To develop an in-house asset management solution to track technical equipment, costumes, props and consumables within our Entertainments and Live Events business, using customised open-source software. Develop a system which is user-friendly, intuitive and embodies the values of our business.
Valcato Entertainment is our flagship Live Events brand, and produces touring shows for holiday resorts, hotels and corporate events across the UK. As well as live entertainment, the division also manages an extensive AV operation, providing sound, lighting, video and special effects equipment for a range of events from conferences and weddings to festivals and theatre shows.
As the Entertainment division grew, it quickly became apparent that a system was required to track technical equipment such as cameras, lighting and sound equipment, as well as costumes, props and accessories, as many of these assets regularly spent the season ‘on the road’ touring with production shows both in-house and third party.
It was decided at an early stage that as a leading technology company with an in-house hosting division, that the solution should be an in-house development, and entirely self-hosted. Valcato Internet were to provide hosting services and server management support, and would also responsible for the installation, set up and customisation of the software while Valcato AV would design branding and provide physical support in producing asset tags and other elements.
Since the asset tags and related software would be used by various members of staff across the Entertainments team, one key requirement was to make the software user-friendly, welcoming and simple to understand and use. This ‘friendly’ experience would not, however, compromise the goals of providing powerful tracking functionality as well as security and safety functions such as maintenance and PAT testing reminders and audit tracking.
Our team reviewed several software packages and decided on an open-source script called ‘Snipe-It’. The software contained all of our essential functionality, and was completely open-source and therefore able to be modified to fit our specific purposes. The modified software is installed on a Linux server, hosted by Valcato Internet at our Milton Keynes facility.
Branding is important to us here at Valcato, everything we do must fit our brand values – put simply a mix of serious performance, friendly and welcoming, with a sprinkling of fun! We decided to name our new system “Intelligent Asset Management” – or “iAM” for short; we’re a friendly bunch here at Valcato, and we loved the idea of all of our company assets wearing a badge saying “I am” with a barcode link to the asset details page. True to this idea, we stylised “i Am” in a speech bubble, and included it on all of our asset tags and costume labels, along with a QR code linking directly to the asset details page.
We also customised some of the data fields for our asset records to track additional details such as PAT testing expiry dates for electrical equipment, maintenance records for tech gear, and a refurb tracker for costumes and props. All of these fields are linked to the asset type meaning that they only show up when required – for example when adding a new costume you aren’t asked to enter the PAT testing date! Additional features of the original Snipe-It software were also included such as the ‘check out’ feature which allows kit and costumes to be checked out to individual performers or locations, which then provides a handy on-demand report of where each asset is at any one time – perfect for that all important ‘end of season’ maintenance window.
We believe we’ve created something pretty special with iAm, the powerful, friendly and simple way to get to know our assets and equipment. The next time you hire equipment from Valcato AV, or book one of our world class productions, look for the label, and be sure to say hi!