Urban Zoo Secures Nottingham Forest FC In Latest Client Win

Warrington-based sports technology business Urban Zoo has announced that two-times European Cup-winners Nottingham Forest have joined its roster of leading sports clients.

The club has re-launched its digital offering to supporters using Urban Zoo’s integrated Gamechanger platform, which is gaining rapid market share amongst major sports brands. Everton, Aston Villa and Celtic are amongst a host of clubs now using the technology.
The deal has seen the launch of a new club website and mobile app alongside a new streaming service, called Forest TV, in conjunction with StreamAMG.

“This is another big step forward for us,” said Urban Zoo’s CEO Chris Grannell. “Nottingham Forest have a remarkable pedigree and our Gamechanger platform will deliver on the club’s commitment to improving their digital interactions with fans.”
Fans will benefit from a new “single-sign-on” process across the club’s on-line services, says Grannell. “We will deliver a step-change in performance across all metrics,” he adds.

Commenting on the transition to Gamechanger, David Cook, Forest’s chief commercial officer, said: “Enhancing the digital experience for supporters has been an important part of our commercial strategy over the last few years. The new single-sign-on feature will allow fans to sync their web, ticketing and retail accounts to make it much easier to interact with the club.”

Urban Zoo recently announced that it expects to bring ‘up to ten’ new major sports brands on board at the company this year, which is located at Warrington’s tech hub, The Base, on Dallam Lane. They also confirmed that they had begun discussions with their first European football club.

Tech-Hub Tenants Can Now Talk To Their Building

Business tenants can now talk to their building via ‘chatbots’ in what is believed to be the first initiative of its kind in the UK.

A chatbot is a programme that automates processes on command. People already widely use chatbots in their everyday lives via Siri on iPhones or Alexa on devices such as Amazon Echo.

Now occupiers at technology and engineering hub The Base on Dallam Lane in Warrington can interrogate the building’s bespoke chatbot, nicknamed the BaseBot, to find out information related to their use and occupancy of the building.

Sylvie Morton of Langtree, which manages the building on behalf of owner Warrington & Co, explained: “The BaseBot allows occupants to identify basic information such as whether any mail has been logged for them. This is proving particularly popular in light of the COVID emergency as people can check information remotely if they have to work from home.”

The system could go much further, helping tenants identify their latest energy usage, rent and rates payable – even current broadband speeds on the building’s super-fast fibre network.

“BaseBot is designed to give as much control to our tenants as possible,” added Ms Morton. “We’re adding to its functionality and it’s already proving very popular, with more than 50% of tenants logging in regularly.”

The system has been developed by Base tenant Chatbot Labs. Earlier this year, the firm’s boss Chris Bain predicted a productivity and jobs revolution in the North West from uptake of new chatbots.

A chatbot is a programme that automates processes on command, interrogating the host’s multiple data sources to find the answer to any question. The command can be verbal or written. Mr Bain predicts that soon all businesses and buildings will be using them.

He said: “It’s great that Warrington is leading the country on this innovation. We’re developing BaseBot as we go but any company can adopt the principle. If you run an accountancy practice and want to review a client’s file you can ask the chatbot to find the information for you. Factories have had robots for decades and now offices will soon have digital robots.”

The system is now being developed to allow more sophisticated queries that will allow tenants to get a much more rounded view of their occupancy needs and uses.


Warrington technology hub The Base has revealed a trio of lettings just weeks after announcing that all tenants with lease breaks had renewed their deals.

The 50,000 sq ft Grade A building focuses on attracting digital and engineering-led business and, says Sylvie Morton of Langtree which manages the building for owners Warrington & Co, the deals demonstrate that Warrington’s economy has the resilience to ride out the current storm.
“Our tenants tend to be small, fast-growing and entrepreneurial businesses and are, therefore, a bellwether for economic confidence,” said Ms Morton.
“These deals demonstrate continued belief in Warrington as a place from which to address the UK market.”

The deals will see digital marketing consultancy The Snap Agency, online pharmacy Helphy, and clean energy company Together Energy, join the building’s growing tenant roster.
They will occupy 8.5% of the building’s space, taking occupancy to 73%. There are now 26 businesses employing 253 staff in the Dallam Lane premises.

Stephen Fitzsimons, business growth and investment lead at economic development agency Warrington & Co, said: “Warrington is sustaining its appeal as a technology and engineering hub.
“More pleasing is the fact that we continue to diversify our economic base, which will stand us in good stead when the economy emerges from its current position.”
The Base has a comprehensive building management regime in place to ensure its hygiene and cleanliness during the COVID crisis and beyond.


Every tenant with lease renewals at The Base in Warrington has re-committed to the tech-focused hub.

