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BT network and data centre services help The Space Cinema entertain viewers visiting its movie theatre multiplexes
A modern movie theatre multiplex features video arcades, extensive concession areas, computerised ticket counters, and indoor cafés: all part of the enhanced in-foyer experience that starts well before seeing a film.
Enjoying trailers on a media-rich multiplex web site is as important as sipping a drink while sitting in the cinema, so Diego De Renzis wanted to build a communications infrastructure to support the ever-changing needs of cinemagoers.
BT helped Diego deploy an advanced IT and networking solution to accompany his customers on their journey from choosing a movie to booking the ticket, enjoying the show, and wirelessly sharing The Space Cinema vibe on social networks.
The Space Cinema was created in 2009 from the merger of two competing Italian multiplex chains. Now it operates 36 multiplexes and megaplexes all over the country showing movies on 359 screens. Following the merger, the new company faced the challenge of replacing inherited sales, mobile payment and website systems. With different technology platforms, a single scalable and dynamic solution was sought.
“On top of this,” explains Diego De Renzis, IT System Manager at The Space Cinema, “we had multiple service providers. That implied extra costs and, even more important, slowed down our response to deliver the innovative services demanded by our clients and deemed necessary to grow our business.”
The first step was to standardise the company’s IT infrastructure by extending the same solution to all multiplexes. To do this, BT Global Services was chosen as single outsourcer, responsible for integrated technology services management. The first step was to link all 36 cinema locations with The Space Cinema headquarters in Rome using BT IP Connect. Diversely routed dual optical fibre interconnects all the sites to guarantee the best level of availability.
That new networking infrastructure supports company-wide deployment of a BT One hosted voice-over-IP (VoIP) solution. “The BT IP Connect network gives us all the flexibility we need. For instance, we had soon to integrate another smaller company and that’s been much easier and quicker,” says Diego De Renzis.
The computing infrastructure has also been completely overhauled with the help of specialists from BT Advise. Now all IT systems are consolidated in the BT data centre in Rome, which houses hardware supporting a mix of virtualised and physical servers for The Space Cinema.
The servers in the BT data centre handle business applications like SAP and CRM along with several databases related to ticket bookings, payment systems, and marketing initiatives like loyalty cards and promotions. Moreover, the new infrastructure supports state-of-the-art web and mobile presentations of scheduled movies, an essential element in multiplex chain marketing.
The Space Cinema was able to slash cost by over 30 per cent compared to what the two separate companies used to spend prior to the merger. In addition, bandwidth has been improved by 85 per cent and VoIP communication over the BT IP Connect network is now free of call charges. “Placing systems integration, systems administration and maintenance of our infrastructure to a trusted partner like BT has set us free to concentrate on our core business activities,” says Diego De Renzis.
For instance, The Space Cinema was quick to capitalise on an opportunity fuelled by a new trend among its customers: the pleasure of attending live broadcast events with friends in a comfortable and engaging environment.
“We were the first to broadcast live European Championship football in our venues,” recalls Diego. “Our IT infrastructure helped us better promote and organise these hugely popular events through our web site, social networks and in-venue promotions to attract a large audience. From opera premieres to rock concerts and sport, the live broadcasting of key events is now a regular part of our schedule.”
The retail spaces within and surrounding multiplex movie theatres are of paramount importance to the profitability of the whole complex. Audiences nowadays expect to access ATMs, vending machines, and shops and kiosks, while using free Wi-Fi as they stroll about, supported by an efficient IT infrastructure that keeps such facilities working at the busiest time.
“Our peak time starts when standard working hours end. The 24/7 service offered by BT helps us not only quickly solve any issues that might arise during operations, but also works proactively to prevent issues occurring in the first place. This has been of a great value to us,” concludes Diego De Renzis.
- BT IP Connect global
- BT One Cloud, hosted voice solution
- BT Compute, telehousing at the BT data centre in Rome
- BT Advise Compute