David Jones, senior VP of IT in Europe at sports and entertainment company Anschutz Entertainment Group, has a relentless customer focus. The past year has seen him investing heavily in customer connectivity at the group's venues in Germany (in the UK, Anschutz-run sites such as The O2 and SSE Arena, Wembley already have high-quality WiFi.) Customer registration on the Anschutz network helps grow its marketing and analytics database, with profitable consequences.

Last year new mobile apps for The O2, SSE Arena Wembley and Tele2 Arena in Stockholm went live, allowing customers to buy and display tickets, transfer tickets to friends attending an event, pre-order merchandise such as T-shirts and programmes, and buy food and drink for collection from a fast lane. The new apps are already generating extra revenue and providing the business intelligence team with valuable additional insights.

Jones and his team have migrated all the European businesses to a new digital marketing platform that supports automated digital direct marketing initiatives. One such initiative identifies which future events are most likely to appeal to customers in the database, and then automatically creates tailored emails to market the right events to the right people. It is a real-world use of machine learning and automation, and is already delivering significant incremental revenue.