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Race documentation made easy and secure 

The facts

The customer
Thoroughbred Racing SA, Australia
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Philips partner
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Pioneering mobile cloud solution for horse racing industry

Horse racing is an integral part of Australian social and economic landscape, and is synonymous with glamour, fashion, punting and, unbeknownst to many, adhering to the laws set by the Australian Racing Board. Craig Deakin is one of those key officials, holding the position of a Stipendiary Steward, in Thoroughbred Racing South Australia. He is tasked with overseeing race meeting, addressing safety issues of the jockeys, horses and attendees, conducting stable and race track inspections, carrying out investigations on drug testing and appeals, and conducting inquiries on race days.

Australian racing industry

The racing industry in Australia contributes to over $6.2 billion annually to the economy. Thoroughbred horse racing is the third most attended sporting event in Australia after football and rugby leagues.  Public interest in racing has been growing with more people attending races during racing carnivals. One of the biggest racing events is the Melbourne Cup that claims to divide the nation and pulls in record number of crowd every year.

Thoroughbred Racing SA is the controlling body for horse racing in South Australia which represents and promotes the state’s thoroughbred racing industry, overseeing 25 clubs in the state. They hold race meetings and consultations with industry officials such as owners, breeders, jockeys among others to monitor the Australian Rules of Racing are adhered to.

We have multi-users in the office and even though we are all from different ages, SpeechLive has been very simple to use.

Craig Deakin
Stipendiary Steward, Thoroughbred Racing SA

It’s all about the rules of racing

Craig Deakin has been working in this field for more than 30 years as a Steward. Since his work is not associated with the glamour quotient of the racing industry, not many people are aware that majority of the work requirements is to maintain the legal protocols. Craig explained, “Part of the racing industry is the law. We deal with law every day of the week. All the proceedings that we do can’t be half done work as it has to be done in accordance with the legal processes.”  

When prompted to detail what a typical day looks like for him, Craig elaborated that as a Stipendiary Steward his role is to ensure that the rules of racing are administered and followed throughout the race day. Knowing and enforcing the rules is a mammoth task as the Stewards have to refer to the Australian Rules of Racing as well as the Local Rules for Racing, mandated for South Australia. On a race day Craig arrives early to go through the race notes and liaise with other race stewards to discuss any issues related to the race day for team briefing. He will also speak to other officers, trainers, jockeys and representatives and refer to race reports to address any problems related to the race participants. Craig needs to ensure that all the records are updated and there are no race integrity concerns, for both the horses and jockeys, to proceed with the race or to make a call on disqualification.  When the race is on-going he will either be watching the race live from the side of the field or the stewards room to ensure that no offence takes place. 

Post-race, if there’s any enquiry related to an offence then the stewards and the convicted parties sit together to give them an opportunity to present their statements and evidences. Craig and his team ask relevant questions and based on the findings take appropriate course of action - be it a fine, suspension, escalating to the head office or to close the case. Their decision then can be appealed against by the party at fault. Therefore, it is essential for Craig and his team to ensure that every detail during the entire course of the race day is recorded. 

“We normally record a report of the day’s events that we give it back to the office. The report of the race meetings details all the event that occur, which obviously comes under the rules of racing. We dictate all the occurrences so at the end of the day we take all the dictations and then use those to type into a report in our words.”, Craig explains. He mentioned that during instances of appeal their dictations get transcribed, or typed out, as evidence. “Depending on the role in the industry someone might get fined, disqualified or suspended, and that’s when we conduct an enquiry. For that we need the transcripts so when the day of the appeal comes and someone provides a different account on what happened, we can look back at the transcribed records and read those parts as evidence.”, he further added.

Switching to cloud solution

For stewards, their work responsibility is quite interview-recording heavy. Previously the digital recording and document creation system Thoroughbred Racing SA used was limited to the mainframe and recordings were inaccessible. Craig said, “On our earlier system, once you uploaded the file onto the mainframe computer you couldn’t access that anymore.” He also added, “If something went wrong with the system, there was always a risk of losing the entire file.” 

Chris Flatau from Copia, Philips partner based in South Australia, then suggested SpeechLive to him because it ticked off all Craig’s dictation and storage requirements. SpeechLive is a cloud-based dictation solution that can also be used in any smartphone. Craig now uses smartphone to record all his dictations and findings on a race day and uses it to conduct interview with the jockeys as well. After switching to SpeechLive he said, “As an individual user, access to the files is much easier as those are on the cloud. You can not only listen to the recordings but change it, if necessary.” 

The decision to opt for SpeechLive was unanimous and did not involve any hassle with any of the users. At Thoroughbred Racing SA there are seven stewards with recording access and two typists. When it came to implementation of SpeechLive Craig mentioned, “It’s very user-friendly and we got the hang of it on the first go. We have multi-users in the office and even though we are all from different ages, SpeechLive has been very simple to use. Everything seems to be clear, precise and there’s no loss of files.”  

A better workflow management

Craig and his team at Thoroughbred Racing SA are the industry pioneer to adopt a cloud software solution for dictating purpose.  More than anything they are benefiting from the efficiency overhaul that SpeechLive offers. Craig said, “It’s made our work more efficient. We could be anywhere out on the track, in the meeting rooms or on the road dictating on our phones, and the person back in the office is getting the information required. It’s a great process because that’s what we required.”  

When Craig was prompted to share the feedback from the other stewards and typists at Thoroughbred Racing SA he mentioned, “I just spoke to them this morning and they don’t have any problems with it. Everything is functioning the way it should be.”

Even though Craig is currently using SpeechLive for dictating purpose only he expressed his interest in the speech-to-text speech recognition function as well. He enthused, “We are only using the SpeechLive part at this stage, but maybe along the way we will see how we go with speech recognition.” He envisions his other racing counterparts using this software solution because of its simplicity and a better workflow management. Craig concluded by saying, “It’s a very suitable application, that’s the best way I can put it.”

More satisfied customers

“Lockdown prompted the change, but the versatility offered by SpeechLive is something we didn’t know we were missing.“

Adrian Barker, IT Manager, Ison Harrison Solicitors, UK

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“I think it's actually a positive gain in effectiveness. For instance, it used to take me an hour and a half to type a 4-page formal notice, but now it's done in 5 minutes.“

Tanguy Cara, Lawyer, Cannes, France

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“In terms of security, the software is hosted on-premise and so are the dictations. Patient privacy is a big priority for us and it’s important that we keep their data safe.“

Tammy Bands, IT Manager of Orthopaedics SA

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“The program is extremely easy to use and user-friendly. I honestly wouldn’t change anything. The upload process and labeling are as easy as it gets.“

Steve Dillard, Corporal, Gillette Police Department, Wyoming, USA

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