Despite a five-day lockdown being announced for the state of Victoria , the Australian Open tennis tournament will continue in Melbourne with players, officials and venue staff being classed as essential workers. Spectators, however, are banned.
For those on-site and those unable to attend in person, Infosys, a provider of next-generation digital services and consulting and the Australian Open’s Official Digital Innovation Partner, is applying technology to bridge the physical gap.
Infosys and Tennis Australia are leveraging cloud, AI, 3D virtual experiences and mobility innovations which are envisioned to alter the sporting normal well beyond the current Grand Slam and represent a shift towards placing digital at the core of the tournament to elevate immersion, passion, brilliance and experience for those on court and across the globe.
“The past year has accelerated the need for meaningful digital engagement between the Australian Open and its fans, players, coaches, partners and the media. Our focus this year is delivering new digital experiences and insights that are accessible for everyone involved, regardless of where they are currently located,” Ben Slack, Chief Revenue Officer, Tennis Australia said. “Having Infosys on board as our digital innovation partner for the third year running has allowed us to optimise engagement with all our stakeholders, not only our fans, players and coaches but our broadcast partners and sponsors as well. Despite access restrictions this year the team has excelled, enabling us to continue delivering new and improved digital experiences for this year’s tournament.”
The focus for the Australian Open (AO) is to innovate across the entire stakeholder ecosystem in the following ways:
- Immersion in analytics: 3D Court Vision allows individuals to watch tournament matches in an animated form, with data overlay for each shot. From speed to spin to serve placement, every detail of the game is available at a click of a button. Infosys uses Hawk Eye data to animate each shot in near real-time and empowers fans to analyse the game from any vantage point in the stadium.
- Furthering fan passion: A new AO Virtual Slam https://www.infosys.com/australian-open.html experience transports every fan into the Rod Laver Arena. 3D court views and data simulate the experience of playing at the AO, letting fans be a part of the glory. An enhanced AO Fan App will also deliver richer content and personalised journeys based on their interest areas, while guided navigation helps fans find their way within the new Melbourne Park zones set up due to COVID protocols.
- Sensing brilliance on court: In the dedicated AO player and coach app, the AI Video Analysis feature brings new intelligence to the hands of all players and their teams, regardless of rank. The AI tool allows precise player and opponent assessment, be it the technique behind winning backhand drop shots or handling volley shots in long rallies. With many players’ full teams unable to attend the tournament, this feature allows coaches to provide guidance remotely from anywhere across the world by sharing live strategy notes in the app.
- For the AO media team: AI Shot of the Day uses machine learning to rapidly identify match highlights, using multiple data points that are objective (such as fastest serve) and subjective (player emotion, crowd reaction and cruciality of the shot in context to the match).
- Reinventing the guest experience: A 3D AO Virtual Hub has been developed to overcome physical restrictions for partners and sponsors, who are integral to the AO business model. Powered by Infosys Meridian, the Virtual Hub is a premium experience for partners to access exclusive events, behind the scenes tours, tennis clinics, legend interactions, master chef sessions, live performances, 360 match viewing and more. It is expected to host over 12,000 VIPs across the globe during the tournament.
Andrew Groth, Senior VP and Regional Head at Infosys Australia and New Zealand, said, “As we know the pandemic has forced many organisations to change tack and adapt quickly. Through our ongoing partnership with Tennis Australia, the AO has been able to seamlessly meet the changing needs of their audience while continuing to push the boundaries of what’s possible with new digital experiences.”
“We are so proud to be working with Tennis Australia for a third year running and excited to bring new dimensions of the AO to fans, partners, players, coaches and the media. Our work with the AO this year is a clear demonstration of the power of data and AI, and its ability to bring people closer, no matter the physical distance.”