Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘usta

Big Tennis Meets Big Data

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Major sporting events like the U.S. Open are not only exciting to watch and follow, but are also a living lab for how “big data” can translate into big business. This year, the USTA is using predictive analytics and cloud computing to improve the experience for everyone: fans, tennis players, event organizers and broadcasters. USTA’s Phil Green and IBM’s Rick Singer explain how.

I mentioned in my post yesterday that in 2005, as Hurricane Katrina was blowing into the Gulf Coast, that I was flying up to NYC to cover IBM’s involvement in facilitating technology solutions for the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

Well, here we are seven years later, and that partnership continues. Today, the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) announced a new round of technologies to help fans become immersed in the 2012 U.S. Open action.

This year, IBM is going to apply predictive analytics, cloud computing, and mobile technology expertise to connect tennis fans, wherever they are, to the action on the courts.

IBM has created a unique digital environment that provides U.S. Open spectators, athletes and media uninterrupted access to data, facts, stats and content via their tablets, smartphones, PCs and other devices.

This enhanced, interactive fan experience uses new technologies that thousands of businesses worldwide are embracing to up their game by uncovering insights from big data.

New iPad App: Streaming Matches

New for this year’s tournament is an iPad app that serves accurate streams of match data, access to live video, highlights and in-depth statistical information.

Enhanced social media features will enable fans to communicate with other fans around the world (but be nice!). The iPad app also delivers an insider’s view of who’s gaining the edge on the court and most likely to win — well before the final score tells the story.

This app complements iPhone and Android apps that mobile fans can access to connect to U.S. Open action in real-time from around the world. Off the court, IBM’s analysis of the U.S. Open action will extend to the social media arena by determining the Twitterverse’s favorite male and female players.

IBM is applying advanced analytics software to millions of public tweets generated throughout the tournament to assess which players are the social fans’ favorites. The IBM Social Sentiment Index will analyze buzz around the U.S. Open, providing a better understanding of fan sentiment.

The analysis will also illustrate how analytics technology can identify important, and otherwise non-obvious trends, to help businesses make better decisions about how to connect with customers.

If you’re on site at the Tennis Center, IBM has built the IBM Game Changer Interactive Wall, which extends many of the USOpen.org and mobile app features, providing greater insight into the U.S. Open, both on- and off-court using the power of analytics.

Fans will be able to interact with the wall to access live scores, match analysis and data visualizations from the IBM Social Sentiment Index analysis, as well as information about local weather and its effect on player nutrition and hydration, and more.

Broader Applications Of Analyzing Action On The Courts

Delivering insights into what’s happening on the courts at the U.S. Open requires an ability to capture and analyze each serve, volley and point. The same kind of analytics technologies that

IBM is using to deliver insights to tennis fans, players, coaches, media and sports event organizers are being used to monitor babies in prenatal wards, help police departments prevent crime and enable financial services firms to improve customer service.

“Big Data is impacting so many aspects of sporting events, that it’s no longer a stretch to say that it is changing the way fans watch and enjoy sports,” said Rick Singer, vice president, Sports Sponsorship Marketing for IBM. “Whether on the court or in the board room, Big Data is being leveraged to achieve similar goals, such as keeping operations up and running seamlessly, having accurate data readily available for quick decision making, and improving productivity.”

A Predictive Slam

One of the most insightful features of USOpen.org is IBM’s SlamTracker. Based on predictive analytics technology, it leverages historical and real-time match data to deliver a better understanding of what’s going on during a match.

SlamTracker’s ‘Momentum’ feature maps player momentum throughout a match in real-time, visualizing key turning points such as aces and winning shots, allowing fans to interact with the data to learn more about why a player is winning. In addition, SlamTracker’s ‘Keys to the Match’ feature analyzes seven years of historical Grand Slam data to determine the top three things a player must do in order to perform well in a specific match.

Serving The U.S. Open Web Traffic Appetite

During the two-week tournament, USOpen.org transforms into a massive, data hungry environment that demands unhindered access to accurate and reliable content to serve the demands of millions of tennis fans. Each year, IBM helps the USTA expand its infrastructure to meet these demands and then scale back to support regular operations following the tournament.

This elasticity is made possible by the IBM SmartCloud, which enables the rapid creation and dynamic allocation of resources while offering transparent and real-time access by a multitude of devices, such as smartphones, tablets and televisions.

This cloud environment — powered by IBM servers and storage in three geographically dispersed locations virtualized as one — ensures continuous availability and scalability required to support such a high profile event. The benefits include reduced costs and reliable operations.

