Digital Ambassadors Apply Tech and Security to Sport

Published Tuesday 17 April 2018 in Sheffield

Digital Technology Sector Ambassadors on the Better Learners Better Workers programme recently visited Ponds Forge to meet Mike Cook, Head of IT Services for Sheffield City Trust. The Trust and its subsidiaries are among the region’s largest leisure and entertainment companies.

The Trust, which retains all profits rather than distributing them to shareholders, manages six public leisure facilities, five public golf courses, two theatres in Scarborough and Whitby, the Sheffield Arena, Ice Sheffield, Sheffield City Hall and the English Institute for Sport, providing training facilities for elite sport.

Through a guided tour of the Ponds Forge building and a presentation from Mike, Ambassadors learned about the wide range of technologies used, including electronic scoreboards, timing and photo-finish equipment, gym and medical facilities, video and broadcasting. Less visible technology includes WiFi, ticketing, access control, security, CCTV and ice-monitoring systems.

Ambassadors also learned more about Mike’s role at the Trust.  As Head of IT Services, Mike is responsible for the strategic direction and operational delivery of all the Trust’s IT services. That means dealing with the finance, human resources and building management systems, the IT network infrastructure, communications systems and data storage.

Mike explained how the Trust uses data from its customers and discussed the ‘3 pillars of data security’: CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability). Referring to the recent scandals involving Facebook/Cambridge Analytica, Yahoo and TalkTalk, Mike explained the new stricter data protection laws and set the Ambassadors a task to decide what data the Trust needs to gather on its customers, what benefits this data can bring to customers and how the data can benefit the Trust.

Mike said: “It was very pleasing to see the enthusiasm and genuine engagement of the students who visited Ponds Forge.  I hope the visit helped in the understanding of the use of technology in the leisure & entertainment sector, and the importance businesses need to give to the value of data.”

Ambassadors were then shown around the building’s facilities and took part in fun hands-on activities in the gym. The visit showed Ambassadors that there’s lots of technology involved, a lot of which you can’t see, and how it is pivotal in the running of facilities owned by the Trust.

Better Learners Better Workers