Not many people think of William Hill as a “tech company,” but that’s about to change thanks to the company’s new hub in London.
The Shoreditch office is where Crispin Nieboer, director of corporate development and innovation at William Hill, inspires innovation in his team to create new apps and products to put into the road map.
“It’s really to create a separate space for us to launch our innovation efforts that’s separate from the core team, [who are] working on day-to-day business, and give us the freedom to experiment, build new apps, new features, new products in an agile way and test them, refine them, and when we find products or features that are real winner, then we can feed those into the core business to put into the road map and get in front of the customers,” Nieboer told CalvinAyre.com.
Nieboer is a fan of big data, which he uses to come up with innovative products like Tinder for bettors.
“We could use data for instance to look at your player account history… then when you come in, rather than us showing the normal log-in screen, why don’t we show you immediate log-in? We think this is the bet you like and then you could almost do it like a lot of dating apps, you can slide left or right depending on whether you like to bet,” he explained.
Another innovation that William Hill is particularly proud of is its immersive horse racing product, which makes use of virtual reality.
“We wanted to see how we could create a user-case for Google Cardboard and the Oculus Rift. It’s a project we’re working on. We have GPS trackers on horses at Kempton park as part of our tests and that data has been fed back into our server and then we’re recreating the race in a full 3D environment which we created, so you can look over your shoulder, look down at the saddle, you can see the other horses and it’s like you are the jockey sitting on the horse that you bet on,” Nieboer said.
Nieboer said the horse racing product is still on trial mode, but it’s one of the things that they want to take into full launch.
“It’s example of the things we want to do… test out new technologies, are there user cases for them? Is there a commercial story for it? And does it enhance customer experience, basically. Once we’ve proven that, I hope we have the product like in Q1, so we’ll see,” Nieboer said.