Australian Open SMS

Smartphone tech and the Australian Open

Big data and mobility technologies are changing the way we experience the world around us. Even when we’re at the tennis.

For this year’s first grand slam event, the Australian Open, IBM has collaborated with event organisers to bring us IBM SlamTracker, technology that “analyses over 8 years of Grand Slam data (more than 41 million data points), to identify patterns in players and their styles.”

According to this article by IBM, the SlamTracker has been redesigned this year, to feature point-by-point visual analysis, adding a layer of context over the on-court action. This year it’s gone so far as adding data relating to ball and player movement. Which is handy information, not only for the stat fiends among us, but also for commentators and players.

“Before each match, IBM analyses historical matches between the players… This analysis identifies key performance indicators – what players need to do well in a match – known as ‘Keys to the Match’. Fans, media, players and coaches can then access Keys to the Match on the Australian Open website.”

Big Data and the Consumer

IBM’s analysis of the action on court, however, doesn’t stop there. The technology now extends to what’s happening online in social media. Using its Social Media Analytics technology, IBM is able to summarise a player’s popularity, and even whether that popularity is positive or negative.

The IBM CrowdTracker is another useful little tool. It provides tennis goers with a birds-eye view of Melbourne Park, giving them insight into what’s going on around the courts in real time. Where the queues are, where they themselves are, where the Selfie Station is, it goes as far as showing the popular Instagram spots, and popular tweets and photos pouring through social media.

Consumer Engagement

Big data has made the possibilities for consumers to engage with businesses and events practically endless. What allows this sort of engagement is largely thanks to mobility technologies. Our smartphones are now capable of sending and receiving data directly with the servers that crunch the numbers on terrabytes at a time. That’s why when we’re at the Australian Open, we have access to such cool apps like CrowdTracker and SlamTracker.

CrowdTracker in particular draws insights from multiple data points; Wi-Fi enabled device tracking, in app GPS location, social networks and court by court insights - combining all these data points to provide real-time information on crowd movement. The tool has become instrumental, not just for fans looking to take the easiest route and avoid the crowds or figure out what is going on, but also for the event managers themselves looking to adequately staff and resource areas on the ground.

Mobile technology has opened the floodgates for this omnipresent interaction between consumers and businesses, including events like the Australian Open. Just imagine the experience you could have had this year: You’re sitting inside Hisense arena, while streaming the match happening in Rod Laver; then you snap a selfie and upload it to Twitter using the #aoselfie hashtag, or check the stats of other matches on other courts; and then, when your neck needs a rest from all the turning it’s been doing, you fire up CrowdTracker and check out what’s happening over at the Heineken Beer Garden.

Talk about life made easy.

Changing Expectations

What big data coupled with astounding mobile technology affords the modern consumer at an event like the Australian Open is a seamless experience.

When you get to the tennis (if you haven't already), you can buy a ticket online and avoid the queues, using your smartphone as the ticket itself (which is something that SMSGlobal has helped Ticketek accomplish), you can see who’s playing on what court, and if there’s a queue to get in. You can find out where the nearest slurpee kiosk is located, or which players are trending on Twitter. And what's more? we no longer simply want these things, we expect them. And we expect everything from our very own phone. It is this sort of expectation that is defining the landscape in which our relationship with big data and technology will take place.

What an exciting way to begin the year. And with the likes of the young up-and-comer and quarter finalist Nick Kyrgrios – as well as Kokkinakis, Groth, and Tomic all soaring high – what an exciting period for Australian tennis.