Monday, 18 June 2012

Being a good sport

Love it or hate it, here in the UK it’s a summer of sport. At the moment the Euro 2012 football competition is in its early stages, then we have Wimbledon, and August is dominated by the Olympics and Paralympics.

IBM has great plans for Wimbledon, and has been showing off some of its technology at the French Open tennis championship. IBM’s SlamTracker maps a match in real-time and highlights the key turning points. The predictive analytics software determines which three things any top player needs to do to enhance their chances of winning. So, for example, you might see something like: “win more than 46% of points on second serve”, or “win more than 51% of 3-8 shot rallies”.

IBM has redesigned the Wimbledon Web site for 2012. It has also provided an upgraded radio, TV, and video broadcast services known as Live@Wimbledon, and studio discussions shown on the website can now ‘drop in’ on live matches at key moments.

It seems that in 2011 there were 451 million visitors to the Wimbledon Web site, of which 28% were using mobile devices. This year IBM expects more than 500m visits. IBM’s senior IT specialist, David Provan, says: “With advanced analytics, such as those embedded in the SlamTracker at Wimbledon, organizations can tackle the explosion in data”.

IBM probably doesn’t need to use Wimbledon to raise its corporate profile with sport fans because, according to consultancy Futerra, it is what they call a “planet brand”. Futerra assessed which brands had the greatest recognition and loyalty, a global reach, and the most impressive green. Their Planet Brands Index drew on in-house Futerra research, data from studies published by Millward Brown and Interbrand, Newsweek’s annual Green Rankings, and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. As well as IBM, the 100 names included Google, Apple, Samsung, and Amazon.

IBM has also been involved in its favourite sport of beating Oracle. It seems that IBM’s Storwize V7000, storage array, has beaten an Oracle/Sun ZFS array by delivering almost the same performance for less than half the price and 4 percent of the capacity.

The devices were tested using the SPC-1 benchmark, which tests the performance of a storage array doing mainly random I/O in a business environment. The two teams involved were an IBM Storwize V7000, fitted with 18 x 200GB SSDs in a mirrored configuration, versus an Oracle Sun ZFS 7420 with 84TB of mirrored disk storage with single read and write accelerating SSDs.

And the final score: IBM delivered 120,492.34 SPC-1 IOPS, at a cost of $181,029, ie $1.50/IOPS; Oracle delivered 137,066 SPC-1 IOPS, at a cost of $409,933, ie $2.99/IOPS. Without using SlamTracker, you can see that IBM’s hardware delivered 88 percent of the Oracle box’s performance for 44 percent of the price with 4.3 per cent of the capacity.

When it comes to supercomputers, IBM is now back in the lead. IBM’s Sequoia is officially the world’s fastest supercomputer. In second place in Japan is Fujitsu’s K Computer. IBM lost its top spot to China a couple of years ago, but it’s now back at the top of the leader board.

Keeping up the sporting theme: Desert Mountain, a golf and residential community in Arizona, is planning to install IBM Intelligent Operations Center software for Smarter Cities, with UgMO Technologies’ Wireless Soil Moisture Sensor Solution, to manage irrigation of all six of its golf courses. And it expects this will reduce its water use by 10 percent and generate an additional 10 percent savings in energy costs related to water pumping and distribution.

Anyway, let’s hope the competitiveness of the Fortune 500 companies rubs off on the athletes this summer and we have really competitive, drug-free, sport, which the fans will talk about for years to come.

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