/>
X

Gallery: IBM wins grand slam for tennis tech

The big news at this year's Australian Open tennis tournament might be the length of Venus Williams' skirt or a broken racket but IBM quietly puts fans right in the match.
zd-defaultauthor-andy7718.jpg
By Andy Smith, Contributor on
500365.jpg
1 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

From secret IBM technology bunkers beneath the arena, to big screens around the ground and augmented reality and cameras that can fly, fans at this year's Australian Open are well catered for.

Above, Aussie Jarmila Groth returns a tough serve from Belgian Yanina Wickmayer as the IBM speed counter tracks every volley.

Photo credit and captions: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia

500366.jpg
2 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

Telco sector veteran, now Tennis Australia CEO, Steve Wood talks about the sport's 18-year relationship with IBM and how technology is critical to the game.

"In the future, players will train smarter, manage injury better, analyze themselves more, all with technology," Wood said.

500367.jpg
3 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

Cybersecuriity is also an issue as IBM's threat tracker maps and stops potential cyber attacks against the Tennis Australia site from all over the world. This particular attack originated in China and is targeting IBM's US hosting center.

Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia

500368.jpg
4 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

Three datacenters are used across the United States to serve the Australian Open content. This graph is tracking how many hits the site gets, as well as the load capacity of each of the centers.

Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia

500369.jpg
5 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

PointStream is a new tracking system currently in beta from IBM. Deployed for the first time at the Australian Open, PointStream takes vital statistics collected from technicians on the court, such as the type of stroke, speed of ball, faults, unforced errors and more, and graphs them so that a user can watch how their player is tracking in real time.

The minds behind the project say that the PointStream program can be duplicated and applied to other major events, such as the Queensland flood crisis, to aid analysis.

Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia

500370.jpg
6 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

The Australian Open has made a push towards mobile devices this year, trimming down its website to work across multiple platforms. Demonstrated here is the new iPad app. The app is a virtual copy of the tour program, and contains new features including live statistics, match updates and schedules, as well as a feature that lets players sign a fan's iPad.

Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia

500371.jpg
7 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

Meanwhile, the Open's iPhone app contains an augmented reality (AR) capability. This AR function overlays points of interest to a user as they look around the ground with their smartphone camera. Points of interest include courts, big screens and bathrooms.

Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia

500372.jpg
8 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

One of the many big screens inside the IBM "war bunker" secreted beneath Rod Laver Arena. From this small room beneath the stands, a team of statisticians collects, processes and aggregates data for the whole tournament, including court scheduling, video stream co-ordination, player statistics information and umpire data collection.

Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia

500373.jpg
9 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

A fleet of IBM ThinkPads broadcasts live match statistics to courts all over Melbourne Park.

Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia

500374.jpg
10 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

This big screen at the center of the action pulls information from IBM's statistics room and displays it for all to see.

Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia

500375.jpg
11 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

Managing the live feeds for each of the courts around the ground.

Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia

500376.jpg
12 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

Umpires are given a purpose-built handheld device to record every point, challenge and event relating to the outcome of a game. Once a game has been completed, umpires return to their common room where the data is downloaded and aggregated for fans and players alike to see.

Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia

500378.jpg
13 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

Statistics such as these are broadcast from the IBM statistics center.

Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia

500379.jpg
14 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

The Australian Open also uses state-of-the-art broadcast facilities, including this suspended camera rig, which whizzes around the court, tracking players in between sets, providing up close and intimate footage.

Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia

500380.jpg
15 of 15 Andy Smith/ZDNET

The camera moves down to score a close-up shot of Novak Djokovic challenger, Marcel Granollers.

The Australian Open is set to run through to January 30.

Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia

Related Galleries

Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6: Electric vehicle extravaganza
img-8825

Related Galleries

Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6: Electric vehicle extravaganza

26 Photos
A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex
img-9792-2

Related Galleries

A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex

22 Photos
Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup
shutterstock-1024665187.jpg

Related Galleries

Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup

8 Photos
Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'
Full of promises!

Related Galleries

Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'

8 Photos
Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup
Asian woman working at a desk in front of a computer and calculator

Related Galleries

Hybrid working, touchscreen MacBook hopes, cybersecurity concerns, and more: ZDNet's tech research roundup

8 Photos
Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup
Person seated at a booth in a cafe looks at their phone and laptop.

Related Galleries

Developer trends, zero-day risks, 5G speeds, and more: Tech research roundup

10 Photos
Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida
ca3b4019-26c5-4ce0-a844-5aac39e2c34b.jpg

Related Galleries

Drive Electric Day: A dizzying array of EVs in sunny Florida

16 Photos