Today is a big day in sports technology thanks to the new StadiumVision Mobile by Cisco. For the first time, sports and entertainment venues now have the ability to overcome bandwidth issues and deliver Live video to fans’ mobile devices. StadiumVision is transforming the fan experience by keeping fans connected at the center of attention. This proprietary tech is another layer in the Cisco Internet of Everything.
Cisco states, “10 billion mobile devices are projected to be in use by 2016, and 71 percent of mobile data traffic is expected to be video by that time as well.” Over 100 venues worldwide use Cisco’s customized solutions.
Sports Techie had a conference call today with David Holland, SVP GM of Cisco Sports & Entertainment, and Mike Caponigro, Global Solutions Marketing Lead, Cisco Sports & Entertainment. I felt honored to be included with this historical announcement as a blogger. Thanks to David and Mike for the opportunity to discuss Cisco sports tech.
David Holland Blog: http://blogs.cisco.com/news/cisco-sports-entertainment-its-all-about-the-experience-getting-fans-off-the-couch-and-to-live-sports-entertainment-events-infographic/.
David Holland, general manager and senior vice president, Cisco Sports & Entertainment Solutions Group
“The introduction of Cisco StadiumVision Mobile marks a significant milestone for Cisco and the Sports and Entertainment industry. As prominent teams and customers around the world, such as the Brooklyn Nets, Real Madrid and Sporting Kansas City, begin to use this solution, fans will be able to use their mobile devices to transport themselves to the center of the action – no matter where they are in the venue. We are empowering our customers to meet the demands of a new generation of fans with media-rich, personalized experiences that translate into significant business opportunities.”
Bringing this solution to market required not only significant research and development investment from Cisco, but the expertise of organizations like Sporting Innovations, who tested, refined and advanced the solution over the past year. The dedication and focus of the Cisco Sports & Entertainment Solutions Group, along with collaboration from our customers over the last 18 months, have made StadiumVision Mobile an exciting reality.”
Connected Stadium Wi-Fi and StadiumVision Mobile
High-density Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi network streams seamless, high-quality video and data feeds to smartphones and tablets with minimal delay. I asked David how long the delay is. He replied, “No more than one second.” To be able to promise mobile devices connectivity to thousands for the first time over Wi-Fi is a big deal for venues, teams, sponsors, fans and sponsors. Congratulations to Cisco for making it so.
StadiumVision Mobile is the industry’s first proven solution to use multicast over Wi-Fi. Multicast emanates from one source broadcast over an optimized network using intelligent fulfillment. Traditional unicast solutions operated where one video channel is replicated multiple times across the network to each device. By implementing multicast, the opportunity for scalability increases with more channels and less stress on the network.
This venue technology upgrade by Cisco was a step-by-step process. The initial network is at the core, video was added on top of that, and now this next layer of StadiumVision-generated content via a multicast environment produces a media rich, personalized experience.
The new Cisco connectivity chain consists of connected stadiums, HD displays, and the sharing of experiences on social media while connected to stadium Wi-Fi. The Cisco focus of having a fan at the center of attention is a win for fans and sponsors. Sponsors want to be where the fans are and Cisco just made that happen with StadiumVision.
The StadiumVision replay channel, alternative view channel, and the data (stats) channel, are in-venue content that allows a fan to have more robust and hands on experiences like they expect over television. I like these Cisco tech tools and wondered if HD displays will be installed into venue seats to take advantage of having multiple channel options, or are fans’ personal second screen devices enough while sitting down in a venue seat?
The quality of the Live experience will most likely dictate whether this in-venue upgrade happens, they said, but for now, fans want the best from home at Live events. According to a Cisco Internet Business Group Study (IBSG), 57% of fans prefer at home while 63% of fans say atmosphere is most important.
CRM and Wi-Fi Trends
To help improve the atmosphere for the fans in the stadium, CRM and business analytics programs are discovering new ways to understand how each fan’s unique game experience was. I asked them about the ability to measure bio-metrics, and the use of technology as a competitive edge in the market for free-agents and fan development. This was a subject they both agreed was a work in progress and has exciting potential for the future.
The Sportsbiz trend towards Free Wi-Fi is a bonus for right now but is this a reality for fans to expect long-term at every venue or will a pay model that generates revenue begin to surface such as is in the hotel industry? “The venue subscription model is one we will see over time, for now teams and venues just want to have consistency for their carriers, fans and sponsors,” said David.
According to a Cisco IBSG, 73% of fans bring mobile devices to the games. What do fans expect at live events? Mike said, “50% want to share a Facebook check-in.” Social media sharing has become a fundamental requirement for fans. As you can see in the Cisco Infographic picture, 44% of fans desire to access social media.
