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Australian Open lobs data high into a private cloud with IBM

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Melbourne, Australia - 17 Jan 2012: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced it is leveraging a global private cloud computing system for this year’s Australian Open as part of its technology partnership for the international Grand Slam tennis tournament.

The private cloud allows Australian Open organisers, Tennis Australia, to rapidly scale its data in real time, as well as guarantee continuous availability even in the event of a complete data centre outage. The IBM private cloud is a virtualised environment hosted in three US-based data centres ensuring uninterrupted access to content from the Open for millions of fans, broadcasters and players worldwide.

 “All our tennis fans are important to us, whether they are at the event or watching from home, and we want to give a connected experience for the Australian Open,” said Samir Mahir, CIO, Tennis Australia. “The private cloud solution provides the necessary volume of Australian Open data to anyone in the world at any time, without any excess demand affecting its quality or availability. This means fans can expect real-time access to more dynamic content even during the busiest periods of the competition.”

IBM has already leveraged the private cloud at other tennis Grand Slams to meet the scalability and data integrity needs of organisers in the USA, UK and France. For the Australian Open, IBM has virtualised much of the tournament’s data infrastructure and server migration, giving Tennis Australia more flexible technology solutions which can scale up and down to meet the changing demands from fans.

IBM & AO 2012_infographic

“Elasticity of computing power is critical when you’re dealing with audiences of such a significant tournament,” said Samir Mahir, CIO, Tennis Australia. “For most of the year Tennis Australia is a small and medium size business, but for two weeks every January we host the Australian Open and become a large global enterprise. We need to be able to rapidly adjust to the number of fans accessing our digital content and their changing interests throughout the competition. IBM’s private cloud lets us meet these peaks and troughs throughout the design, testing and live phases of the Australian Open in a flexible and cost-effective way. This year we will benefit from being able to provision a new web server in less than three minutes and move a live application workload from one IBM POWER System to another in less than four minutes.”

IBM continues to work with organisers to raise the level of match and player data available to spectators around the world. The Australian Open will feature an enhanced IBM SlamTracker, a live scoring and analysis tool that delivers match stats across all courts, with live text commentary and a momentum visualiser for featured matches. SlamTracker applies IBM business analytics technology to examine over 39 million data points across seven years of Grand Slam championships, finding patterns and styles for players when they win. This knowledge is compared to an opponent's patterns and style to determine the keys to the match for each player. IBM will also add an Android smartphone application to its existing iPhone app for the Open, delivering live scores, highlights and news to even more mobile users. All of IBM’s front-end services will interface directly with the private cloud to provide a consistently rich data experience regardless of platform.

“2012 marks the nineteenth year of IBM’s role as Official Technology Partner of the Australian Open,” said Sarah Cole, IBM’s Australian Open project lead. “One of the hallmarks of the partnership with Tennis Australia has been the successful adoption of technology innovation to enrich the Australian Open experience for players, fans and organisers. Our investment in new technologies has made Grand Slam tennis one of the most sophisticated spectator sports in the world.”

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IBM has been the official Technology Partner of the Australian Open since 1993. Key IBM solutions at the 2012 tournament include:

In partnership with Tennis Australia, IBM designs, develops and hosts the Australian Open website giving fans around the globe a ‘virtual seat’ at the tournament. It allows fans to listen to live radio, review highlights of the day’s play, read blogs and follow the scores from every court. During the two week tournament in 2011, the site attracted over 10 million unique visitors.

Smart phone solutions

The Official Australian Open iPhone and Android applications and mobile website are built and powered by IBM, providing real-time scores, radio, Twitter feeds about the Australian Open as well as completed matches, schedules and draws.

IBM SlamTracker

IBM SlamTracker is a live scoring and analysis tool that applies IBM business analytics to give fans a virtual seat at the tournament. It allows millions of worldwide fans to interact in real-time with the draw online, track players' progress and see live scores and results.  This year IBM SlamTracker features Keys to the Match, an in-depth analysis tool which shows fans suggestions which might help their favourite players improve their chances of winning as well as the opportunity for fans to post comments around the match.

Scoring system

Vital scoring information is displayed via IBM’s integrated end-to-end scoring system, which makes live scores available around Melbourne Park and the world as they happen.

Speed serve and radar

The IBM courtside radar captures exact serve speeds, which are immediately transmitted to the IBM scoring database and displayed courtside.

Match statistics

On the seven broadcast courts, statisticians record vital information on every match. This information is then sent in real time to the IBM Scoring System.

Chair Umpire Solution (CHUMP)

Each umpire uses a palm device to calculate basic statistics and record match data during every game. This electronic scorecard automatically sends information to the scoring room.

AO Vision

This service is new for 2012 and will be provided by Tennis Australia and IBM in all press commentary suites, as well as some production areas. AO vision allows media to access up to five streams of video at one time, view live press conferences as well as player information, schedules and real-time scores for all matches in progress.


The intranet and inquiry system is available to fans onsite and features real-time scores, draws, player histories, match-ups, schedules and results

State-of-the-art infrastructure

Used to support all four Grand Slams, the Leadership Data Centre has reduced energy demands by up to 40% and cooling demand by up to 48%.

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