Five lease renewals, totalling 13% of the building’s grade A office space, have been completed by asset manager Langtree during the continued restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The five tenants employ 62 staff across a range of digital and engineering roles. Stacey Marsh, building manager for Langtree, which operates The Base on behalf of owner Warrington & Co, said the renewals point as much to the tenants’ strengths as to the appeal of The Base as a workspace.
She explained: “Teamwork remains vital to business performance and there’s no-where quite like an office environment for cultivating that. We’ve been operating safely as a COVID-secure building for many months now and tenants are pleased with the adjustments we’ve made.
“Our tenants are all at the cutting edge of their industries and are highly creative and entrepreneurial in outlook. Their cultures are around sharing ideas and collaboration and our workspace was designed specifically to facilitate that.”

The Base was developed as a home for start-up and high-growth businesses in the digital, technology and engineering spaces and provides 50,000 square feet of grade A space. The building is currently more than 70 per cent occupied. The companies renewing their leases are Simple Solutions, Meritec, Swan Solutions, NSAN and Chatbot Labs.

Andy Horrocks, managing director of Swan Solutions, an IT support business, said: “There’s a really hands-on approach from the management team at The Base which makes it a great place to be.”


Two new lettings at Warrington’s thriving technology hub, The Base, has put a spotlight on the growing importance of digital industries to Warrington’s economy.

Leading computer games developer Sumo Digital has chosen the Dallam Lane building for its first north west studio, joined by fast-growing on-line agency Feel Digital.
The moves bring the total number of digital businesses in the building to 15, accounting for 65 per cent of all occupiers and 130 of the building’s 248 staff.

With the two deals amounting to almost 2,000 square feet, this means that digital firms now account for 61 per cent of the occupied space in the building.
“Warrington’s economy is changing rapidly to take advantage of new technologies and The Base has become the town’s digital powerhouse,” said Sylvie Morton of Langtree, who manage the building on behalf of Warrington & Co.
The Base was developed specifically to help attract new digital and engineering businesses, a move considered a success, says Stephen Fitzsimons, responsible for business growth and investment at Warrington & Co.
“These are high-value, high-skill jobs and there’s a real critical mass of such companies here. They’re not just passive users of existing technology. Each one is innovating within their space and investing heavily in product development and skills,” said Mr Fitzsimons.

Commenting on the company’s choice of The Base, Scott Kirkland, studio director at Sumo Digital said:
“We produce some of the best-selling computer games in their genres and required a home that would help us attract the skilled team-members that we need. Warrington’s location between Liverpool and Manchester and easy connectivity made The Base an ideal home for us.”


Chatbots could lead to the creation of 10,000 new jobs in the North West by boosting productivity.

That’s the view of Chris Bain, boss of Chatbot Labs, located at The Base digital hub in Warrington, which is winning contacts to deliver what he described as “game-changing” boosts to company efficiency.

A chatbot is a programme that automates processes on command. We already widely use chatbots in our everyday lives via Siri on iPhones or Alexa on devices such as Amazon Echo.

Mr Bain says the use of chatbot technology in an office environment could be transformational. Chatbots can take verbal or written instructions and interrogate all of an organisation’s software systems and databases to find answers to queries or undertake menial tasks.

“By drawing a link between all the software resources an organisation has, a chatbot can find information or the answers to questions hidden amidst piles of data quickly and efficiently,” he explained.

“If you run a law firm and want to know the latest position on a client’s account you can ask the chatbot to find the information for you whilst you and colleagues get on with something more valuable. Factories have had robots for decades and now offices will soon have digital robots.”

Mr Bain dismisses fears that chatbots could be “job killers”, pointing out that, in manufacturing, automation and technology has ultimately been a job creator. Investment in tech is shown to increase productivity and frees up people to do higher value work.

He added: “The system is in its infancy and we’re one of just a handful of companies leading the way, but it’s moving quickly. Within five years every office will have chatbots, just like many homes now have an Alexa.”

Chatbot Labs is already developing a system for one branch of the NHS to help make the training of over a million employees more efficient by allowing trainers to access and package information on command.

Mr Bain said: “Each chatbot will be unique to the host organisation’s software and data sets.  It learns as it goes along, essentially becoming like a huge FAQ bank.  Every time a new question is asked and answered it’s stored for future replication and even speedier response.

“And because each ‘bot’ is built on a Microsoft platform even the smallest companies can have them developed to suit their needs. Software has a habit of democratising productivity gains and this will be no different.  And as Alexa and Siri have shown us, chatbots’ understanding of natural language is increasingly sophisticated and able to cope with regional accents.

“Looking at how the tech sector has grown in the North West I’d expect up to 10,000 new skilled jobs in the region over the next five years creating chatbots for every conceivable type of business. We intend to be at the forefront of it.”