Wimbledon is already working on the next cycle of innovation at the All England Lawn Tennis Club after hosting a hackathon with technology partners IBM to improve ticket resale and virtual queuing for the 2016 championships at SW19.
At the IBM and Wimbledon hack in June, developers were challenged to come up with a way to make the resale process more accessible, lessening the amount of human input and shortening the line of fans waiting for a ticket. A second challenge sought to tackle the problem of fans waiting for on-the-door seats at certain courts where physical space outside is a premium, enabling them instead to access and receive their tickets through a virtual mechanism, while the teams were also tasked to develop a digital ticket-sharing system or a smartphone app to improve the championships — all of which would run on IBM's Bluemix cloud platform.
Sam Seddon, IBM's Client Executive for Wimbledon, said: "The hackathon forms part of an annual innovation cycle for IBM and Wimbledon where we work with the club to raise the bar. Wimbledon's mission statement is to be the best tennis tournament in the world, and you don't do that by standing still at any point.
"There's a real buzz in the room for developers working with Bluemix to determine how more people can experience more of Wimbledon, whether smoothing the ticket resale process or improving virtual queuing. These are real challenges for Wimbledon today and we're looking forward to some tangible outputs to take to the board."
Some of the recognised projects included TicketySplit — a method for friends to share a showcourt ticket, the TimTim app which aims to help fans navigate to less dense areas of the site, and the winning project which used NFC tags to reduce the take it takes between ticket return and resale from 20 minutes to fewer than five seconds.
After the event, Distinguished Wimbledon Engineer Bill Jinks said: "I've been working with Wimbledon for 13 years, so I spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff, and I was really happy to see some ideas that I'd never even thought of."
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