The cost of doing good business is now including the cost of investing in and providing Wi-Fi to customers. It’s probably an easily overlooked item; but the convenience it provides creates a goodwill vibe that is hard to put a price tag upon.
A few Wi-Fi rookies this season include the NFL’s +Cincinnati Bengals and the +Baltimore Ravens. Of the remaining NFL teams, three three stadiums (of 31) have yet to jump on the bandwidth wagon. Traveling North, to the Canadian Football League (CFL), the +Edmonton Eskimos will also debut Wi-Fi services. And on the university scene +UMass, +Wisconsin and +Kansas State will be rockin’ the Wi-Fi waves in their campus venues.
Scouting reports on those teams’ WiFi gameplan reveal that they hope to provide real-time interaction with fans via social media networks. Also, downloadable team apps can deliver anything from food orders to the opportunity to request music, join on-field/in-seat contests, check your fantasy sports scores, tell you how long the lines are for the bathrooms and where you parked your car. In ‘big time’ stadiums there may be the option to watch high-definition replays, mere seconds after the play; including those from multiple camera angles and in slow motion or regular time. And fans may quickly buy tickets, exchange tickets, buy parking passes or transfer parking passes with these connections available at the stadium.
Two other, lesser touted, areas that stadium Wi-Fi will effect are sports gambling and sports reporters. Bookies are going tech-savvy in order to work their action. But, beware of this nefarious activity; bookmaking can be illegal. The legality of different types of gambling is determined by state government so do your research before betting.
On the other hand, for those who are working for their pay, sports reporters will benefit from the ability to have reliable access in the press box. Writers will be able to research other story related information (stuff not provided by the home team’s media staff) and upload their game recaps, videos and social reports to their parent news entity.
“This really is the next generation of stadiums,” said +Scott Capstack, senior project designer at +HNTB, the architecture firm that designed Levi’s Stadium1. “(The 49ers) want this to be the most connected stadium in the world.” And with its Wi-Fi infrastructure designed to be 30 times faster than any other stadium, it surely will connect its 70,000 fans.
“What we’re building is the physical manifestation of Silicon Valley,” said 49ers President +Paraag Marathe1. And to work on the technological structure for Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers brought in approximately 30 engineers and developers from places like Brocade, Google, Yahoo! and Facebook1.
This seemingly easy-to-provide service is actually quite complicated to set up properly. To begin with, the amount of concrete and steel used in stadium construction is problematic because Wi-Fi signals cannot penetrate the dense structures. To address the connectivity issue, venues not only need many antennas, but also must have them evenly distributed. That’s easy to do in concourses and corridors, but becomes tougher in the stands where antennas would obstruct sightlines. In addition, the heavy congestion of people, along with variable weather, further complicates connectivity.
So whether you are using Wi-Fi to work away from your office or cheer on your favorite sports team, Wi-Fi changes the way we interact with work and play. The near instant promise of information at our fingertips is quite a trophy.Click here for the second half of this story with coverage on how to stay safe while using your free Wi-Fi.
1 Quotes taken from ThePostGame.com: thepostgame.com/blog/futuresport/201405/san-francisco-49ers-levis-stadium-santa-clara-football-nfl-green-technology