Technology Ups Its Game At The Australian Open

Technology Ups Its Game At The Australian Open

Technology company IBM and Tennis Australia are delivering a more enhanced fan experience at the 2015 Open, both on site and for fans across the globe.

Catriona Hay
Posted by Catriona Hay

At the Australian Open in Melbourne IBM explained how it’s using innovative technology and data to up its tech offerings.

The IBM SlamTracker that tracks scores and sees games come to life has been redesigned to provide fans with greater meaning from the extensive data collected throughout live matches. IBM’s new app CrowdTracker will give fans access to live match, venue and social information via ausopen.com and the official Australian Open apps.

Following feedback from last year, IBM has made improvements to SlamTracker displaying statistical analysis in a more graphical fashion to provide more meaning to fans. According to Samir Mahir, CIO at Tennis Australia, users said they wanted “more visualization” which IBM took on board when redesigning the interface.

Based on eight years of historical data SlamTracker continues to feature “Keys to the Match” to predict key strategies for each player in a match. Angela Gallo, Sponsorship Leader at IBM Australia, says these “keys” can predict match outcomes with a 98% accuracy rate. This is why broadcasters like ESPN have leveraged this data for post-match analysis.

On site, IBM CrowdTracker, debuting at Australian Open 2015 uses technology, from around the grounds to show where crowds are located. The app, which was listed on the Herald Sun’s “must-have apps for exploring Melbourne” , allows fans to see where they are on site and what’s going on nearby.

Ticket holders can see the most popular places to be on the grounds and they can click on individual courts to drill down and view latest scores, stats, player details and insights. The app also provides live social media chatter helping fans follow the latest Twitter stats, most popular Instagram spots and what is trending on social media. Fans attending the Open as well as tennis followers across the world can access this.

Cloud technology ensures a unified reliable experience

IBM cloud and cloud provisioning technology is helping Tennis Australia scale and manage the computing capacity needed for players, officials, media and fans to get updates, view scores, watch videos, check timetables and engage with the tournament securely across digital platforms.

Mahir, tells us “Last year we had over 17 million unique visitors to the website, and there was 91% increase in mobile site views”.

Big data tool IBM Watson monitors live social feeds in real-time and helps predict unexpected spikes, which according to Ian Wang, interactive lead at IBM, is a key area of focus and investment this year.

Tennis Australia uses data to manage the tournament

In addition to the focus on enhancing fan experience, Tennis Australia is also piloting the use of an operations dashboard using IBM technology.

This uses real-time crowd tracking to manage tournament operations like merchandising, security, staffing and food and drink stocks. The new prototype provides visual real time updates and insights advising operations supervisors when extra ticket scanning, deployment of staff and communication to customers may be necessary.

Ultimately, it’s still about providing a greater fan experience. Mahir sees the technology as “particularly useful when providing new services to our fans, or adjusting our inventory to provide more of a crowd-favourite product”.

A partnership grounded in innovation

Of the 22 year partnership between IBM and Tennis Australia, Mahir said: “Data is the new oil and IBM is a partner who helps us glean more meaningful insight on our audience.

“New experiences like IBM CrowdTracker delivers engaging informative data visualized content as it happens to fans in the format and channel they want.”