Sport social network Sportlobster is using a commercially available data stream network from PubNub to avoid development work and cut ongoing infrastructure costs.
Building an infrastructure to enable global real-time messaging would have cost Sportlobster about £100,000 and taken three months, as well as regular maintenance costs.
The interactive tool for sports fans has live scores, schedules, news, rumours, photos and videos, and blogs from fan communities. It delivers real-time updates and alerts to Sportlobster users for live sporting events.
As consumers increasingly engage online, businesses in all consumer-facing sectors need to respond to customer demands quickly – or risk losing customers to quicker rivals.
Sportlobster delivers real-time messages to thousands of users through PubNub’s global data stream network. This type of infrastructure is critical to Sportlobster and, by using a commercially available service, it significantly reduced development time and cost, which enabled it to focus on its application features.
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Real-time essential to user experience
Typically thousands of users are connected to a single live event stream. Sportlobster needs to send messages to different platforms and operating systems in near real time. If users do not receive messages and notifications on time, the experience will fail to emulate the real life action taking place.
“Real time is extremely valuable to Sportlobster, because the world of sport is incredibly fast-paced and therefore we need to update our users equally as fast. Live scores must be updated on the fly – we cannot be waiting up to one minute. We have to be as quick as other social networks,” said Nico Cary, chief innovation officer at Sportlobster.
Cary said the company decided to implement a real-time back-end infrastructure from a supplier rather than build its own – which, from experience, it knew would take up to six months to develop. The company chose PubNub’s real-time data stream network. The PubNub service charges a monthly fee based on usage, with maintenance and updates included. He said the cost through PubNub is less than it would have cost to have a developer maintaining it and expanding it for more users.
Reaching millions of users in seconds
PubNub’s other customers include: Manchester City Football Club, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Toyota, GetTaxi and BT Sport.
“Without PubNub we would’ve had to build the infrastructure from scratch. We had a couple developers on our team who had built a real-time back end before, and it took them three months. Had they known PubNub existed, they would’ve definitely used it,” said Cary.
PubNub enables Sports lobster to push 50,000 notifications in two seconds.
“This is unreal. It is vital to quickly engage with our users for when there is, let’s say, a goal. We need to hit the fans as soon as possible and PubNub enables us to achieve this, as they have so many servers ready to go,” said Cary. “We have over two million users on Sportlobster and, with the system we had, it would’ve been difficult to quickly hit every single one with a push notification.”
Sportlobster has launched an application for the Apple Watch which sends notifications and alerts directly to Apple Watches.