Official Partner of the 2020 Indian Premier League
The Indian fantasy sports market is booming, with a compound annual growth rate of 32 percent. Cricket continues to be the fan favorite sport in the country. Thus, when Dream11 became the title sponsor of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament in 2020, it cemented its status as the largest fantasy sports platform in India.
The Dream11 platform allows users to create a team of real players for an upcoming match and compete with other fantasy sports enthusiasts. Users can join organized contests and even create private fantasy sports contests with friends and family.
In 2020, Dream11 registered 100 million users on its platform, up from 2 million in 2016. The app’s extraordinary growth can be traced to the company’s data-driven culture. “Every decision we make is backed by data and technology, considering various metrics to continually add ‘wow factors’ that help retain customers,” explains Praveen Jain, vice president of Engineering at Dream11.
AWS promotes a user-first culture, with intuitive cloud-native services that help us launch things fast without any dependencies.Praveen Jain
Vice President of Engineering, Dream11
Single-Digit Latency with 99.99% Uptime
Dream11 chose to build its infrastructure on Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2014. Stability and scalability were core requirements for a cloud provider, both of which have been consistently achieved on AWS. The Dream11 app has an average uptime of 99.99 percent. This level of reliability is critical in the fantasy sports industry in order to keep customers engaged without any interruption, especially during cricket matches. The app reports single-digit millisecond latency for user interactions across Android, iOS, and web platforms, ensuring virtual participants can move fast to score big.
Malicious cyberattackers are often drawn to sites with such a large digital customer base, so Dream11 takes the utmost care with data security. It relies on AWS Shield and AWS Web Application Firewall (AWS WAF) to protect against external intrusion attempts. The company also uses AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to apply employee access controls based on the principle of least privilege.
Dashboard Insights Accelerate Time-to-Market
In 2017, Dream11 began building a “data highway” to improve the user experience with rich, targeted features. The data highway facilitates the analysis of hundreds of types of user behavior such as how long a user engages with a certain feature. The homegrown analytics platform processes 14 TB of data per day using open-source streaming products as well as Amazon EMR.
Dream11 relies on Amazon Redshift as a data warehouse for transactional data and business intelligence reporting. Dream11’s core management team, as well as its finance and product teams, use the insights from data delivered in near-real-time dashboards to support decision making. “Our dashboard data provides insights into Dream11 users, so we can understand their preferences, experiment and develop new features, get fast feedback, and roll out accordingly,” Jain says.
Engineers at Dream11 can roll out small app enhancements in just 2–3 days and new products or large features in 1–6 weeks. “The various AWS technology offerings help us develop our prototypes and make them live very quickly, even at a massive scale,” Jain says. “This gives us a competitive edge in the market, where speed is essential.”
Driving the Social Aspect of Online Fantasy Sports
Dream11 further differentiates its fantasy sports platform from competitors with its rich social offering. Social connections with like-minded sports enthusiasts are an important part of the fantasy sports user experience, and the Dream11 app offers multiple opportunities for interaction. Users can set up chats, form groups to participate in public and private contests, and see how their scores rank within their social network.
A recently introduced feature is the app’s ability to sync with contacts in users’ mobile phone books to find family and friends who are active participants. All these connections are enabled by using Amazon ElastiCache and a highly scalable Amazon Neptune graph database containing more than 20 million nodes and 200 million edges. “We are driving toward developing more relationships and enhancing the social aspect in order to retain users and provide the best possible sports engagement experience,” Jain says.
Multiple Machine Learning Applications
Among the social features on the Dream11 app, users can post videos and pictures, as well as share images in group chats. Dream11 uses the Amazon Rekognition machine learning (ML) service to automate image and video analysis. Thousands of images are reviewed each day as part of site moderation.
Additionally, Dream11 has developed its own ML models to help forecast demand of the contests running on the app. A team is dedicated to building these models with Amazon SageMaker. They have also developed ML models to detect fraud. The models flag users who are trying to collude or create fake accounts on the platform.
From a user perspective, participants benefit from ML-driven recommendations on which contests to join based on their past in-app behavior and other factors. At any given time, hundreds of contests are running simultaneously on the Dream11 platform, so time-conscious users greatly appreciate these recommendations.
Highly Skilled Engineers Support a Growing User Community
Dream11 anticipates even further growth, projecting a continued increase in user registrations in 2021. The company counts on its highly skilled engineering team to help navigate the next phases in its technology journey to support many more users and use cases. With AWS, engineers are confident in the tools they have at their disposal and can innovate in a self-directed manner.
Jain concludes, “AWS promotes a user-first culture, with intuitive cloud-native services that help us launch things fast without any dependencies. The AWS solutions architects are always there to provide a greater perspective on how to use AWS so that we remain competitive in the market.”