They come at you at bunches, nearly as fast as a Serena Williams's serve. OK...not as fast as Williams's serve, but pretty rapidly, nonetheless.
All throughout the year, IBM has been powering Grand Slam tournaments with real-time streaming analytics and insight through its Slamtracker app, conlcuding with the final Grand Slam of the year, the U.S. Open. A brief glance at Slamtracker during Williams's shocking loss to Roberta Vinci in one of the women's semifinals Friday shows just how much information the app serves up and throws at fans by the second.
When Williams won a critical point via a forehand smash in the third set, Slamtracker immediately came up with this infographic.
Moments later when, Williams lost a point with a costly backhand volley unforced error, IBM streamed this across the Slamtracker dashboard.
When Vinci—a 300-1 underdog—pulled off the extraordinary upset via a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win, Slamtracker instantly flashed its match summary with more analytics, insight and stats that would even satiate the most rabid tennis fans.
Noah Syken, IBM's vice president of global sponsorships, says the deluge of analytics and insight that IBM produces in real-time are produced with the goal of enhancing the overall fan experience—both live in attendance or anywhere mobile, which counts upwards of 50 percent of the app's data usage.
"What does the fan experience look like on-site at the stadium and through the digital platforms? We think about the digital footprint of the U.S. Open and how we reach people around the world with that footprint," Syken tells Tech Times. "If you look at the tennis players, they're from every corner around the earth, so how do we bring this event to fans no matter where they are or what platform they're on, serving the needs of those fans? We power those digital platforms."
Since IBM powers every Grand Slam tournament (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open) of the calendar year, it was able to pilot its streaming analytics at Wimbledon, before rolling it out in full force at the U.S. Open. In the same fashion, Syken says it will probably introduce a new feature at the Australian Open in January.
A new wrinkle with the U.S. Open has been Slamtracker's built-in social media function, which allows users to share live-time streaming analytics and insight on Facebook and Twitter as they happen. Fans live in attendance at Arthur Ashe Stadium were also able to see multiple matches at once via the app's simulcast, as well.
Part of the reason that Slamtracker is able to produce streamed analytics so rapidly is it dug deep in compiling tendencies and stats of each player for the past eight years. Knowing players' situational tendencies that far back gives IBM the ability to predict sequences of current matches, while they're happening as demonstrated with some of the insight that Slamtracker was able to alert fans with during the Williams-Vinci thriller.
"If the data suggests that Serena Williams should be winning a certain percentage of her first serve to be successful, then fans should understand that they better look for how successful Serena is with her first serve and it's an insight on what to look for," Syken adds.
The technology also highlights significant levels of achievement—let's say Williams delivers her fastest serve ever—alerting the United States Tennis Association to share it on social media as it happens.
Adding features, functionality and value had Slamtracker deliver another solid year of powering Grand Slam tennis tournaments.