March 2016 saw SIS change its data collection model for UK greyhounds, with odds and results now produced directly by track agents via a new mobile interface. Jim Proudfoot, Head of On Course Operations at SIS Betting, explains the changes.
What’s prompted the switch to tablet data collection at greyhound races?
We’re always looking at ways to improve our processes to deliver better products and services to our customers, and the switch to our new proprietary tablet data collection at greyhound races is the culmination of hard work from our on course and development teams.
The previous method for data collection at greyhound races involved a mixture of written and oral data transfer that was then telephoned into our offices, input into our systems and sent to shops. Each of those steps added time to complete and as SIS plays a key part in driving a real-time environment that is getting faster and faster, we spent a considerable period developing and utilising resource to evolve a more efficient tablet-based system. The tablet data collection enables us to take the data directly from the source at the trackside and straight through to customers, thereby minimising latency.
How much have you invested in the development? How long before you get an ROI?
We have invested heavily in the tablet data collection system and processes because we are committed to greyhound racing and we very much see ourselves having a long relationship with the sport. Bookmakers are now getting the benefit of quicker data and, through our partnerships and agreements, we are delivering more live greyhound racing to more customers than ever before across multiple platforms.
What made you choose to develop it in-house?
When we set out to revolutionise the way we collect data for greyhound racing, we looked at all of the options available to us in terms of development. Following this period of evaluation, we decided to develop in-house and deliver a mobile version of our core data collection system (SIS Editor) as it would reduce the need for complex integration work and interact closely with all of our core systems. The end product has been developed in conjunction with our on course operations team, with the focus on usability, speed of data and robustness.
How easily can it be extended across to other sports?
Our goal with data collection is simple, collect data direct from the source and pass it on as quickly as possible. Our new tablet data collection for greyhounds is similar to that used for our Spanish football service for which we provide live data for all La Liga and Segunda B matches. Although the user interface may differ for each sport, we’re now proving the versatility of the approach across football, greyhounds and UK and Irish horse racing. There is no reason it can’t be applied to other sports.
How big is the on-course team for an event like the Derby? How much planning goes into it?
The 2016 Greyhound Derby featured more SIS staff on site than ever before. In addition to the data collection, we also filmed and produced all of the action live from Wimbledon for both the betting shops, our streaming customers and of course, for sky sports.
Our teams were on site many days in advance, laying down three kilometres of cables and setting up nine cameras around the track to bring high quality super-slow motion replays as well as all of the interviews and reactions from trainers, owners, and fans that viewers love.
This year we are proud to have filmed the Derby in high definition, a first for the sport. The year ahead in greyhound racing is very exciting for SIS as our coverage of the sport we love is expanding even further. Our SIS Greyhound service will broadcast races 364 days a year to customers, covering 32,000 races from 23 tracks in the UK and Ireland.