Connectivity in sports: How are connectivity and bandwidth creating the venues of the future?

Sports and data are closely intertwined – and that’s especially true for spectators. So how can data, analytics, IoT and connectivity create better experiences fans? In this episode, we’re taking a look at how major sports venues and events are using technology to create the perfect experience for their customers.

It's something that’s been a recurring goal for clients of HPE Aruba Networking over the last few years. Simon Wilson is their Chief Technology Officer for the UK, and helps clients bring exceptional connected experiences. He explains that, in part, the demand has been driven by our own improved connectivity: In particular, smartphones are now used for everything from payments to ticketing. And thousands of devices means there’s a demand for rock-solid Wi-Fi and private 5G networks.

And that’s particularly important over large, outdoors sporting arenas where connectivity can be naturally spotty. Michael Cole is the Chief Technology Officer for the European Tour Group and Ryder Cup Europe. Not content with being responsible for laying tens of kilometers of cabling and fiber optic lines for golf’s marquee events, he’s been developing the concept of an Intelligent Course – a vast network of connected sensors and IoT devices which allow central control over every aspect of the event, from assessing queue length to measuring wind speed to account for wayward golf balls and moving spectators out of the way. 

Daniel Brusilovsky is on a similar mission. He’s the vice president of technology for the Golden State Warriors and Chase Center in San Fransisco. Their campus contains over 700 Wi-Fi access points, connecting upwards of 18,000 devices at key points. These devices not only provide seamless access, they allow the Chase Center to use intelligence and insight to perfect the flow of people through their site. Insight and analytics from the data they collect is being used for everything from stocking concession stands to streaming fans’ phones right onto the largest score screen in North America.

And that idea of fan experience is what really excites Leslie Shannon. She’s Nokia's head of trend and innovation scouting, and is impressed by some of the connected fan experiences that sports teams are trying out, from 3D cameras positioned on top of the goal posts, to apps using Augmented Reality to overlay a player’s stats and map their previous performance whilst they are playing.
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