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US Open tech, behind the scenes

I got a tour of IBM's Operations Center at the US Open this week, and I took a few pictures. Check out the infrastructure underlying delivery of all scores, stats and analytics at America's Grand Slam tennis event.

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1 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

Last week tennis tournament in Flushing Meadows, in the New York City borough of Queens.  This week I got an in-person tour of the technology infrastructure in use and a better understanding of how all the scores, stats (like those form this screen in the US Open iPad app) and analytics are solicited, collected, stored and distributed.

Check out all the images in this gallery to see what I saw and learned.


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2 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

Here's the iPad app's version of the Keys to the Match screen (I showed you the Web version in my last post), showing three key performance indicators (KPIs) for each player, predictive of their likely victory.  As shown here, Serena Williams triumphed in her match against Sara Errani on Friday night, and she also exceeded the required threshhold on all three of her KPIs.

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3 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

Many of the stats and analytics available on the usopen.org Web site and the US Open iPad and smartphone apps are available -- and differently visualized -- on the giant touch screen IBM Game Changer Interactive Wall, where I started my tour.  The Interactive Wall is available to all attendees of the US Open.


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4 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

Just as the iPad App can show you customized Keys to the Match data for each player, so too can the Interactive Wall.  Here we see that Andy Roddick was only winning 47% of "rallies" with 2 or fewer shots. To win the game, IBM's analytics said he should have been winning at least 56% of such points.


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5 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

IBM performs a bunch of analytics on social media data and presents the results on the Interactive Wall.  Here, you can see the relative percentage of positive tweets versus negative tweets for Serena Williams.

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6 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

One cool feature of the Interactive Wall allows you to spin a tennis ball globe and see which of the world's top 20 men and women tennis players live in a specific country.  Here, I tapped in Serbia's flag to get info on Novak Djokovic and Janko Tipsarevic.

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7 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

The Mets/Willets Point station on the #7 line of the NYC Subway serves Flushing Meadows directly, stopping right in between the Mets' Citi Field Stadium and the USTA Tennis Center.  I don't know how they did it, but somehow IBM's Interactive Wall can estimate the time until arrival of the next Manhattan-bound train.

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8 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

In the bowels of Arthur Ashe Stadium lies some very cool technology, not to mention some extra-cool air conditioning, which was welcome on this early September day.

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9 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

In this corner of room 1341 lies the control center for all the closed circuit-distributed scoring data.


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10 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

This screen allows you to pick from among the live video feeds emanating from around the USTA Tennis Center.  And the feeds can be very specific: the lower-right hand window actually shows me photographing the screen with my iPad.

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11 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

This handheld device is used by chair umpires at the Open to enter a game's score as each point is played.  The data is beamed directly into IBM's systems and disseminated out to the scoreboards in the stadium, on the USTA Tennis Center grounds, the Web, mobile apps and video feeds.  The device runs Windows Mobile 6.

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12 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

IBM runs the US Open infrastructure on a private cloud that is geo-distributed across data centers in Boulder, CO; St. Louis, MO; and Raleigh, NC.  This interface allows IBM personnel to monitor the resource usage at each data center, so they can redistribute the load if necessary.

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13 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

This interface allows IBMers on-site at the Open to provision and configure new servers in any of the three private cloud data centers IBM operates for the event.


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14 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

Here's the main menu for the US Open in-house information system.


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15 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

Here's the internal application screen that presents detailed data on each player.  (This particular match up between Berdych and Murray is not from this year's Open)

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16 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

The On Court Stats Summary screen, from Thursday's five-setter between Tepsarevic and Ferrer.

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17 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

The On Court Points Trail screen, from the last match of Andy Roddick's career, against Juan Martin Del Potro, on Wednesday.

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18 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

The Match Analysis screen presents a game-and-point-specific menu of on-demand video clips.  Think of it as a match replay jukebox.

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19 of 19 Andrew Brust/ZDNet

In the media work room, members of the press have access to the US Open information system at each of an array of workstations.  The Match Analysis screen seemed to be a big favorite when I was there.

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