PROJECTS

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I was commissioned by The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (Wimbledon) to produce a system to monitor the attendance and operation of the gates during the tennis tournament. The system we developed, involved the fitting of sensors to each of the turnstiles these were connected to a micro-controller which monitored the rotation of the turnstiles. This information was passed to a PC which produced information on the total attendance and flow of people into the grounds. As a deterrent to gate fraud the rotation of the turnstile was timed, triggering an alarm if a gate was held in a part open position. Monitors were fitted at a number of locations around the grounds for view by staff.

Access Control

 

Following a match where Luton Town played host to Milwall in the aftermath of the worst crowd trouble seen for many a year, there were cries for all kinds of controls. The FA were analyzing various methods of controlling who went into football grounds to watch the match and even the Prime Minister had plans to revolutionise the watching of football in this country with a series of tough measures including compulsory identity cards for anyone going to a match and a ban on all fans of away teams, even in local derbies. There were also proposals to ban alcohol at football matches. The whole of Britain was appalled by what happened and the public expected stringent action to stamp out the violence in football. The FA crack down on soccer's hooligans, caused a stir. Some of the proposed measures were seen as an infringement of liberty and the recommendation that offenders should be banned for life was seen as being difficult to implement, but the FA hoped to get round that by making the carrying of identity cards compulsory for all supporters. Luton Town was the first club to have a members only system installed which we designed and operated for the club.

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The more sophisticated Smart card version allowed for a much wider range of use, in addition to the operation of amusement machines, the possibility of allowing winnings from prize machines to be credited to the cards and also redemption points to be accrued. Adult & junior cards could be produced, whereby the junior cards would not operate the gaming machines. Cards could also be used for cash-less payments at bars and restaurants. Systems were provided for a number of companies including, Euro-Disney, Whitbread Brewery, Grand Metropolitan and Leisureworld in Ireland.

Cash Card

 

The brief for the cash card project was to design a promotional card to operate equipment in a wide variety of leisure related equipment. The system that was developed came in two versions, a magnetic stripe card and a smart card.
The magnetic card version consisted of a small microcontroller fitted within equipment such as pool tables, juke boxes and other amusement machines. Cards were validated by a unit held by the cashier, thus ensuring that unsold cards had no value. Each card could be encoded for a variety of token values. Upon inserting the card into the acceptor unit in the various amusement machines the required value was debited and the card stamped to indicate it remaining value. Cards also carried advertising information and sponsors such as Coca-Cola and tobacco companies were obtained. By removing all cash from the amusement machines, the opportunities for theft and vandalism were greatly reduced.

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Westbay

 

Westbay distributors are the UK distributor for the brands Bacardi, Martini and Glenmorangie. We were commissioned by them to produce a system to monitor the results of various marketing campaign's.

The project involved the setting up a network of PC's at the offices of Lincoln Management in Lincoln who carry out the work on Westbays behalf. The hardware comprised an NT file server and around twenty work stations. The software was produced in Visual Basic and drove an Access database. The operation involved the printing of survey forms which were sent to around 2000 outlets selected from the database of over 70,000 outlets around the UK. The information on the forms was either collected and entered manually or automatically downloaded from laptops via modem. This information was then used to produce reports and the data used in selecting outlets to be used in the following surveys. The database of results was maintained over a number of years and typically held several million records.

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