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Information and Security Systems at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
For 351 days a year, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club is a quiet private tennis club set in a sleepy suburb of London. For 14 days each year, half a million tennis enthusiasts arrive at the club from around the world to witness the Wimbledon Championships. Needless to say, much preparation is required as the club accommodates world tennis stars, their fans, and the press and television crews. Many information systems of all types are required to support the global sporting event. Information systems specialists at the club work to support the event; maintain the Club’s culture, brand, and values; and support the Club’s primary mission: “to blend tradition with innovation to substantially improve the quality of the Wimbledon experience for all the key stakeholders.”
A primary goal for the annual two-week event is the security and safety of all in attendance. To accomplish this goal, the Club has invested in a new electronic security and surveillance system. With so many people to watch on a vast property, Club management knew that they would need state-ofthe-art automated surveillance software. The Club management wanted a system that could integrate images from video cameras, intruder alarms, and trip wires with identifying information such as license plates to provide realtime reports of suspicious activities. With these specifications in mind, the Club found a solution in a Digital and Video Security (DVS) solution designed by IBM. The system provides “real-time intelligence to automatically monitor trends and analyze events captured by security devices.”
The system was tested at the 2007 Wimbledon Championships with success. At the 2008 event, the system was extended to hundreds of cameras. Because the system is scalable, it can grow each year as attendance grows at the event without any degradation in performance.
In addition to the half-million attendees, millions of fans can now view the event and related information online thanks to another new information system development project. Knowing that interest in the event was continuously growing, Wimbledon event coordinators looked for ways to provide remote coverage to more tennis fans. A system was developed called SlamTracker that provides live online scoring for matches in progress. Additional SlamTracker tools allow fans to track player progression and other important player and match statistics.
Those watching the event in person and on TV have noticed other high-tech improvements. Large LED screens have been installed on the main courts, providing the audience with statistics such as the speed of the serve. Other systems are provided to the athletes to display important statistics and trends captured during the last match so that the players can see what improvements are required and create strategies for the next match.
Systems analysts work year round to improve information systems for the next Wimbledon Championships. Security systems, media systems, Web systems, and a host of other types of systems are examined for strengths and weaknesses, searching for ways to improve the experience. In 1990, Wimbledon decided to hire one company to manage all of its systems: IBM. While outsourcing its systems to IBM may be costly, other savings make it well worth the investment. With all of its systems managed by one company, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club can integrate its systems more easily, saving money by removing redundancy that often exists with multivendor systems. Furthermore, All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club is not in the business of information systems. For 351 days a year, the club would rather focus on its membership than on the two-week event next summer.
1. How do information systems being implemented at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club support its primary goals?
2. How do information systems add to the enjoyment of viewing the Wimbledon Championships through multiple channels—in person, on TV, and online?
1. What other sporting events might benefit from the technologies used at Wimbledon?
2. How might systems failure cause catastrophe for Wimbledon Championships organizers?