PR_54 BICC Information Technology

Increasingly in the world of pigeon racing ever more information is required, which is of course available via the internet, and often demanded instantaneously via an iphone, an ipad; the more normal desktop or lap top and now-a-days even on a smart TV, so a reliable and easily navigable web site is virtually a prerequisite and valuable asset for most major clubs. The BICC has been very fortunate in obtaining the services of one of its own ~ a pigeon fancier by the name of Keith Thomas who lives quite close to Bedhampton RPRA liberation site in Hampshire, and clearly has exceptional computer and IT skills

Behind the scenes of course all sorts of statistics are available, and one that is perhaps surprising but very encouraging in so many ways is that for the last six months, (up to the week before the Guernsey race) nearly 85,000 'Hits' had been recorded on the BICC web site. This figure which is for 'page-views' can be broken down further, indicating 26,745 'first time visits', with 'returning visits' showing at over 31,000; along with Daily, Weekly and Monthly stats, so clearly the club has a vast number of people viewing the site. As is expected there is a huge spike in the number of 'views' around race days, with some daily peaks of well over 4,000 page-views being recorded; doubtless fanciers not just from the UK but from all over the world, keen to see not just basic information such as number of birds sent from each marking station, or of course the liberation information, but member's clocking times in the provisional result, and the site has performed exceptionally under this sort of pressure.

It may be worth highlighting a couple of areas, as occasional and similar questions still arise from time to time. On the Home page there is a menu to the left side with 'News' & 'Racing' being the sub sections that are seemingly the most often viewed. The News is fairly straightforward as there is no further drop down section or links to follow, and as an example the latest news that can be viewed at the moment is the forthcoming Late Bred Auction list. When the cursor is moved over 'Racing' and clicked on, a further drop-down menu appears. Clicking on Early-Times brings up the entire fixture list and at the top of the page there is the current race (sometimes two at once) with - unsurprisingly - the early times reported to the race secretary and taken from Lib Line. These early times are of course entirely provisional and already in one race this year, the provisional leader board was reversed in the final result, with just seconds on a fast or slow clock deciding the outright winner. Clicking 'Fixtures & Results' in the drop down brings up the same page and to the right hand side there is a column headed - 'Final Results' which if the green tick is clicked on, means the full final result can be viewed, and at minimal cost to the club and membership. There are obviously cost implications to printing full results, sometimes numbering over a thousand positions in the Fancy Press. Previous year's results are displayed under 'Results Database' which can be accessed via the home page menu.

I certainly know of one very computer literate individual who has already created a computer program which collects the various information from all ETS race strike-offs, straight into a laptop, and sends these via 'e'-mail to be input immediately and directly into dedicated race result software. Whether in time the BICC decides to adopt such a program remains to be seen, and will I suspect engage much discussion at future committee meetings. In this day and age of super rapid communication it does I think, beggar belief, that most fanciers now time their race birds in via an electronic pad, which in turn displays an accurate time on a VDU; they take their ETS clock to the club to have the information within printed, and then that piece of paper having been duly printed, is put into an envelope and entrusted to the post office who have the enduring capability to take days to deliver it. That same piece of paper is then transcribed manually and laboriously into a computer race program to compile a result, and all this could be done via the internet within micro-seconds. The pigeon fancy still has a long way to go with technology in this internet driven age.

Russell Bradford