Don’t Shout I’m Back – My Big Data, Social and Mobile Holiday

After committing to this blog and posting just two posts, I went silent. We’ll I’ve been on holiday, two weeks of beach, reading and the Australian Open… all ready for the year to come!
Do you ever stop and think about how different life is now compared to the ‘way it used to be’. Let’s just compare my two weeks of to just 15 years ago. How the nature of data, information and access is changing the way we live!
To start we decided rather late in the piece to go away, being peak season we were expecting availability to be scarce and prices to be extortionist. 15 years ago, (then), my wife would have taken to the phones and after several hours we would have been in a position to make a decision, in this case within 15 minutes we reviewed the options and had a booking with the deposit paid within 20! So welcome to the age of the Internet… but that is not that interesting. What was interesting, (and unfortunate for the vendor), is that we could see this particular set of units did not have a high occupancy and negotiated a much ‘fairer’ price. Sometimes we ignore the price transparency that we enjoy today!
I read a great deal but it’s all ‘work’ related, so I’m lost when it comes to what’s worth reading for entertainment. For me sitting on a beach is about being fully covered and protected while reading. (For people who don’t know me, I’m the kind of person who burns, I don’t tan.) In the past this would mean getting recommendations from friends and an extended trip to the book store/ newsagent to find stuff to read… now it was a quick ‘trip’ to Amazon books. After selecting one book… the recommendation engine suggested a few others, which also got loaded onto the Kindle. Once again nothing new here, but sitting on the beach I was expecting to be the only nerd, however as I scanned the beach at least 80% of the people reading were using a device, rather than filling pages with sand!
In the past I’ve managed to watch the major games of the Australian Open, but this year I got to watch the championship build through the two weeks, a totally different experience. It seems to me like the first week are the warm-up matches for the top players. However, as they move into the second week there is a perceivable shift in play. Now, for better or worse it seems like tennis is moving to look more like baseball, heavy heavy statistics! You will notice on TV every few games the commentators are throwing some fact and stat at you. However if you went multi-screen and also participated in the online experience you could get overwhelmed with the information available.
I’ve discussed the ‘slamtracker’ that Tennis Australia has on their website that tracks the way the opponents are playing and how they are achieving their ‘key play objectives’. The idea is that each player has a certain style of play and as such to beat them you have to adapt your style to overcome their strengths and exploit their weaker side. (For example Nadal served almost exclusively to Federer’s backhand!) Now they have added a social monitoring as well, to me more for interest than predicting the outcome of the game. So while the game is being played you can not only see all the statistics in-front of you, you can see how well they are sticking to a winning game strategy and see what people are thinking. Like the massive drop in attitude towards Nadal as he left the court during the final, and expressed with the boos from the crowd when he got back!
All in all…Tennis Australia today is where Social, Mobile and Big Data come together in one place!
So sitting on the beach, reading my kindle with an eye on the tennis… did mean a beach holiday was very different to what I recall just 15 years ago!


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