Modernisation, Handheld Integration & Web Services at CentreSoft


CentreSoft is the UK's leading multi-format specialist distributor of video games.

Since 1983, we've bridged the gap between UK retailers and global publishers by offering the broadest publisher product mix and a consolidated retail supply solution.

With over 25 Years Industry experience and 250 dedicated employees, our bespoke and flexible solutions support publisher and retailer brands using the latest technology, processes and systems.

CentreSoft were initially looking to install handheld devices in their warehouse to increase efficiency and speed of locating products. Their applications run on an IBM Power i, and having RPG skills initially considered using Terminal Emulation on the handheld devices.

CentreSoft realised they could improve the service offered to their Trading Partners by installing browser based services and other enhancements to their applications. Most options considered involved either a major investment or the development of new skills not available in-house.

It was at this point that CentreSoft turned to Spacetec and the IceBreak and IceCap products. IceBreak would allow CentreSoft to build browser based applications on their IBM Power i server platform, using their existing development resources without change to the underlying RPG software.

CentreSoft believed that IceBreak and IceCap provided the greatest flexibility for development and was able to deliver in a shorter timescale than any of the other solutions considered. After a demonstration of the products Adrian Bush, IT Manager, said "I believe IceBreak and IceCap will provide more facilities than originally expected and should require minimal re-training of my programmers allowing us to maximise our existing investment.

"This option will not only enhance the Internal Warehousing application, but provide a growth path for future web based applications to benefit our Trading Partners and further enhance our offering."

CentreSoft were keen to allocate resources for a 'proof of concept' evaluation with handheld devices, and to use IceBreak and IceCap to produce a working example of their Stock Putaway application on the devices.

Patrick Race MD of Spacetec said "IceBreak and IceCap gives more flexibility than other products in the same cost bracket and is far more cost effective than the larger well known Power i development tools. This together with the ability to quickly develop applications with minimal training make IceBreak and IceCap very competitive products."

Developing user friendly applications that can interact with current applications means that changes can be implemented immediately without compromising the functionality of the systems.

Working with Spacetec, a CentreSoft programmer produced a working warehouse application running on a handheld device within one working day. IceCap was utilised to call up the information from their existing application on the IBM Power i and then IceBreak was used to display it on the handheld device.

Adrian Bush said, "I was impressed that we were able to create a working wireless application running in a browser on a handheld device within a day without needing to change any of the legacy code. This now allows me to demonstrate a working solution to a wider audience within the business and should act as a catalyst for the development of further applications."

CentreSoft are now planning to develop further applications within the Warehouse to improve efficiency to drive down operational costs. They are also looking to utilise IceBreak and IceCap to develop Web Service applications to build upon their existing integration with Trading Partners.

Patrick Race said "CentreSoft are using IceBreak and IceCap to their full advantage, applications can be developed as and when needed and if requirements change, the applications can be easily and quickly modified to implement these changes. For many of our customers once they have seen a demonstration of Ice- Break and IceCap they have immediately thought of areas where it could benefit them."