Cranmore Park Conference Centre in Solihull, the new home of the Bookmakers’ Trade Fair, received plaudits from exhibitors and visitors alike. There was universal acclaim from attendees praising the bright new location, situated on the outskirts of Birmingham.
Organised and hosted this year by TVC Technology Solutions, the Trade Fair attracted its traditional eclectic range of stand-holders, ranging from suppliers of software systems, screens, gaming machines and terminals to furniture, security and printing services, from regulatory body the Gambling Commission to industry organisations IBAS, GamCare and the ABB.
As expected, the Trade Fair featured plenty of new products being showcased by some of the most innovative and forward-looking companies in the bookmaking industry. It even had newcomers Marlborough Bookshop, whose stand featured not only the latest range of books (some of which are reviewed elsewhere in these pages) but also a panoply of products aimed at solving a few Christmas present problems.
TVC, who had taken over the organisation of the Bookmakers’ Trade Fair from BOS Magazine’s Lesley Sharman and relocated it from its previous home at Wolverhampton’s Dunstall Park Racecourse, were keen to build on the successes of previous years.
Writing in the Trade Fair catalogue, TVC director Matthew Brown said: “The essence and tradition of the Bookmakers’ Trade Fair is very important to us and regardless of changes made to the event, we are very conscious of retaining the feel and atmosphere of the Trade Fair whilst introducing new products and software solutions.”
As the day drew towards an end and exhibitors began to dismantle their stands, TVC’s Andy Greaves reflected on the event’s success.
“It’s gone tremendously well,” he enthused. “We’re really pleased. We’ve had positive feedback from both the delegates and the exhibitors about what a great venue it is.
“As regards location of stands, there’s not a bad place you could be. It’s a purpose-built exhibition centre and it’s got everything you could want, including high-speed internet.
“When Lesley offered us the opportunity to take over the show – we’d obviously been involved with it for a number of years – Matthew was very pleased to take it on board.
“We’ve increased the number of exhibitors this year from last year. We’re also up on the number of visitors by around 10 per cent on last year’s figures. We’ve had people from Sri Lanka, from South Africa, as well as the guys from Ireland who support it every year.
“The quality of the stands just gets better and better. The exhibitors have put a lot of effort into it and hopefully it’s paid off for them and they’ll get some good leads from it.
“We’re very happy with how it’s gone and we’ll be looking to announce a date for hosting it in 2016. We hope to grow it and make it a bigger event each year.”
Being heavily involved in the organisation of the Bookmakers’ Trade Fair did not distract TVC from exhibiting the very latest in their wide range of technology solutions.
This included the newest version of their digital signage, containing more animation and more movement, due to be launched to new and existing customers shortly after the Trade Fair.
Undoubtedly the visual highlight of the TVC stand was the whopping 95-inch Samsung screen. This proved a real showstopper and attracted plenty of attention.
“That does stretch to deep pockets at over £12,000,” observed TVC’s Andy Greaves, “so I don’t think it’s for the traditional independent bookmakers, but it’s an example of what TVC can do. We are a solutions provider.”
The latest advancements in shop screen control technology were also on display, including a Wyrestorm Picture in Picture matrix which allows multiple video signals to be split onto one screen. The advantage here is that you can use one large screen in your shop to display the 4 traditional live pictures. At the press of a button you can go full screen for a feature event. TVC also showcased a new Video Wall Controller from Wyrestorm which allows control via the shops WIFI network.
“You can now control your video wall from your phone, iPad or an android device. You can even change the channels remotely,” said Andy. “So from head office level, if somebody wants a channel changed, it can be changed instantaneously.
“We continue to work with our technology partners from all the major brands including Samsung, Wyrestorm and Philips whilst adapting their technology and see where it can be used within the betting industry.”