReturnServe. To create this experience for fans IBM, in partnership with Tennis Australia, analyses real-time data from every point of the game at the Rod Laver Arena during the tournament. Displayed in a graphically animated environment and hosted on IBM SoftLayer, this live serve data lets fans attempt to return each serve at home using their computer or at select onsite locations using a virtual reality headset.

“Our 21-year history with the Australian Open has been about making the event and the sport of tennis more engaging and enjoyable.  This latest focus on the omni-channel experience is no exception. With new digital technologies like the iPad app and virtual reality IBM ReturnServe, this event is a leading example of how cloud computing, data analytics, social and mobile technologies can help organisations better connect with audiences,” said Glen Thomas, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, IBM Australia and New Zealand.

For more information about IBM visit ibm.com/australianopen or join the conversation on Twitter at #IBMsports #ausopen #ibmreturnserve

Australian Open 2014


IBM and Tennis Australia

Since IBM became Tennis Australia’s technology partner in 1993, the partnership has delivered innovative technology solutions, enhancing the Australian Open experience for players, coaches and fans around the world. Key IBM solutions at the 2014 tournament include:

  • IBM SlamTracker - statistics and visualisation platform using predictive analytics and historical data to identify and broadcast key performance indicators, providing comparisons of players’ careers and live performances. This analysis includes key performance indicators — what players need to do to succeed in a match — known as 'Keys to the Match'. During the match, each player's performance is measured against their keys and updated in real time on ausopen.com, providing fans with a deeper level of insight as the match unfolds.
  • Ausopen.com website - IBM designs, develops and hosts the official website on an IBM private cloud. Fans can follow live scores from every court, review highlights of the day’s play, listen to live tournament radio and read blogs.
  • New in 2014 – IBM ReturnServe - Tennis fans can now experience what it’s like to face the world’s top players with the ReturnServe website and the ReturnServe virtual reality experience at selected locations in Sydney and Melbourne. Based on live data analysed by IBM technology at Rod Laver Arena, fans can face each serve at home, using their computer or at the virtual reality locations using a headset. The aim of the game is to return serves at the same speed as the world’s best. IBM ReturnServe is hosted on IBM SoftLayer, a robust and scalable platform.
  • Australian Open Social Leaderboard - updated every few minutes, this website feature tracks the positive and negative sentiment for players on social media. Fans can help their favourite players move up the ranks by ‘liking’ or tweeting favourably about a player.

Contact(s) information

Katie Burford
IBM External Relations ANZ
+61-450-333-600
kburford@au1.ibm.com

Sandra McMullan
IBM External Relations ANZ
+61-416-049-409
smullan@au1.ibm.com

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Australian Open 2014 rallies fans online

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