This article originally appeared in the December 2010 issue of Unified Communications Magazine
Considering the tight competition, Tiger Woods’ performance, and the sometimes severe weather – not to mention the 18th hole streaker – at this year’s Ryder Cup, there was a lot of excitement during the October golf competition in Wales.
The Ryder Cup selected Mitel as the communications infrastructure partner for the event, which has a history dating back to the 1920s. Prior to this year’s tournament at the Celtic Manor Resort, the PGA asked Mitel to develop an application that would allow press and key people in the association to follow the progress of players on the tour, and to have instant connectivity and presence for key officials involved with the event. So Mitel delivered a visual application running on its color touch screen 5360 IP phones to enable just that.
Stephen Beamish (News - Alert), vice president of marketing and business development at Mitel, tells Unified Communications Magazine that desktop phones are becoming a commodity. Where the value lies is in applications, he adds. As a result, Mitel is working with customers to enable the applications they require and desire. For the Ryder Cup, that meant presenting up-to-date player leaderboard statistics via the Mitel 5360 phones’ HTML screen. Users could also click on the devices to see what golfers were scheduled to play in later rounds. Another screen on the phones provided local weather conditions.
The apps were leveraged by those at the event who were curious as to whether outside conditions, which at the onset of the tournament were rainy and foggy, would be clearing up. (They did, as the event wrapped up under blue skies.) App users clearly also tapped the Mitel phones to follow the action – which led to Colin Montgomerie and the European team reclaiming the Ryder Cup after a tight battle with the Americans that was decided by a one-point lead in a final singles match the last day of the event. Some of them also probably watched closely for the schedule and scores of Tiger Woods, who beat Francesco Molinari, but also got some coverage during the event for driving a golf ball into the lens of a nearby camera.
“Mitel’s offerings are ideally suited to the challenging demands of the Ryder Cup,” says Graham Gifford, director of information and communications technology for the Ryder Cup. “The mix of innovation, reliability, and mobility is a key requirement for an event of this magnitude. By selecting Mitel, we have been able to ensure that our voice communication needs are covered at all points.”
Between 200 and 300 users had access to the specialized Ryder Cup applications running on the Mitel phones, says Beamish. Most of those people were from the press, but anyone at all with the Mitel 5360 phone could download the Ryder Cup application and use it, he adds. As a result, there were between 50 and 100 additional folks in the U.S. and Canada who opted to leverage the tournament application, including people at a couple golf courses and a couple golf enthusiasts in New York.
“The Ryder Cup’s quick build up and tear down make it a unique challenge,” says Graham Bevington, EMEA managing director at Mitel. “The technology has to be ready to go, perform flawlessly, and connect many locations and functions. Our commitment to the Ryder Cup is to provide an infrastructure that guarantees uptime and mobility for voice communications, and works with the other technologies in place at and surrounding the event, is something we look forward to carrying out during the tournament.”
Beamish adds that the purpose of the Ryder Cup application and Mitel’s promotion of it is to show the flexibility of the solution and how it can be used in various ways. Mitel provides a free toolkit so users can develop their own applications on the phones, he says, adding the New York Marathon was intrigued with this possibility and is looking at it.
However, Beamish adds, there’s plenty of applications for the Mitel phones that go beyond sports. For example, Mitel has an application for schools so that if there’s an emergency the phone in each classroom rings and flashes its lights, which alerts teachers to look on the phone screen to get directions on where students and staff should be evacuated. The teacher can then push one button to indicate all students have been moved to that location. That said, adds Beamish, phones are no longer just phones, but are now communications devices.
For more information on Mitel’s presence at the Ryder Cup, please visit: http://www.mitel.com/rydercup
Edited by Stefania Viscusi