Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
August, 28th 2012

By Lauren States, CTO, IBM Cloud Computing and Growth Initiatives

For major sporting events, Big Data via the cloud is a game changer — literally.

This week, nearly 700,000 people will descend on the U.S. Tennis Center in New York to watch the world’s best players compete in the 2012 U.S. Open. But this year, millions of fans catching the action on their PC, tablet or smartphone may actually have the best seat in the house.

Thanks to Big Data, predictive analytics and cloud computing, fans from around the world will have access to real-time insight based on millions of data points – illustrating each player’s keys to winning the match.

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Now that’s a real advantage over simply sitting courtside keeping an eye on the scoreboard. So what’s the takeaway for business and government?

From Wimbledon to U.S. Open Golf, Roland Garros to U.S. Open Tennis, we see distinct parallels between the IT needs of big events and those of the enterprise. In fact, it’s often said that sports is a metaphor for life – but in some ways, sports is a metaphor for business as well.

Backed by real data, tennis fans can make instant, informed predictions about the match they’re watching — well before the scores tell the story. Off the court, the same kinds of data-driven, interactive experiences are being used to monitor babies in prenatal wards, help police forces prevent crime and enable financial services firms to improve customer service.

This is the power of predictive analytics and cloud computing. Adding value for sports fans, business executives and civic leaders alike.

In addition, similar to the seasonal peaks and troughs in demand a business may face, the U.S. Open requires scalable computing resources — the flexibility of the cloud — so that it can manage an exponential increase in digital traffic during the tournament. For much of the year, the U.S. Open resembles a small business, but during the two-week tournament IBM transforms it into a massive, data hungry enterprise that demands uninterrupted access to accurate content, data and stats primed for instant analysis and decision-making.

Like businesses, governments and healthcare providers, the world of sports is finding new ways to uncover hidden insights from Big Data delivered via the cloud to up their game. Seeing Big Data perform on the court is helping business leaders from Chief Marketing Officers to Chief Financial Officers understand how they can personalize marketing and better inform product development, supply chain and acquisition decisions.

As data in all forms continues to grow, the value of information is increasing. It is an organizations’ most valuable natural resource. And those — whether focused on sports, retailing, health care, and beyond — that capture and understand it quickly will have an unprecedented advantage.

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