(By Richard Tibbetts, StreamBase CTO)
Today we announced that Betfair has selected StreamBase for Real Time Analytics. I’m excited about this news as it demonstrates the importance of real-time data and analytics for driving the best possible consumer user experience for streaming, online services, and the role of StreamBase as the ideal platform for event-driven environments like Betfair.
American readers of this blog may be unfamiliar with Betfair. Betfair is the world’s largest betting community and one of the world’s leading online betting and gaming operators. At the heart of Betfair is its pioneering Betting Exchange, where customers come together to bet on odds set by Betfair or offered by other customers, instead of with a traditional bookmaker. The Betting Exchange provides better pricing, flexibility, and a level playing field in a massive market. In April of this year, Betfair had over 4 million registered customers worldwide and processed, on average, more than 7 million transactions per day on the Betting Exchange.
Betfair provides this service via Internet, mobile, and tablet devices that maximize the playing experience, and the Betfair infrastructure implements a service that implements its sophisticated betting market, real-time data processing, and real time clearing of bets.
Betfair is well known for its technically ambitious support for betting during a match. Players can bet while watching a live match, at the last possible moment. When I first met Alex Kozlenkov (Head of Research at Betfair) he described his challenge of executing 100,000 transactions per second against a single product, each transaction (or event) potentially impacts the price of that product, and must be processed in order.
And it’s not just the transactions that are streaming in the Betfair environment, they are also a leader in using real-time data to make the customer experience more engaging, fun, and unique. We’re in the midst of a renaissance of innovation in data management due to “Big Data” – innovative tools and infrastructure designed to manage increasing volume, velocity, and variety of information. The betting world is no different - new real-time data feeds provide streaming play-by-play data from cricket matches, and real-time social media data brings an opportunity to crowd-source context about the events from fans watching live (in related news, StreamBase recently announced integration with GNIP and connectivity to Hadoop via Flume that enables connectivity to Big Data)
By investing in real-time analytics, Betfair can tap into streaming information and from the betting ecosystem and leverage it to provide a better experience for users live on the site, on mobile devices, and on tablets, providing innovative context and experience to the Betfair experience.
Consumers are now conditioned by social media to expect information and data to be real–time, whether it be pictures of a night out, stock twits, or a location update. Betfair represents a step in the march of all businesses to become more social media aware, real-time, and web-scale. Customers expect more than just a scrolling Twitter feed in the sidebar – they expect real-time context and relevance. The winning firms will integrate a variety of data sources - structured and unstructured, historical and real-time - and distill them down to insight that matters, when it matters. The real-time business of the future requires all of this, and requires real-time analytics and event processing as the new IT computing fabric.