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Stadium managers push for high-speed mobile connectivity at venues
Poor quality mobile connectivity at major stadia and arenas is "one of the biggest issues facing the venues industry" according to AEG Ogden Group Director - Arenas Tim Worton.
The former Venue Management Association (Asia & Pacific) President summed up one of the key messages to emerge during a panel session at this week's Sport is Fantastic 'Achieving Bigger Crowds' conference at Sydney's Allphones Arena
Worton added that at major sport and entertainment events "people want to post their experiences, their photos via Facebook and other social media but overloaded wireless technology means they just can't."
Worton was among a panel of global venue leaders addressing how sporting venues are competing with home broadcasts for viewers and crowds, with the push by stadium managers push for high-speed mobile connectivity emerging as a global issue.
In the USA, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell wants every NFL stadium to be equipped with efficient Wi-Fi networks to handle the the tens of thousands of mobile devices and their fans that flood into the venues throughout the season.
Goodell recently told NBC Sports "we believe it is important to get technology into our stadiums.
"We have made the point repeatedly that the experience at home is outstanding, and we have to compete with that in some fashion by making sure that we create the same kind of environment in our stadiums and create the same kind of technology."
The service delivered by cellular networks to fans at recent NFL games has been described as
"awfully inept" to fans, with Goodell adding "the initiative is to get Wi-Fi in all our stadiums for mobile devices. We want to make sure that our fans, when they come into our stadiums, don't have to shut down.
"When you come to our stadium we want to make it a great experience."
Speaking at the conference this morning, Sporting Kansas City Chief Information Officer Asim Pasha stated "we are getting to a point where fans will not turn up if no connectivity", adding "every stadium must have a network."
Addressing the issue in a feature on 'Wireless Venues' in the March/April 2012 issue of Australasian Leisure Management, Brett Liddle, General Manager - Venue & IP Surveillance Solutions at Victorian-based services provider Southern Cross Computer Systems, wrote "many traditional Wi-Fi vendors are struggling to meet the needs of high density environments as their technology approach has been based on occasional, low density wireless usage, as opposed to the high densities being experienced today.
"There are two significant flaws to this traditional approach. Firstly, the technology does not control the behaviour of wireless clients (such as when the clients can transmit or receive data, and when they hand over between access points). As such, access points cannot support high client densities, because as more users are added to an access point, data throughput drops dramatically as users try to communicate simultaneously and waste bandwidth with multiple collisions and retries (like a classroom where all students are allowed to talk at once).
"The second is that wireless coverage is obtained via a network of access points with overlapping coverage operating on alternating channels. Two access points operating on the same channel cannot be allowed to 'see' each other over the air, as this causes a problem known as 'co-channel interference', where the signals from two access points on the same channel interfere with each other.
"With limited client capacity per access point, the only way that the vendors can provide sufficient capacity in a high density environment is to increase the number of access points and decrease access point power to avoid co-channel interference, resulting in less coverage. The result of this vicious circle is increased costs from the need for additional access points, plus the extensive costs associated with channel planning. "
Among business solutions for the problem, Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi, is a high density Wi-Fi solution for venues offering a turn-key combination of Cisco's leading wireless technologies, specialised software and professional services optimized for stadiums and arenas where large crowds are gathered.
Cisco delivered what it described as "digital makeover" for Auckland's Eden Park during the 2011 Rugby World Cup - pictured.
For more information on Sport is Fantastic go to www.sportisfantastic.com
17th June 2011 - VENUE FOCUSED INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
10th August 2010 - INNOVATIVE EDEN PARK PAVILION LAUNCHED
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