Building the Smart Cities of tomorrow is no small feat. The telecoms needs to drive innovation across as many industries as possible for maximum impact-from infrastructure to health and even sports entertainment.
Gone are the days where sports fans look forward to disconnecting from the Internet when watching the NFL. In today's digital age, attending the game is about more than just enjoying the people and food. Sports facilities are rebooting the viewer experience and making it a truly immersive one for fans-by connecting them wirelessly to the ultimate digital experience. Sports fans in Atlanta can now enjoy precisely this, with new innovative technology powering an awe-inspiring arena.
Fans can watch replays, and close-up shots of their favorite players on the world's largest Halo LED video scoreboard while accessing uninterrupted Internet connectivity during the most thrilling game moments with a state-of-the-art fiber-optic network. The stadium is a shining example of telecom innovation at its best.
What made this possible? Here's a peek into the mind-blowing technology powering the stadium.
An Unprecedented, Connected Digital Experience
The challenge was to achieve new levels of convenience, connectivity, and environmental sustainability. Using advanced technology, the $1.5 billion 'wonderplex' was designed to elevate the digital experience.
The real secret to the stadium's magic lies in its fabric of advanced networking technologies that help create a seamless, personalized audience experience. These include:
- Passive optical networks (PON) and advanced fiber-optic networks: The stadium's fiber networks provide connectivity for fast, reliable Wi-Fi, video displays, and digital signage, all while consuming less power than before. To accommodate 75,000 people, the network uses more than 1,800 wireless access points and more than 4,000 miles of fiber. Compared to older copper networks, the new approach significantly reduces the amount of power and cooling required for technology throughout the stadium, enhancing the sustainability of the building.
- Fixed and mobile convergence (FMN): The ultimate digital experience wouldn't be possible without a flawless Internet connection. The designers recognized the need to offer nearly 2,000 Wi-Fi access points, provide more than 282,000 square feet of outdoor coverage, allowing 75,000 spectators to share in the experience online simultaneously. 4G and 5G network capacity has also been built into the fiber-optic networks-with the four major U.S. carriers signing on-giving fans the option of using their cellular service with plenty of connectivity.
- Centralized data center: This stadium is the first of its kind to feature a network operations center where every system is converged to ensure it remains up and running. The unified IT service management (ITSM) tool offers enhanced visibility, simplified support, reduced service downtime, improved triage capabilities, and centralized network-based FM alerts. A combination of advanced backhaul technology ensures the stadium delivers unprecedented network performance for staff and fans alike.
- Event and ticketing apps: Paper tickets are history, with fans now able to view, transfer, or sell their tickets within the Falcons app. They can also swipe into the stadium using an RFID lanyard, ensuring the entire process is as simple and seamless as possible. The three stadium apps use AI-enhanced automation to personalize fan alerts and notification and push exclusive content such as videos, photos, and player statistics. People can also book a parking spot, find transit options, get directions around the stadium, and even learn about stadium events and policies through a 'mobile concierge' or chatbot.
Ensuring No Moment is Missed
At the cutting-edge of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, the stadium features more than 2,000 IPT video displays throughout the building-so fans don't have to worry about missing a single part of the game. The IoT network also powers a security camera system and audio through a converged network of powered speakers that can target specific areas.
This stadium is just one example of how technology can not only enhance the consumer experience during an event, but also prolong the engagement to include pre- and post-event activities. Telecoms can use technology to add a layer of value helps increase engagement and overall enjoyment, and not just in sports.
Bottom line: The stadium demonstrates some of the many ways that telecoms can drive change as we continue to develop smart cities. Whether it's the ability to connect thousands of people wirelessly without failure or the design of a sustainable building that supports nearly 100,000 people, these technologies can be implemented around the world to push our communities towards an enhanced, digital future.