Stepping into Rod Laver Arena from London and discovering Melbourne Park like a local: digital experiences open up new possibilities for every fan, anywhere.
This year’s Australian Open pushes the digital boundaries for those in attendance at AO and for whom the in-person experience isn’t accessible. Bringing fans closer to all the action with personalised journeys is the AO Fan App, powered by Infosys. And making fans a part of the action is the AO Virtual Slam game, a 3D web experience that transports fans into Rod Laver Arena for game, set and match.
At AO 2021, a new AO Virtual Slam experience transports every fan into the Rod Laver Arena. 3D court views and data simulate the experience of playing under the Melbourne skies. Beyond the virtual court, 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 safety protocols.
Behind the making of the game is the art of experience design and the scale of the cloud. Optimised for browser-agnostic and cross-device renders, thousands of digital layers and micro-interactions power the virtual court. The same principles of user experience and availability were built into the Fan App as well, putting context at the heart of the journey. As centre court goes new places and new screens, there are new winners off court: the fans.
Download the AO 21 Fan App
Whether it’s the AO Fan App or the AO Virtual Slam, these experiences are raising the digital game, setting new benchmarks in sporting engagement. And they are built to enable all the passion that goes into a new way to follow the game, play it and be one with it. As accessible as they are immersive, the experiences usher in a new kind of digital fandom.
From crowd to court, it's as real as it gets. Even the player simulations are modeled on the gameplay of the world’s top-ranked players. The joy of taking them on is rivalled only by the joy of the 360° views of the Rod Laver Arena in the game. An interesting detail is the ability to play under Melbourne’s day and night skies. Looking up before serve and looking across after, it’s hard not to feel like a superstar. The action is still game, set, match, but when it comes to experience, this is game, set, unmatched.
What sets AO Virtual Slam apart is more than the score: in-game statistical integration is achieved by capturing screen motion. As each shot renders, the speed and the spin appear on screen, along with a fatigue index that tracks the distance covered on the virtual court. After the game is over, a dashboard of stats appears, revealing winners and unforced errors, as well as performance in break points and receiving points. With such advances in data, this is the shape of games to come: made with insight and immersion.
Australian Open 2021 is being played amidst unprecedented circumstances, and one of the crucial factors for the tournament’s success is balancing accessibility and safety. Infosys and Tennis Australia have worked to ensure this balance with intuitive navigation in the AO Fan App. Designed to help those attending explore the areas they are in, interactive maps and guide fans around every experience in the three Arena-based zones: Rod Laver, Margaret Court and John Cain.
Every game, set, match matters differently to different fans. Some cheer the defending champion, others the local hero. Whoever they choose to follow, the app is built around their preferences. Live notifications are tailored to each fan, ensuring they don’t miss the can’t-miss moments of each day. The app also delivers richer video content around each match, with highlights powered by Infosys AI. So when it’s game on, it’s app on, from love all to championship point and after.
It s been a tough year for tennis, and AO 21 marks a new beginning. In some ways, it s the return to tennis as we know it, but also a new kind of tennis. It s made of moments and experiences beyond game, set and match.
These moments, these experiences, represent our desire to keep going even when times are tough. When the old ways don t work, we find new ways. New normals that become mainstays with the next way to play, watch and engage. From immersion to passion, from experience to brilliance, #NextNeverStops.