Box office applications specialist Data Factors has won April's Computer Reseller News/Syscap Approved Technology Innovator of the Month Award for the design and delivery of a real-time web-based booking system for Tottenham Hotspurs (Spurs) Football Club.
The Suffolk-based company, which has only 15 staff, developed the Java-based system for the club's owners, ENIC plc, over the past year, having decided that it should take its ticket booking system onto the web.
Data Factors is now supplying Spurs with a managed service through which supporters can book seats online and view the precise angle from which they will see the game. It is believed to be the first system in the UK to allow such a view.
By logging onto the website fans get a view of available seats and, by clicking on any particular seat, are given the view they will see of the game.
"If you don't go to a ground regularly it's very important to know where to sit so that you get a decent view," explained Pat Bernstein, managing director at Data Factors.
When users log-on the system downloads a small Java applet that displays a view of available seats. The system updates the information every five seconds so that supporters can see seats that have just been booked and look for others.
ENIC plc finance director Matthew Collecott expects the system, which went live in March, to be a big hit with supporters. "So much of what we do relates to us getting tickets to people expediently and that's why this is such a beautiful solution," he said.
The system will also help deal with the surge in demand when tickets for big matches at the club's North London White Hart Lane ground go on sale.
Another advantage is that the service is managed and run by Data Factors, and Spurs pays only for tickets sold.
The booking facility is currently available only to the club's 30,000 members. Other fans, supporters of visiting sides for example, can also use the system to check the view of the game from their allocated seats, but are unable to book tickets online at present.
Data Factors is now planning to take its system to a wider market. The company has a patent pending on the technology it has developed for the system and Bernstein is now targeting the lucrative US market.
Phillip White, sales director of the award sponsor, technology finance and leasing company Syscap, explained that the Data Factors system shows that the scheme recognises innovation in suppliers of all sizes.
"Data Factors is a small solutions provider but it has done a fantastic job for ENIC plc by developing a system that innovates in two areas - real-time seat availability and the View from Seat facility - and delivers clear benefits and cost saving for the customer," he said.
This is exactly the kind of solution that the Technology Innovator of the Month award designed to encourage, he added.
"We applaud Data Factors for their work and we'd like to urge more users to put their resellers and solutions providers forward," said White. "Where technology is being used to best effect, to achieve real benefits and maximum returns to the customer, it should be recognised and encouraged."
To enter for the award resellers or their customers should fill in the online entry form at www.technology-innovator.co.uk or request a postal entry form from Helen Boydell on 0207 316 9000 or email [email protected].
A full version of this article will appear in vnunet.com's sister publication Computer Reseller News on 15 April.
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