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Telstra looks to make Marvel Stadium one of the world’s most connected sporting venues
With the AFL having announced the extension of its agreement with broadcast partners Foxtel and Telstra until 2024, the telecommunications giant has detailed its role in changes at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.
Under the extended agreement, AFL-owned Marvel Stadium will become a testing ground for Telstra 5G innovation. Telstra’s role as Marvel Stadium’s official technology and innovation partner over the next four years aims to ensuring the revamped venue offers supporters the best digital experience of any stadium or entertainment venue in the country.
Telstra’s technology and connectivity that will be deployed at Marvel Stadium over the next few years including fixed and 4G/5G networks upgrades, Artificial Intelligence, and mixed reality and edge computing.
Telstra Senior Specialist Writer, Luke Hopewell advised at the end of last week “as the sport and the way fans consume it rapidly changes and evolves, we want to make sure the in-person experience is just as advanced and modern.
Advising that mobile “phones could become the portal to all kinds of information in the stadium of the future. Opening an app could give you a world of new information about your favourite players.
“In fact, we already have great tech on the field tracking the performance of the players in the form of our Telstra Tracker.
"The Telstra Tracker combines technology and sport to bring fans closer to the game with live player insights. It tracks including player speed, intensity and ground coverage.
“For example, did you know that if you combine the running efforts of all players across the regular AFL season in 2019, the players would have travelled a combined total of 111,628 kilometres
“Getting access to this sort of data in real time could be a possibility for the future of footy and further enhancing the sporting experience for hardcore fans.”
Hopewell noted “being at the stadium means you can get be closer to your favourite teams. But from your seat, you may miss some of the action on the field because of your distance or elevation. With faster networking in stadiums, you may not ever miss a single detail ever again.
“If future sporting and entertainment stadiums have fast 5G or Wi-Fi networks capable of transmitting high-res video to thousands of many devices at once, this means you can view the game - and watch all the highlights - at different angles when you’re on the stadium seat, so you can catch all the action.
“And with cameras becoming smaller and smaller, we may see players wearing them for a first-person view of the game, or even have one built into the ball, umpire, or goal post”
Explaining the benefits for in-stadium purchases, Hopewell added “in the future, using an app or AR, we may be able to see all the food and drink vendors around the stadium, with distance indicators showing the closest choice, with the quickest lines, and the route to get there.
“From there you may be able to place a pick-up order from your seat to help beat the queue. Alternatively, you may even be able to get food delivered directly to your seat - first with people and then maybe with robots.
AI on the field
Explaining this innovation, Hopewell wrote “with a range of sensors, 4K cameras and other measurement equipment on the field, umpires may get more help than ever thanks to faster data processing and edge computing.
“Edge computing sees data and computational activities normally processed at a distance in the cloud moved “closer” to where you need it. That way your data is processed quickly and arrives back faster. That means you can have thinner, lighter and more connected devices do more than ever.”
Hopewell also suggests that “umpires of the future could take advantage of the amount of data available to create eyes in the back of their heads. Umpires could use their virtual duplicate - which is collating data from all over the ground - to have absolute certainty on a call, making the game faster and fairer for everyone.”
Commenting on how Augmented Reality (AR) “is an incredible way to mix virtual experiences into the real world”, Hopewell continues “through our partnership with the AFL we’ve enhanced what we hope is the first of many currently static features of the app using AR.
“In the stadium of the future, you may be able to open the official sport or stadium app, hold it up in front of you and see the names and stats of players running around the field in real time.
“This could be an exciting new frontier for the way we bring in-depth sporting content to Aussies. It builds on a long and proud history of blending sport and technology together to bring the game, and all the peripheral aspects of it, to fans in new and better ways.”
Currently, Telstra has 4G and 5G in a number of venues, including at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
With statistics around its 5G upgrade at the MCG recording how essential strong connectivity is when an event is on, Hopewell concludes “(with) crowds of up to 100,000 pack the MCG during big events … in 2018 alone we saw a massive 3.8 terabytes of data sent over our mobile network from the MCG alone. That’s up 22% from 2017, demonstrating that people are more and more connected when they’re at the match.
“To put it in perspective, all that data is equivalent to 1200 hours of HD video content or 27 billion SMS messages.
“That’s why one of the most important upgrades we’ll be working on at Marvel Stadium is a 5G upgrade to support potential future applications to truly evolve the stadium experience. From booking a seat to parking to engaging with the game, attendees will be soon be able to experience a new stadium experience before, during, and after they attend the game.”
Luke Hopewell, is a Senior Specialist Writer at Telstra.
Images show the AFL's plans for the redevelopment of Melbourne's Marvel Stadium.
24th December 2020 - AFL announces broadcast agreement extensions with Foxtel and Telstra
20th November 2020 - Designs revealed for $225 million upgrade of Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium
18th May 2020 - AFL to proceed with upgrade plan for Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium
26th February 2020 - Marvel Stadium delivers hospitality upgrades ahead of 2020 AFL season
14th February 2020 - AFL and Ticketmaster move to scrap ticket booking fees at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium
4th November 2019 - AFL announces new management arrangements for Marvel Stadium
24th September 2019 - MCG to offer Australian first with 5G deployment at 2019 AFL Grand Final
8th September 2019 - Digital transformation sees the Melbourne Cricket Ground cut carbon emissions by 17%
4th August 2019 - Court hears that NRL off season incidents have ‘ruined’ Telstra’s brand
25th July 2019 - Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium to host UFC 243
28th June 2019 - Marvel Stadium roof to remain closed for AFL games
24th March 2016 - MCG offers world-class connectivity to AFL fans
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