Case Studies

Australian Open 2018

Only Ably could meet their global performance targets

Case Study

About Tennis Australia

The Australian Open is one of the four major tennis tournaments in the global sports calendar, alongside Wimbledon, the US Open and the French Open. AO 2018 was aired live in more than 220 territories, reaching more than 900 million homes.

The Australian Open is owned and managed by Tennis Australia. For the 2018 event, a new data transfer partner was sought who could meet the challenge of providing real-time scores, updates and commentary to the event’s global fan base.

Independent load-testing and verification

Tennis Australia performed proof of concept and independent load test with several providers Ably, PubNub, Pusher and AWS IoT. Ably was duly selected, as they were the only provider which could meet the performance target, set by Tennis Australia, to consistently broadcast messages to 1.2 million users within 500ms, for the 95th percentile of all users.

Key Technologies used

  • High ratio fan-out
  • Limitless scale
  • Support for older devices with fall-back support
  • History API
  • Connection State Recovery
  • Realtime user state
  • Live event support and 24x7 monitoring

Tennis Australia's challenges

The Australian Open’s worldwide audience engage with the event via every digital medium and format imaginable. Tennis Australia positions itself to its global sponsors and partners as the primary source for live scores, streaming videos, profile information, schedules and live commentary: millions of users receiving billions of realtime messages.

Whilst most people’s devices support WebSockets, given the sheer quantity of visitors and fans across the globe, Tennis Australia needed to ensure that the lowest common denominator device was supported without WebSocket support.

Secondly, it’s very difficult to accurately predict the minute-to-minute demand that a multiple-round tournament like the open generates. Tennis Australia needed a partner who could guarantee uninterrupted performance as demand for the services spiked wildly and quickly. Losing users through poor data delivery was not an option for them. Their advertising revenue was entirely dependent on continuous data delivery for its sponsors and partners.

The Ably Solution

Only Ably could provide a solution that ensured redundancy across multiple regions. Client devices are intelligently routed to alternative data centres without relying on intervention by engineers or the domain name systems typically needed to route around faults.

We provided live 24/7 support throughout the Open and actively monitored performance and capacity in case any pre-emptive action was needed — happily, it wasn’t!

To guarantee performance scalability, Tennis Australia relied on Ably to ensure the latest match scores were made available to a new website visitor the moment the page loaded. This was achieved by looking back at the history of published events for that scoreboard using Ably’s history API.

Ably’s client library SDKs provided cross-platform support for all visitor devices and browsers regardless of whether they had modern support for WebSockets. The client library SDKs gracefully fall-back to lowest common denominator transports like HTTP streaming, XHR and JSONP where necessary ensuring all visitors were delivered a realtime experience.

Our formal evaluation process and double load testing proved that Ably was the only platform that could meet our very challenging performance targets. They delivered without a hitch in 2018 and we look forward to working with them again next year.

Jeremy Keech

PMO Manager / Tennis Australia

Tennis Australia relies on Ably for

  • 100% uptime guarantee

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  • Pub/sub messaging

    Using channels devices can broadcast out realtime updates to any number of subscribers.

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  • Guaranteed delivery and ordering

    Uniquely we guarantee all recipients receive messages 100% of the time. Build chat you can rely on.

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  • Realtime user state

    Know when users are typing, or get updates in realtime as a users GPS position changes.

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  • Connection state recovery

    When devices lose their connection, they don't need to lose message continuity and data integrity.

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  • History API

    Use our message history to persist conversations or a user's state such as their GPS location.

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  • Consistent client libraries on every platform

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  • Smart message routing

    We ensure data transferred between devices is always routed using the most efficient path, which means it's fast.

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  • Mobile Push Notifications

    Alert users with a native OS notification even when they are not using your app.

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