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SP Masters iPadBy Rick Singer

Ever since Augusta National Golf Club hosted its first Invitational event in 1934, a commitment to history and tradition has permeated the fabric of the Masters Tournament, which begins play this week.

While the Masters has delivered many thrilling, magical moments among the Georgia pines of the Augusta National golf course, many people may not be aware of the Tournament’s unwavering dedication to enriching the game of golf. From playing 18 holes on each of the Tournament’s four days — instead of 36 holes on the third and final day, which was the standard 80 years ago — to introducing the first cumulative over/under scoring method, the Masters has consistently established innovative practices that became and remain standards in the sport. Continue Reading »

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Glen Thomas, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, IBM Australia and New Zealand

Glen Thomas, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, IBM Australia and New Zealand

By Glen Thomas

If you are lucky enough to attend the Australian Open in Melbourne – or simply are enjoying the tennis tournament from the comfort of your armchair – you can’t fail to be impressed by the rich, engaging experience the international Grand Slam provides for fans.

As marketers, we know that creating an engaging customer experience isn’t always easy. That’s why we’re embracing analytics, cloud computing and mobile technologies to help tap into Big Data and drive new experiences for customers. SP australian-open3However, more than 80 per cent[i] of CMOs feel underprepared for Big Data – a figure that has actually increased by 11 percent in two years. Continue Reading »

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Brian O'Connell, Software Engineer, Master Inventor, IBM

Brian O’Connell, Software Engineer, Master Inventor, IBM

By Andrew Nichols, IBM Communications

As the 2013 US Open Tennis Championships kicks off in Flushing, N.Y., this week, tennis fans around the world will turn to USOpen.org for scoring, live streaming video and real-time analytics. Whether they know it or not, those fans will be counting on cloud computing and predictive analytics technologies to provide the continuous and reliable access to stats, scores, videos and match insights.
 
Brian O’Connell, a software engineer and Master Inventor at IBM, leads the cloud infrastructure team in Raleigh, N.C., that creates the solutions that power sporting events like the US Open. Continue Reading »

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Chris Thomas, Solution Architect, IBM Software Group

Chris Thomas, Solution Architect, Big Data, Analytics,  IBM Software Group

By Chris Thomas

With technology in sport advancing at such fast pace, the ways in which fans can engage with their favourite game is changing rapidly. In today’s ‘always on’ society, even when fans can’t attend a match in person, they have a whole host of ways in which they can experience the action – whether in the comfort of their home or on the move. Some argue the way modern technology has developed in providing an added layer of real-time insight and information, remote interaction is actually beginning to rival watching a game in the flesh.

As Wimbledon kicked off in London SW19 last week, the way technology is playing an increasingly key role in enhancing the fan experience can be clearly seen.Wimbledon Logo 100 2013 With ownership of smartphones and tablet computers becoming commonplace all around the world, it seems second nature for tennis fans to turn to social media to comment on the matches unfurling on their TV screens. Indeed, our Social Sentiment analysis shows that while Rafa Nadal is the most talked about player it is the Brits’ Andy Murray (37% positive, 52% neutral) and Laura Robson (44% positive, 50% neutral) who are leading the positive mentions. Continue Reading »

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Jessica Carroll, Managing Director, Information & Digital Technologies, USGA

Jessica Carroll, Managing Director, Information & Digital Technologies, USGA

By Jessica Carroll

A nimble, dynamic infrastructure, with round-the-clock support, and an environment where you can deliver on your customer’s needs faster. This is what the smart CIO wants. The cloud promises all of these advantages (and more), but does it come through on the promise?

At the USGA we’re a case study in action. As a non-profit organization, our focus is not on technology or sales. It is on serving the game of golf and the growing universe of people who play the game or want to learn more about it. The cloud enables us to support this mission by focusing technology on these growth areas, rather than legacy IT utility services.

There’s no better place to see this than on usopen.com, the USGA’s online destination for the U.S. Open, golf’s national championship. With over 6 million visitors, over 83 million pageviews, and 1.3 million video streams across all platforms in one week alone, the infrastructure to serve up a high performing website is a brilliant case for using the elastic cloud. As we consider the hardware, bandwidth and manpower required to support this volume for one week of the year it’s obvious that the investment needed could not possibly make long-term sense for us. Continue Reading »

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Patrick Childress, Program Manager, Real-Time Events, Global Business Services, IBM

Patrick G. Childress, Program Manager, Real-Time Events, Global Business Services, IBM

By Patrick G. Childress

One of my favorite parts of summer, much to my wife’s chagrin, is watching golf on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes it’s on in the background while I’m tending the grill, and other times I’m parked on the sofa seeing who can sink that 30-footer to win the tournament. I enjoy watching the pros hit shot after shot that I can’t ever seem to pull off myself.

Working at IBM, I am fortunate to be able to combine my love of golf with my day job of managing and designing new mobile applications as part of the IBM Interactive design team. Over the past 15 years, this team has been developing unique digital experiences for clients. Most recently, we were tasked with designing and building a new iPad app for the United States Golf Association (USGA), to launch in conjunction with the 2013 U.S. Open, the largest golf tournament in the U.S. Continue Reading »

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Elizabeth O'Brien, Worldwide Sponsorship Strategy, IBM

Elizabeth O’Brien, Worldwide Sponsorship Strategy, IBM

By Elizabeth O’Brien

Big Data is a term we hear a lot about in the business world. But these days, thanks to the insatiable hunger for player, team and league stats and analysis, it’s also becoming widely used in the world of sports.

