Heritage Auctions Continues Tech Push

Live auctions are part of the menu for one sports memorabilia company, which is letting collectors be "in the room" while sitting in their pajamas.

Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries began streaming video and audio of its major sales over the internet last year. After a lengthy process to implement and improve the software it developed in-house, the strategy has paid dividends according to Chris Ivy, the company’s Director of Sports Auctions. The company now hopes a new technology improvement will make the experience even better.

Heritage is partnering with a new company to handle the process of letting interested bidders take part no matter where they’re located. Heritage has chosen Inlet Technologies’ Spinnaker Professional Streaming Appliance to handle the streaming feed.

"This software allows our users to bid in real time from anywhere in the world and the response from our clientele has been fantastic," Ivy told Sports Collectors Daily. "It essentially allows the bidders to be in the auction room and bid on material in real time without having to travel to the auction or set up telephone bidding."

The goal is to replicate the excitement of the auction house experience for online bidders, enabling them to see the items, watch and listen to the auctioneer and bid through their computers, live on the Internet. In order to ensure consistent information for all bidders – both online and in-person – Heritage required an ultra-low latency solution so that the stream from the auction house cameras would reach the online customer nearly instantaneously.

Inlet Technologies, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, engineered an ultra-low latency solution for Heritage with the Spinnaker Professional Streaming product at its heart. Additional components of the end-to-end low latency solution include Adobe Flash Media Interactive Servers and a customized Flash player embedded in the Heritage web site. The Inlet Technologies solution consistently delivers sub-two-second latency, an improvement over Heritage’s previous equipment, while also expanding their audience with a Flash installed base.

"Inlet Technologies gives us the ability to extend our audience by offering a solution that just about every potential online auction goer can access with their existing computer using software they likely already have installed," said Brian Carpenter, Director of IT for Heritage Auction Galleries.

Ivy says turning the auctions into a live presentation helps not only the collectors who want to see the process unfold, it helps those hoping to profit from the sale of their items. "This ease of access and bidding methods only helps the consignors as well because it allows more bidders to participate and help to garner the highest prices realized."

“The Heritage Auction low latency streaming application exemplifies how Inlet Technologies is advancing the art of digital video, and how businesses of all kinds are finding imaginative ways to use new media to engage new audiences and generate new revenue streams,” said Inlet CEO Neal Page. “This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the tremendous possibilities of this technology."