William Hill beefs up IT for mobile gambling push

Bookmaker William Hill will launch a series of interactive mobile gambling services next year after completing implementation of...

Bookmaker William Hill will launch a series of interactive mobile gambling services next year after completing implementation of a new technology infrastructure.


The company, which has 1,600 outlets across the UK, hopes the MCS server from Volantis will help it capitalise on demand for mobile gambling, which will generate global revenues of £1.15bn by 2006, according to Juniper Research.


The Volantis platform will allow William Hill to make betting applications available to all wireless devices, said Julian Graham-Rack, head of e-commerce business development at the company.


“Potentially, mobile gambling is a huge market, but technically, offering agnostic network and handset access to our content is quite a challenge,” he said.


“The Volantis implementation was driven by the need to make sure anybody can use our services – removing technology-related barriers.”


Before the implementation, William Hill, which has been offering limited Wap-based services since 2000, only specifically supported six handsets from some of the main suppliers, Graham-Rack said.


“As latest handsets came out from those manufacturers, it was unclear as to whether they worked or not on our site,” he said.

“In addition to that, our service was designed to the lowest common denominator, so we were unable to take advantage of the advanced features of modern mobile handsets.”


Now that Volantis is in place, William Hill will be able to expand its mobile service offering, Graham-Rack said.


“We are now able to identify, for example, the top 10 mobile phones in use so we can start to create optimised services using the features on those phones such as colour, screen size and audio capabilities,” he said.


William Hill’s MCS server, which went live last month, is a J2EE-compliant native application server designed to manage the presentation of content across multiple devices.


The software contains a database of 450 devices, supporting PCs, PDAs, 2G, 2.5G and 3G mobile phones, interactive digital TV, internet appliances, games consoles and Voice XML portals. The user interface of a website on a given device is defined by policies held in the device database.

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