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IBM taps social media at Australian Open

Adam Bender | Jan. 15, 2013
Twitter serves feedback on event and informs IBM when to increase capacity.

Tennis Australia has 200TB to store all the data and video, which it expects to be enough for two years, Mahir said. "Last year, we used about 50TB."

One destination for data distribution is the media room, where IBM has installed about 300 touchscreen devices for journalists. The devices display information including statistics from each ongoing match, match analyses and live and recorded IPTV video.

The media room at the Australian Open.

Match analysis is also provided to players and coaches after the contest. This is the first year match analysis is available online, Mahir said. It was previously available only on DVD and over IPTV, he said.

The top Web features demanded by fans are scores, results and video, Mahir said. However, data sent to the website provides more than scores. One tool charts a player's momentum, highlighting turning points in each match. Another feature called Slam Tracker considers player types and historical statistics to predict keys to winning each match.

For each match, Slam Tracker assigns each player three performance goals they need to complete to make victory likely. If one player achieves all three of their keys and the other players gets none of theirs, the system is correct more than 95 per cent of the time, O'Brien said.

The predictive tool was introduced last year but IBM continues to make enhancements to improve the accuracy of predictions, O'Brien said. Tennis Australia uses a similar tool year-round to help coaches, added Mahir.

Scores and live video are also available through an IBM smartphone app available for Apple iOS and Android. More complex features on the website like the keys to winning the game are not available on the app.

More mobile devices are being used on site than ever before, Mahir toldComputerworld Australia. There was a 36 per cent increase in the number of mobile devices between 2011 and 2012, and "we expect probably a higher increase" this year, he said.

"We focused on different features [for mobile] because of the usability perspective," Mahir said. Tennis Australia determined that people mainly wanted to use the app for scores, schedules and other basic information, he said.

The IBM app is completely separate from the Ticketek app. The mobile ticketing app "caters to purchasing quickly and we don't want to distract [customers] from that," he said.


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