Cisco launched the company’s new product today, billed as “Connected Stadium,” that allows users the ability for more interactive and personalized experiences through Wi-Fi enabled devices.
The new product caters to crowded spaces with high-density such as arenas and stadiums to provide thousands of fans, back office staff and press a stronger network and gives venue owners innovative ways to increase revenue.
Sporting Kansas City, a member of Major League Soccer, was one of the first teams to launch the new technology at the franchise’s Livestrong Sporting Park stadium on June 9. Team officials reported that upwards of 1,900 fans used the Wi-Fi at the same time and approximately 5,000 used Wi-Fi during the game.
“We want to offer our fans the highest quality connectivity to their mobile devices while attending our games, while also offering them compelling services that enrich their overall experience,” said Robb Heineman, president and co-owner of Sporting Kansas City. “By deploying the new connected stadium Wi-Fi solution we were able to eliminate congestion on 3G/4G networks, allowing us to provide innovative services and unique experiences to our fans and ultimately improve ticket sales.”
The club plans to develop more social gaming apps, and currently has one which allows a quiz for fans that gives redeemable rewards points at concession and merchandising booths.
The sports team also utilizes 45 Motorola Mobility Holdings (MMI) Zoom tablets with 17 carried by stadium staff and 28 available at five kiosks, to allow fans to become members of the Sporting KC’s fan club.
Future plans this fall at Sporting KC include a game that allows fans to interact with players and in-seat ordering of food, drinks and souvenirs. The club also plans to expand the features of Apple (AAPL) iPads, which are standard inside suites at Livestrong Sporting Park, to include control over such suite services as televisions, lighting and the volume of the public-address system.
Other uses of the technology include the ability for fans to watch video highlights, view stadium information and allows operators and venue owners the use of advertising on the network for additional revenue.
Core to the solution is Cisco’s first purpose-built access point, the Aironet 3500p, specifically designed to meet the performance and aesthetic needs of high-density environments. Each venue is different, and Cisco said that each system of access points will need to be tailored depending on the size and structure of the venue. Cisco retails each access point at $1,500 and said that a stadium which seats 50,000 fans would need around 350 access points for full coverage.
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