You can go here to learn more about how IBM is helping the U.S. Open tap into Big Data to transform the fan experience.

Even Giants Stumble

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I watched most all the men’s semi-finals at the U.S. Open on Saturday, and I have a feeling that the match between five-time Open champion Roger Federer and Serbian Novak Djokovic will go down as one for the record books.

When I first moved to New York City at the ripe old age of 18, I went to see an afternoon of tennis live in Flushing Meadows, and that year the men’s final included Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe.  McEnroe took the championship 6-3 6-4 6-1.

I watched that year’s final on a small TV in my basement apartment in Woodside, Queens.

This year I was able to catch the semis in HD on a 55″ Sony Bravia, and of course, also follow the action throughout the tournament on the IBM-sponsored U.S. Open Web site.

I definitely prefer the HD big screen.

But I really had no inkling that Roger Federer was going to do anything but walk away the winner yesterday.  After Rafael Nadal made short work of Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, I, too, was looking forward to (finally!) a Federer/Nadal U.S. Open final.

But it wasn’t to be.

Without question, the turning point in the match came 4-3 in the fifth set, and Federer had Djokovic down 15-40. But Djokovic refused to go down without a fight, and point after point he answered Federer’s screaming serves and avoided falling even further behind.

From there on in, it was a nailbiter, and though we didn’t get our Federer/Nadal final, I’m looking forward to the men’s finals even more considering it’s Nadal’s first time in the final match (Djokovic lost to Federer in the final in 2007, 7–6(4), 7–6(2), 6–4).

Alas, the rain kept the match from occurring during its scheduled 4 PM E.S.T. start this (Sunday) afternoon, so tune in tomorrow (or set your DVR) for 4 PM.  It should be a good one.  I’m sure Djokovic was thankful for the extra day’s recovery time.

Finally, congrats also go out to Kim Clijsters for winning her second women’s U.S. Open in a row, who defeated Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-1 last night.

Written by turbotodd

September 13, 2010 at 12:27 am

Visualizing the U.S. Open

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If it’s late August, it’s time for some serious tennis.

Yes, it’s already that time again.  The U.S. Open tennis tournament kicks off this evening out at Flushing Meadows in Queens, NY.

What do you need to know about the tournament this year, particularly if you wish to follow the action closely, if remotely?

For over 19 years, IBM has worked with the U.S. Open to bring a better tournament to millions of tennis fans worldwide.

One of the best examples of this partnership is USOpen.org.

Built and hosted by IBM, the official tournament site offers real-time scores direct from the court for every single match.

You can also find updated statistics and video highlights of the day’s action, talk with other fans, and follow the U.S. Open Twitter feed.

During the 2009 U.S. Open, the site attracted over 13.5 million fans.

You can also download the U.S. Open iPhone app.

Download the U.S. Open iPhone mobile app to follow this year's U.S Open tennis action from wherever you might be.

The U.S. Open mobile app features:
  • LIVE Scores and completed match results during the Open.
  • Latest News updates from on and off the court throughout the tournament.
  • “Around Me” Find the nearest live matches, concessions, or the next train home with this augmented reality feature, Presented by IBM
  • USOpen.org Radio – American Express special feature – LIVE streaming radio and play-by-play Open coverage featuring Ask the Booth—a live, interactive Q&A with match commentators.
  • On Demand Video, Around the Grounds and American Express insider player profiles and more.
  • Tweets from the US Open official Twitter coverage, as well as featured players.
  • Visiting the Open featuring maps of the grounds, onsite American Express Cardmember benefits and other great spectator info.

Visualizing the Point

But if you’ve ever sat out at Flushing Meadows and watched any of the world class tennis that’s played there, you know there’s actually a whole lot of data being generated there: Every serve, every volley, every point, every match is filled with a voluminous amount of data — the challenge is keeping up with it all.

This year, IBM has partnered with the U.S. Tennis Association to try in the form of its PointStream solution, which will pull intelligence from the huge amounts of data around scores and match statistics, then demonstrate that information in real-time.

U.S. Open PointStream, powered by IBM, will help tennis fans better follow the action online through real-time data visualization of key statistics, including service speeds, rally counts, double faults, break points...all the key metrics in tennis.

PointStream will show aces, serve speeds, winners, and all other key data of a match visualized in real-time, allowing online fans to get that much closer to the action to matches in progress.

Closer, but not too close.

Written by turbotodd

August 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm

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