World Cup 2010 O2 SMS Activity

During the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa, a series of visualisations were created using O2 SMS activity data in the UK showing network activity fluctuations during the England matches.

The aim of the project was to find out if what happened in the matches affected the mobile operators network traffic. First the data had to be manipulated to better show fluctuations between standard traffic and the increase in traffic when something happened.

A traffic baseline was created by averaging the total number of texts per match divided by the minutes, and then comparing that number with the actual traffic data for each minute. If the traffic for that minute was either above or below the baseline, relatively that column was resized as a percentage of the baseline.

Processing of the O2 Network Data by Dave Bowker

You can see comparatively in the 2 blue bars that these are 2 consecutive minutes and how relatively the size has increased by comparing each column against a baseline.

As expected when something happens in the match traffic activity dramatically increases as the fans want to tell people about it. It’s also interesting to see in the minutes that when something does happen it takes a few minutes for traffic to settle back to normal. Reasons for this could be that some fans take longer to text than others, some are too caught up in the moment that it takes them a few minutes before they’re ready, or they could be responses from the recipient to the sender. Nevertheless when something happens it’s clear people want to let their friends know about it.

England Vs Usa O2 SMS Activity by Dave Bowker

Very easy to see that after both goals traffic increased.

England Vs Algeria O2 SMS Activity by Dave Bowker

Traffic was pretty low throughout with a little activity at half time but then a massive increase at the end of the match when Wayne Rooney had an outburst on camera.

England Vs Slovakia O2 SMS Activity by Dave Bowker

Again with Defoe’s goal another traffic spike, and then at full time when England have beaten out the round and progress into the next stage we see another jump in traffic.

Comparatively it’s interesting to see the events in each of the matches which led to the traffic spikes. With all matches plotted together on one line graph you can really see how the fans react to the events.

England Match Comparison O2 SMS Activity by Dave Bowker

Defoe’s goal is clearly the most talked about, as it was this event in England’s final game that put them through to the next stage.

Dave Bowker Signature

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