IBM Brings Analytics, Cloud, Mobile and Social Computing to US Open Tennis

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-08-29 Print this article Print

The enhanced SlamTracker software also offers a new embedded social sentiment feed that enables fans to follow and contrast how the volume and tone of fan sentiment on Twitter correlates and shifts as player performance changes on the court.

Though the tournament only lasts two weeks, IBM and the USTA begin preparation for it long in advance. Indeed, for most of the year, the USTA’s digital infrastructure runs like a small business, but during the two-week US Open tournament, it rapidly transforms into a data- and performance-hungry environment that requires constant access to content ready to serve the unpredictable demands of millions of tennis fans. In essence, IBM brings in the cloud.

Previously, IBM manually monitored and adjusted computing workloads for the USTA. For 2013, IBM upgraded the infrastructure that supports with a combination of predictive analytics and cloud computing technologies to predict, monitor and continuously adjust the capacity and computing resources that support the US Open’s digital needs.

This cloud computing environment—powered by IBM POWER servers and cloud technologies located in three geographically dispersed data centers that are virtualized as one—provides continuous availability and scalability. Not only does the analytics and cloud integration help the USTA more efficiently accommodate and respond to unpredictable spikes in demand for content and data during the tournament, it also provide a more effective means to manage IT costs over the course of the year when the USTA does not require as much infrastructure support.

“Sports fans demand ubiquitous and uninterrupted real-time access to scores, stats and insights from big data, much like clients and C-suite execs in most industries,” said Rick Singer, vice president of Sports Sponsorship Marketing for IBM, in a statement. “The explosion of mobile and social technologies has radically changed the ways companies and people access data, giving them many choices over how, when and where they tap into information. From watching a game on TV, catching video highlights on a smartphone to monitoring online sales via an iPad, uninhibited access to big data has become an essential element of business and life.”

IBM and the USTA also are delivering a second screen experience to fans watching from the stands on television or online via a robust, mobile-friendly that enables fans to easily navigate and access content, data and stats from a variety of devices. The US Open mobile fan experience features numerous enhancements from IBM Interactive, the company’s digital design agency, including a refreshed iPad app that offers integrated social features, instant access to live video and in-depth match analysis and statistics. IBM also boosted and improved apps it has developed for the USTA for the iPhone and Android platforms, with a scrolling timeline that keeps fans informed of new, trending social topics, match photos and more.

Also, on site at the Tennis Center, IBM is bringing back the IBM Game Changer Interactive Wall for a second consecutive year. The Game Changer wall extends many of the and mobile app features and provides greater insight into the US Open action using the power of analytics. Tennis fans can interact with the wall and access live match scores, in-depth analysis and data visualizations.


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