Feature Article

February 13, 2014

SOASTA Provides Real Time Look at User Experiences on Interactions with Sochi Olympics

Here is what might be a silly question, are you watching the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia?   Hundreds of millions of people around the world are tuned in.  However, the next question might be more interesting.  Are you interacting with the Winter games on your PC, smartphone or tablet for a more immersive experience? 

The answer to that second question might not reach into the hundreds of millions just yet, but research in the run-up to the games found that 1 in 3 owners of smart devices planned on using those devices as either their primary means for getting detailed information about the Olympics or as second screens to get an enhanced user experience. SOCHI2014 is official site for the games, and it has been very busy.  And, that leads to one last question that increasingly is very relevant not just for sporting events but all interactions online, “So how good is website performance and the quality of the user experience.”

It turns out that we can find out and see the answer to the last question.  In fact, cloud testing and monitoring solutions provider Mountain View, CA-based SOASTA, is only out with a video showing traffic to the SOCHI2014 from February 12, that has some interesting granularity behind it.  They also announced that it has signed a 10-year contract to assure quality web and mobile user experiences for the 2018, 2020, 2022, and 2024 Olympic Games.

The whole world is watching

Let’s start with the new data and video.  It shows over a 24 hour period real web and mobile user traffic on the SOCHI2014 website. Monitoring is provided by the SOASTA mPulse monitoring solution. By way of explanation, the beacons are new visits to the site. Green is fast performance as experienced by the end user, red is slow.

A few facts you might find of interest include the top 10 countries visiting during this time (which started at noon PST) were: 

  • US – 33 percent
  • Canada - 23 percent
  • Russia - 18 percent
  • Ukraine and Australia - 2 percent
  • The other  countries (France, Germany, UK and Latvia) were less than 2 percent of web traffic

It is important to remember that it makes sense that many of the Nordic powers like Sweden, Norway, Finland, Austria, etc. have relatively small populations even though they have significant mobile device and PC penetration, and thus looking at this from a straight percentage of traffic perspective can be a bit deceptive.

In addition, for those interesting in what was being used for interactions, note that:

  • Chrome/32 is the most popular browser, representing over 30 percent of all traffic to the Olympic site
  • Internet Explorer (all versions) was the second most popular browser with 19 percent of the traffic
  • Mobile Traffic represented about 13 percent of traffic to the site represented by mobile Safari (iOS) at 9 percent and Android at 4 percent. 

As an FYI, the video is compiled from SOASTA’s mPulse which captures and aggregates the performance and engagement metrics in real time.  SOASTA notes that this type of user intelligence enables enterprises to correlate the impact of performance on their bottom lines.  It also allows them to take immediate action when trouble occurs such as during the 2013 Super Bowl when Coke’s “Coke Race” commercial crashed from congestion. 

SOASTA gets its own Olympic reward

 The release of the video on YouTube was done in conjunction with an important win for SOASTA.  As a result of its work not just on the Sochi Olympics but also its work on the 2012 London Summer Olympics, the Olympic Organizing Committee (OOC) has given awarded SOASTA a ten-year contract as the web and mobile testing partner for games to be held in the next ten years. 

Tom Lounibos, SOASTA CEO was obviously delighted. He stated that, “By assuring the delivery of high quality web and mobile experiences for the millions of Olympics fans across the world for London 2012 and Sochi 2014, we are honored that the SOASTA team and technology has earned the trust of the Olympics for the next 10 years.  In the near future we will see the Internet of Things as part of the Olympic experience, with even higher expectations for quality user experiences every time.”

SOASTA’s task is quite consequential.  In fact, here are a few numbers to digest in terms of the traffic involved in these kinds of major events. London2012.com handled 431 million global visitors, 109 million unique users, 15 million application downloads, and 4.73 billion page views. In anticipation of large loads, in early September 2013, SOASTA began web and mobile testing for Sochi on its Global Test Platform that enabled continuous testing from 16 locations worldwide.

In those tests, the company simulated worldwide traffic conditions, and delivered continuous testing for multiple Olympic web and mobile apps, including game times, cultural sites, and volunteer sites. As they explain, “Each site includes a strong mix of both mobile and web traffic. Leveraging best practices, performance testing was run daily and early on in the development process, including extreme tests of 100,000 pages per second with hundreds of thousands of concurrent users.”  

All of this allowed SOASTA to work with the Olympic IT team to fine-tune issues across software code, content delivery networks, and front-end web performance.  The good news is that despite some grumblings about housing conditions and the warm temperatures for the Winter games, the website has been providing excellent user experiences. It serves as a not so subtle reminder of the value of testing in general, and specifically the need for testing when more than just friends and family are likely to make your website their destination for intense interactions.  




Edited by Cassandra Tucker


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