IBM aces the fan experience at the Australian Open with real time alerts and new social sharing features

IBM cognitive, cloud and analytics technologies powers Tennis Australia to meet growing demands on Australian Open digital platform

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Melbourne - 19 Jan 2016: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Tennis Australia today announced they are using advanced cognitive, analytics, cloud and mobile technologies to meet the increasing demands of fans, players, media and officials who want a deeper and richer Australian Open experience at the tournament and around the world.

In 2015, more than 14.3 million unique users engaged with the Australian Open website through desktop and mobile devices to catch the latest news, scores and results as well as watch the latest court action. Keeping this growing digital audience engaged with new and immersive experiences whether they are at home, in the stadium or on the move is a key focus of the Australian Open and IBM partnership.

New features provided by IBM in 2016 to meet the growing expectations of tennis fans around the world include:

  • Tournament Notifications Dashboard – fans will receive tournament updates and records as they happen: Designed and built by IBM Interactive Experience, the application uses IBM analytics to automatically identify and classify in real-time data, statistics and updates captured from the courts and around the stadium into three categories based on their significance – record breaking, newsworthy or informational.  The analysed data is then visualised on a colour-coded, dynamic dashboard that can be viewed by Tennis Australia on any device. The dashboard interface also allows Tennis Australia to set up notifications and personalise the search and leader-board functions.

    The dashboard will enable the Australian Open content and editorial teams to immediately identify and share record breaking and newsworthy content for fans, media  and broadcasters via web, social and news channels.

  • MatchCentre - complete match information at the fingertips of fans: The feature uses IBM’s SlamTracker real-time analytics and automated content management technology to provide a one stop source for pre and post match information and live updates during matches.  Built by IBM for mobile, fans can view and share via their social networks head to head player comparisons and statistics, match videos, point by point scoring, the live Australian Open blog, social commentary, and if they missed the live action the final scores and highlights.
  • Helping Tennis Australia deliver 24/7 real-time, automated content to fans: This year the Australian Open editorial team will use the IBM Marketing Cloud to send fans automated messages and notifications about the tournament straight to their mobile devices based on a fan’s individual personal preferences and geo-location whether they are at the stadium, in Melbourne or around the world.

           The editorial team will also use a new streamlined and automated IBM content management platform that helps to aggregate, assemble and publish content including blogs, articles, photos, videos, social commentary and live scoring to the Tournament’s digital, social and mobile channels.

  • Join the Twitter conversation and share player and match stats straight to social with IBM SlamTracker: This year, SlamTracker will includes ‘Social Share’, a feature enabling fans to instantly post the latest on court action to their social networks extending the engagement potential of the platform.  The application will also include a social sentiment feature that uses Watson APIs on Bluemix, where fans can track and view the volume and sentiment of social conversations about a player and contribute to the Twitter conversation.

           Each year more than 4 million fans access this historical and real time analytics feature. SlamTracker’s “Keys to the Match” uses IBM predictive analytics technology to   examine over 41 million data points, including competitors’ historical head-to-head results, individual players’ previous matches, and statistics against comparable opponents. Based on the analysis, the software identifies key strategies that are likely to affect the dynamics of a particular match. As the match unfolds, fans can track the athletes’ progress against their keys in real time. SlamTracker also provides live scoring, player and ball movement visualisation and social crowd sourcing.

  • Cloud environment that supports more than 23 Terabytes of online traffic: to meet the significant spikes in online traffic to the Australian Open website, mobile site, applications and on-court scoring all digital platforms will be hosted across four IBM global cloud SoftLayer centres this year.  The shift to a SoftLayer cloud environment provides Tennis Australia with the required flexibility and agility to scale infrastructure up and down as required, combined with the resiliency and security needed to meet the needs of a worldwide online audience.

“In the twenty-three year partnership with IBM we have looked to technology to promote and connect people to the game of tennis, and to our event.  We continually look for innovative ways to create memorable and shareable experiences on and off court for players, coaches and millions of tennis fans worldwide,” said Primoz Trcek, CIO, Tennis Australia. “Year on year we are seeing an increase in the demand for more Australian Open digital experiences, with 1.2 million unique visitors on the official Australian Open mobile app in 2015 and 14.3 million unique visitors to Ausopen.com. Cognitive, cloud and analytics technologies are playing an increasingly important role in not only delivering a richer fan experience but also to ensure the tournament’s efficiency on the backend.”

IBM’s decades of experience transforming the fan experience at all four tennis Grand Slams, The Masters and the U.S. Open golf, Melbourne Spring Fashion Week and the Melbourne Cricket Ground is helping the Australian Open to create unique and engaging experiences for its fans. 

”Watching a match on a TV, device or even in the stadium is not enough for fans today.  They expect to be able to converge their physical and digital worlds using their devices anytime, anywhere,” said Ian Wong, Partner, IBM Interactive Experience. “Our experience with sporting and social events has enabled us to continue to create truly immersive courtside experiences for fans to enjoy and share at the tournament and around the world.”

Australian Open 2015 Digital and Social Statistics

  • 14.3 million unique visitors to ausopen.com
  • 24.3 million views across all official AO video platforms
  • 1.2 million unique visitors on the Australian Open mobile app
  • 23 Terabytes of Internet traffic was handled by the network infrastructure, a 136 percent increase on 2014
  • 10,784 games, 68,345 points and 1,128 sets captured, analysed and distributed via the AO scoring system.

For more information about IBM visit www.ibm.com/australianopen

IBM’s end to end solution provides a virtual seat for officials, media, fans, players at the Australian Open 2016

  • ausopen.com - 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.
  • Mobile apps - the official Australian Open iPhone app, Android app and mobile website are built and powered by IBM, providing live scores, radio, Twitter feeds, schedules and draws.
  • IBM SlamTracker - statistics and visualisation platform using predictive analytics and historical data to identify and track key performance indicators, providing live scores as well as real time and post match comparisons of players’ statistics .
  • Capture more live data points live on court from the chair umpire, statisticians and radar. The data is then analysed, stored, secured and published across the many Australian Open digital channels to be used by players, officials, fans and media.
  • IBM’s integrated end-to-end scoring system - IBM technology drives the live scores that are broadcast around the world, along with other real-time data such as match statistics and the radar speed of serves.
  • IBM Software Defined Storage - manages terabytes of data and scales dynamically so that fans can always have information – scores, updates, schedules, videos and social media streams – at their fingertips.
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