Meet Master Inventor Brian O’Connell: Another Person for a Smarter Planet

Brian O’Connell, Software Engineer, Master Inventor, IBM
Brian O’Connell, Software Engineer, Master Inventor, IBM

By Andrew Nichols, IBM Communications

As the 2013 US Open Tennis Championships kicks off in Flushing, N.Y., this week, tennis fans around the world will turn to for scoring, live streaming video and real-time analytics. Whether they know it or not, those fans will be counting on cloud computing and predictive analytics technologies to provide the continuous and reliable access to stats, scores, videos and match insights.

Brian O’Connell, a software engineer and Master Inventor at IBM, leads the cloud infrastructure team in Raleigh, N.C., that creates the solutions that power sporting events like the US Open. O’Connell has been focused on sports infrastructure for more than a decade. He started at IBM as a summer intern in 1997 and joined the sports events team shortly thereafter. Since then, he’s filed more than 350 patents and has worked on countless innovations that have helped create top-notch digital experiences for fans.

While fans at the tournament enjoy innovations like SlamTracker, an interactive online analytics dashboard for the US Open and other tennis tournaments that delivers statistics and information in real-time, they may not be aware that the same Big Data and predictive analytics technologies that provide insight on the court also power the systems behind the scenes.

Each year, transforms into a massive, data-hungry environment that serves millions of tennis fans. During the two-week tournament, the USTA needs to expand its infrastructure to meet these demands, which can be challenging to plan for and predict.

“With sports events like the US Open, there is a lot of uncertainty,” O’Connell explained. “Depending on what happens on the court, a tournament day can range from extremely exciting to, ‘Wow that has never happened before in the history of the world.’ The infrastructure needs to be prepared for any scenario.”

Over the past few years, much of O’Connell’s work has been focused on better allocation of behind-the-scenes resources. This year at the US Open, IBM will use a new technology, a combination of predictive analytics and cloud technologies, to increase reliability of these systems.

“This new environment harnesses Big Data generated during the matches and uses predictive analytics to automatically adjust our resources to meet demands,“ O’Connell said. “Our cloud is designed to be resilient in the face of any failure scenario you can imagine.”

So as sports fans around the world enjoy hours of streaming video, real-time analytics, and match insights in a seamless online environment, know that Big Data analytics and cloud are hard at work behind the scenes to make it all possible.

This content first appeared on A Smarter Planet blog, and was republished for IBM Jobs Blog



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