Data Analytics Gives Fans A Front Row Seat At 2015 Australian Open

Data Analytics Gives Fans A Front Row Seat At 2015 Australian Open

The Australian Open Grand Slam is one of the most popular annual sporting events in the world. Tennis Australia has been hosting more than 640,000 of tennis fans at Melbourne Olympic Park for the Australian Open for the past two weeks through Sunday, when action concludes with the Men's Final.

Who will host the trophies this weekend? Will Novak Djokovic defeat Andy Murray in the final to become the first man of the modern era to win five Australian Open singles titles? Who will win the women's final? Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova? A win for Williams would end a five-year drought in Melbourne and make her the second-most successful women's singles player with 19 majors and move her closer to Steffi Graf's record 22 slams. We'll find out over the next few days.

Here in Australia, it's summer and people are on vacation for their national holiday, Australia Day earlier this week. I'm not only enjoying he excitement of the Australian Open, but also witnessing the rich, multicultural flavor of the country. Australians are very proud of this event and the chance to share their country with the world.

However, if you can't be here like me, there are digital alternatives. Tennis fans around the world can experience all of the action, live, via tablets, smartphones or desktop computers. During the tournament, millions of fans visit to catch up on the latest scores, match stats, player insights and breaking news - all powered by IBM data technologies.

IBM CrowdTracker, new this year on the website and mobile apps, enhances the fan experience by displaying relevant information on a map of Melbourne Park. By using the GPS on their mobile devices, CrowdTracker allows fans to see where the most popular places are on the grounds, and by clicking on individual courts, fans can see the latest scores, stats, player details and insights. CrowdTracker helps fans follow the tournament, as well as the on-site social buzz, providing fans with the latest Twitter stats, most popular Instagram spots and what is trending on social media. By taking real-time data from the crowds, Tennis Australia can also use CrowdTracker to understand how traffic is flowing around the grounds.

IBM SlamTracker has been redesigned for 2015 to enhance match and player statistics with point-by-point and robust data visualizations. SlamTracker analyzes more than eight years of Grand Slam data, or more than 41 million data points, to identify patterns in players and their styles. Before each match, SlamTracker analyzes historical matches between the players, (or for first-time matches, players with similar styles) to identify players' key performance indicators, or "Keys to the Match," which are the strategies most likely to help them do well in a particular match.

Fans, media, players and coaches can access "Keys to the Match" on a computer or an iPad. SlamTracker is an ideal "second screen" experience, featuring point-by-point visual analysis that adds context to the on-court action. Data points include, among others, shot types, serve types, percentages and speeds, rally duration and winners. This year, we're tracking new data, such as ball and player movement, analyzing how far a player runs per point or for the whole match.

For two weeks every January, demand for information from Australian Open fans is at its highest. So much so that during the tournament, Tennis Australia's IT infrastructure must expand drastically. The Australian Open uses IBM cloud and Watson technology. The cloud, like the digital platforms it supports, combines analytics, mobile and social technologies to create and manage the most engaging and reliable experience for fans.

That same cloud is shared by other organizations, including the US Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, the US Open golf tournament, the Masters, and the Tony Awards, which have similar demand spikes at different times of the year. Just as these organizations share the cloud used at the Australian Open, business in many industries can use the same cloud, mobile, social and analytics technology to manage their operations and improve their performance.

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