In tennis, for example, Big Data includes tournament, match and player stats, things like serve speeds, rally counts, winners and aces. But more important than what Big Data includes, is how it is used to enhance and, in many ways, transform how we experience and enjoy the sport of tennis.

This week marks the 28th year of IBM’s partnership with the French Tennis Federation in support of Roland Garros (also known as the French Open).  IBM brings a suite of solutions to Roland Garros, all centered on real time and historic Grand Slam data. We capture, analyze, secure, store and distribute the data—in fact Big Data is the heart of our collaboration with the FFT. Continue Reading »

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Samir Mahir, CIO, Tennis Australia

By Samir Mahir

For two weeks in late January, the eyes of tennis fans, media, players and coaches around the world focused on Melbourne and the first Grand Slam of the season – the Australian Open 2013. In addition to generating a lot of great tennis and good will, the tournament created, analyzed and shared a tremendous amount of data – Big Data.

To give you an idea of the numbers: 684,457 fans attended the tournament live; 14.1 million unique visitors came to the Australian Open website; and the Australian Open Social Leaderboard tracked over 9 million Twitter references for players. In addition, about 60TB of data and video assets were captured and stored by Tennis Australia during the event, which saw 764 sets of tennis played in 127 matches in the men’s draw.

As a CIO, an ongoing and important aim of our technology solutions for the Australian Open is to deepen our fans’ engagement and enjoyment of the event. And increasingly, data is becoming a game-changer for how Grand Slam tennis is viewed and played. Continue Reading »

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December 7th, 2012
8:00
 

Jon Zerden, CTO, Core Performance

By Jon Zerden

It’s the time of year when holiday decorations go up, temperatures drop, and people huddle indoors and gather for feasts of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pie and much more.

But when the feasting comes to an end, people begin to think of their New Year’s resolutions. In addition to the occasional over indulgence in holiday comfort foods, people are more wary than ever of the risks associated with a lack of exercise.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the annual estimated medical expense associated with obesity in the United States is $61 billion. Diabetes costs $116 billion, while cardiovascular disease and strokes amount to $313.8 billion in expenditures.

Continue Reading »

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by Martin Guillaume, Media & Entertainment Leader, IBM Global Business Services, Europe

The era of the connected consumer is forcing many media organizations to rethink not only how they operate but also how they remain relevant. Today’s audiences are exposed to more content across more channels than ever before. The way this content is discovered, shared and consumed is also changing.

Standard forms of TV viewing are no longer the norm as more and more consumers turn to the Internet and catch-up services to access the latest in programming. As a result, delivering differentiated live content such as sports, concerts, reality shows or news across an expanding set of channels and devices is a challenge broadcasters need to tackle quickly and claim their rightful place in this rapidly changing landscape.

As an example, today at the International Broadcasting Conference in Amsterdam, Canal+ announced it is using IBM technology and services to launch and manage new multi-channel and services platform delivering on-demand, web and mobile TV to enhance the customer experience. This demonstrates how broadcasters are seeking to differentiate in a world where they no longer have audiences –  they have consumers.

Broadcasters must continue to innovate and look for news ways to engage this connected consumer and the growing phenomenon of ‘second screen’ is becoming an integral part of this strategy. How many times have you caught up on your Facebook or Twitter feed whilst watching TV? Consumers tweet, comment, play, blog and surf the Internet all the while watching television, therefore, broadcasters need to work even harder to engage viewers.

This challenge is an extraordinary opportunity in disguise and broadcasters can use it to enrich experiences and engage viewers. Television stations are beginning to tap into how audiences are second screens whilst watching TV, and are encouraging consumers to provide feedback and create an online buzz by providing Twitter hashtags at the start of a show.

Broadcasters can also integrate and capitalize on second screen functionality in other ways.

For example, the boundaries between television, Internet and gaming are blurring – simply look at EA’s FIFA 2012 football game, which now offers a replay of any action from any angle. Consumers expect to navigate and experience live sports in the same way with the ability to replay a sequence from the vantage point of any player via a second screen embedded in live programming.

This live television fusion phenomenon for sport does not stop there. The depth of statistics available for football matches and other sports is reaching unprecedented levels. Speed, pace and stamina can be captured, analysed and compared in real time offering viewers new insights. At the recent Wimbledon Championships, fans were able to view an additional layer of insight through SlamTracker on www.wimbledon.com that tracked points, player momentum and progress against each player’s ‘keys to the match’. Revenue opportunities can be realised through price-tiered ‘data’ packages, which enable customers to pay for additional insightful data related to the content they are viewing.

But the real payback for the CMO or broadcaster is that they do not need to guess who is watching, they will know who is actively interacting with them. Knowing it is Kevin Smith, the twenty-something football and cooking and fan rather than Susan Smith, Kevin’s mother who prefers cycling and gardening is invaluable information. From placing better ads to making more intelligent program suggestions, this interaction with the Smith household is changing forever. And we are beginning to see uptake of this strategy – TP Vision recently that it using data stored within IBM SmartCloud to provide new insight about consumer needs and behavior.

Using advanced analytics to better understand these evolving customers allows the CMO to capture and leverage valuable information that allows them to anticipate customers’ changing preferences and turn these insights into new offerings which drive customer loyalty. For broadcasters this information can help improve production, cross-channel distribution, customer service and implement marketing strategies that are in line with customer sentiment.

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