Big data platforms are found in a variety of industries, from manufacturing firms using analytics to identify maintenance needs in a production line, to healthcare companies crunching large databases to aid medical research.
Tennis, a game that has gradually evolved over the past 150 years or so, is not the place you would expect a big data platform to reside.
But the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) thinks otherwise, which is why the organisation has worked with Infosys to collect and analyse all the data generated during the ATP World Tour competition, from systems such as Hawkeye and statistical information gleaned from each game.
To do this Infosys provided the ATP with a customised version of its Information Platform, a cloud-based data ingestion and analytics service designed to mix real-time data with historical information to enable the public, media and players to see a range of information based on games and tournaments, all displayed through a web portal or app.
For example, you can compare the serves of different players during an all-important break point, or see how different players apply topspin.
Infosys and the ATP wanted the platform to serve information that can get tennis fans more engaged in the games, provide the media with extra insights beyond the action on the court, and give players more information on their performance.
Serving such data is one thing, but the clever part of the Infosys Information Platform is the way it can tap into historical data from ATP tennis matches and five years' worth of Hawkeye replay data and apply machine learning to effectively predict the outcomes of games.
This required Infosys to train the machine learning algorithms to understand the nuances of tennis rather than the operations of enterprises, but the platform itself is created from a host of open source components put together by Infosys and controlled through a user interface that hides the complexity below the surface.
You could argue that adding predictive analytics to tennis erodes some of the fun of watching a tightly contested match, but what it does showcase is the flexible applications of the Infosys platform and the ways in which big data analytics can be applied to all manner of things.
Infosys has capitalised on this flexibility by basing the Information Platform on open-source engines and frameworks such as Hadoop and Apache Spark, commonly used in the IT and enterprise world, thereby enabling the platform to be deployed across numerous sectors without requiring masses of retooling and integration.
Further adding to this flexibility is the ability to deploy the Information Platform in the cloud or on-premise, with support for global cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
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