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Ryder Cup CTO Michael Cole and Gatwick Airport CIO Cal Corcoran spoke to CIO UK Editor Edward Qualtrough about the opportunities, challenges and technology innovations at their organisations during episode seven of the CIO UK podcast.

Cole, Chief Technology Officer of the European Tour which will be hosting this year's Ryder Cup between Europe and the United States at the Le Golf National resort near Paris, and Gatwick's Corcoran were speaking to CIO UK at Aruba's Atmosphere conference on Croatia's Dalmatian coast near Split.

The technology and business leaders had both been part of the keynote address, discussing their partnership with Aruba and how they were using the connectivity platform to underpin digital transformation initiatives.

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Corcoran and Cole also both discussed vendor partnerships and what it means for CIOs and CTOs to make trips to larger technology conferences fruitful.

European Tour investment

Ahead of September's transatlantic golf tussle, which takes place just a few kilometres south-west of the Palace of Versailles, Cole said that the European Tour's technology investment represented a significant change for the organisation.

"This is actually the biggest investment in technology that we have ever made for a Ryder Cup," he said. "And this investment gives us the perfect platform, not just for the Ryder Cup, but also for the European Tour."

Cole also discussed the impact of emerging technologies like cognitive learning, artificial intelligence, White Space and 5G could have to benefit the organisation and its fans.

Gatwick CIO Corcoran spoke to CIO UK under a beach shade spitting distance from the Adriatic Sea, and described how crucial it was to have robust networking infrastructure at the airport.

"Gatwick is critical national infrastructure, it's a 24 by seven operation," Corcoran said. "It has to run; if it doesn't run, lives are impacted. People don't make weddings. People don't make funerals. People don't make important business meetings and family events, so it has to run and without a campus network that is the latest and greatest stuff, then bad things happen.

Passenger experience

The passenger experience is a top priority for Corcoran, which he said was impacted by everything from queuing and passage through the terminal to whether aircraft landed or were able to take off on time.

The concept of drones for good is also on the airport's agenda, and how they can make use of the technology which has somewhat negative connotations when discussed in the context of airports.

"How do we use drone technology to protect the perimeter of the airport? How do we use drone technology to inspect the runway for cracks? How do we use drone technology to inspect buildings? But then also drones can be a nuisance, so we're looking at technologies that will detect and deter drones from entering into the airspace if they're not meant to be there," he added.

Launched in January 2018, the CIO UK podcast is a monthly discussion featuring CIOs, commentators and technology executives thrashing out the key issues relevant to the UK's business and technology leaders - as well as the tangential and irreverent musings of guest CIOs.