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Wimbledon uses wireless network to keep out the tout

Arif Mohamed

The organisers of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships have wirelessly enabled the event's ticketing application to combat ticket fraud.

The wireless network as a whole comprises 70 Cisco Aironet 1200 series 802.11g access points with a unit positioned at each entry gate. Ticketing staff will use Symbol PPT800s to scan visitors’ tickets and badges.

“In the old days, people used to put their tickets in the bin, and every so often someone would go around and empty the bins and resell the tickets. This year, people will have their ticket scanned, and the system will reprint it up at the top of Henman Hill,” said Paul Figgins, senior IT specialist at IBM Global Services, who manages Wimbledon’s IT system.

As a result, visitors will be able to keep their tickets as a souvenir, he said, and the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) will be able to sell more tickets, with its charity retaining the money from the sales.

The security team on the gates will also use the wireless system for a separate application: to scan badges in real-time to confirm the identity of contractors and all full-time and temporary staff.

The system matches the worker to photographic records held on the Club’s CRM system AEGIS (All England Global Information System), which is linked to police intelligence systems.

IBM Global Services, which runs the IT system for Wimbledon, is currently assembling and testing the wireless network, which was originally designed and implemented in 2003 for use by members of the press during the two weeks of the tennis championship.

This year, Wimbledon will have 70 wireless access points mainly for journalists and photographers to send information and images back to their offices. There will be three access points in Centre Court alone, intended for photographers to capture and send images from their cameras.

Users at the huts and marquees will also be able to access various intranets and applications such as the Wimbledon Information System (Wis) via wireless devices.

IBM serves Wimbledon's data needs >>

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