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IBM serves up real-time data for Tennis Australia

Data analytics help tennis players review their performance

As players fight for the top spot in the Australian Open, behind the scenes, Tennis Australia is tracking their every move using an IBM scoring and analysis tool called SlamTracker.

It provides match stats across all courts, with live text commentary and a momentum visualiser for featured matches. SlamTracker applies IBM business analytics to examine 39 million data points across seven years of Grand Slam championships, finding patterns and styles for players when they win.

Tennis Australia chief information officer, Samir Mahir, said that it plans to make the data generated by the tool available to stake holders such as players, coaches and the media.

"Analytics is very important to us because we're in the business of high performance which means we need data to analyse players' games," he said. "We train a lot of juniors in Melbourne and other parts of Australia so we need to get insights from that data to help them improve their game."

In addition, Tennis Australia has expanded its use of IBM's private Cloud to scale its data in real time during the two weeks of the Australian Open.

The private Cloud is a virtualised environment hosted in three US-based data centres ensuring access to Web content from the Australian Open for millions of fans, broadcasters and players worldwide.

"We've focused this year on Cloud computing because it is very important to Tennis Australia to have a scalable and resilient infrastructure," Mahir said.

"This is not the first time we have used Cloud but the difference is that we've enhanced our disaster recovery."

The need for greater disaster recovery was due to what happened during the US Open in 2011 when Hurricane Irene hit.

"IBM US had to lock down the venue and move data into the Cloud," Mahir said.

"After the hurricane passed, they were able to move operations back to resume play. It was crucial that we had a similar configuration available."

According to Mahir, in less than three minutes the organisation can provision a Web server and within less than five minutes can migrate a live application work load from one server to another.

"We have a lot of visitors to our website and we should be able to scale up based on the increased loads and traffic," he said.

IBM has also added an Android application to its existing iPhone app for the 2012 Australian Open which offers live scores, highlights and news.

In other news, Tennis Australia recently partnered with Optus to provide free Wi-Fi for visitors to the Open, irrespective of which carrier they are on.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU


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