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SBD Global/March 3, 2014/Franchises

Barça New Technologies Dir Explains Tech's Growing Influence At Mobile World Congress

FC Barcelona was represented by New Technologies Dir Didac Lee at last week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where "the club's latest advances in how it interacts with its members were explained," according to Javier Giraldo of SPORT. Lee "described the role technology is playing in how Barcelona interacts with both longtime members and with new fans in every corner of the world." Barcelona became the world's first sports club with more than 100 million followers on social media in February. The following is an excerpt from the Q&A:

Q: How is Barcelona served by being present at the Mobile World Congress?
Didac Lee: Being a leader in the technological sector can seem like a very abstract idea, but it allows us to do two things: Bring Barcelona to all the corners of the world, but also to bring us closer to our members in Barcelona and improve these members' communication with the club.

Q: Why can't members use the Internet to vote on the upcoming Camp Nou referendum?
Lee: It is a decision that is not just technological, it is also made at the club level. The technology allows it, but it has to be understood that this has a very high cost. The important thing is that, regardless of the decision that is made, the club is technologically prepared to face any challenge.

Q: A recurring complaint from Barcelona members has to do with the the 3G connection and WiFi at Camp Nou during games. What is the problem?
Lee: When there is a high concentration of cell phones, the 3G collapses. We are working on two lines, in which the operators are increasing capacity and also on a "smart stadium" project, which will consist of a consistently strong WiFi network.

Q: What can Barcelona members expect next in terms of technology?
Lee: Fifty percent of tickets are now sold using the Internet, and very soon, tickets will be available to purchase on mobile phones. The Seient Lliure app that we launched just over three weeks ago already has 20,000 downloads. And 30 percent of the requests filed to Barcelona's Supporter Services Office (OAB) are made online. A lot of communication will soon be done using mobile devices. We have already had 10 million downloads of our apps, which in one way or another, whether they are informative or for entertainment, have to do with the club. The Internet is always here, but mobile always goes with you. It is difficult to predict the future, but you look back four years and the evolution is spectacular, so I believe that in a matter of three or four years, almost the whole word will function through mobile devices (SPORT, 3/2).
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