Mike discussed Twitter trends and made a good point about how fans want to share sports related moments and their importance to many of the all-time tweets. I wondered whether there was any bandwidth concern with YouTube. No problem was the general response.
The Cisco combination of video, mobile, and social apps, feels like a social media sports ticket to success for their company, partners and fans. “A single center experience,” according to Mike, is what it’s all about.
Moment of Exclusivity
My final question for the two was about ‘Moment of Exclusivity’ and what that meant? Having the big screen, HD displays, and now the new mobile device screens all synched for one moment is a significant achievement. These images all add to “branded moments in time,” explained Mike.
This tech trigger compliments activation awareness, ad announcements, and distributing additional inventory. New arenas have an average of 750-1,000 HD displays while the epic Cowboys Stadium has 3,500 screens. Add these monitors together with the tens of thousands of fans’ hand held devices; all focusing everyone’s in-venue mind share towards a single moment of passion, a scored goal, or your favorite entertainer performing, and you have a new and powerful medium rich for team and venue business development.
StadiumVision Mobile is a new sports business model and opportunity for teams and venues worldwide to now consider. Targeted advertising, sponsorship activations, promotions, branding, and other marketing and inventory objectives can be now be implemented simultaneously across fans’ mobile devices and stadium screens.
Mike and David both discussed how brands such as Pepsi could benefit at Super Bowl 47 in New Orleans by putting together marketing activation programs using new content models. Companies have paid large amounts in the past for marketing activation opportunities that never materialized because of the old tech that was in place. Today, Cisco has a proven multichannel, Connected Stadium Wi-Fi and StadiumVision wireless complete package for Live video distribution.
David responded to my question about their open interface solution and whether that meant an open API. He said that, “Because this is unique offering they can keep the core technology intact and have an open interface for third-party developers.” Yes, an inviting open API is available for any of you Sports Techie business owners who like to code and create.
The Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, has publically come out against the trend of fans engaging with mobile tech in-venue during game action, so I asked David about this thought. “All you have to do is look at a game and see all the fans engaging, he represents one NBA team ownership position. Let’s see what the fans say.”
Global sports and entertainment leaders the Brooklyn Nets (Barclays Center), Real Madrid (Estadio Santiago Bernabéu) and Sporting Kansas City (Sporting Park) are the first to be implementing StadiumVision Mobile in their venues.
Sporting Innovations in KC partnered with Cisco Sports and Entertainment Solutions Group to be their software champion.
Asim Pasha, chief information officer, Sporting Kansas City; managing partner, Sporting Innovations
“Cisco has been an incredible partner for Sporting Kansas City and Sporting Innovations. Together we have been able to use technology to reshape the fan paradigm. Cisco StadiumVision Mobile is the next step in that process, and we believe it will radically alter and enhance how teams and venues interact with fans.
Real Madrid is part of the joint venture with Cisco helping to validate StadiumVision technology.
Enrique Uriel, chief information officer, Real Madrid, C.F.
“Cisco StadiumVision Mobile will allow our fans to customize their experience in ways never before possible in the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.
I wanted to know whether the goal of creating the new Barclay’s Center into the most technologically advanced venue on the planet was met. It turns out the team accomplished its goal. StadiumVision tools are a part of the Brooklyn Nets official app offering Live video, remote ordering of concessions and merchandise for fans, and team and venue data.
Brett Yormark, chief executive officer, Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center
“Cisco’s sports and entertainment solutions have a proven track record of success, and their technologies are aiding us in leading and creating memorable experiences for fans at Barclays Center. We are committed to offering our fans new and unique amenities to engage with us and our partners, and StadiumVision Mobile is one of the ways we are achieving that goal.”
Chip Foley, director of building technology, Forest City Ratner Cos. (developer of Barclays Center)
“StadiumVision Mobile is a key component of Barclays Center’s official mobile app. Our goal was to make Barclays Center one of the most technologically advanced venues in the world, and deliver an app to fans that includes incredible features like live video, the ability to order concessions from your seat and pick them up without standing in line and a plethora of other team and venue information.”
Sports Techie, This is an exciting moment for sports tech Cisco to be the first company to have Wi-Fi connectivity at venues. Fans, teams, venues, and sponsors all win by having a stable and proven platform for distributing Live video. When integrated with an in-venue app, the solution delivers live video and data feeds with minimal delay and offers multiple channels of unique content such as a replay channel, an alternate-view channel (a view of the bench during timeouts), and a data channel (for stats, trivia contests and multi-player games).
The Cisco Connected Sports and Entertainment portfolio continues to grow and pave the way, this time with StadiumVision Mobile which delivers a completely integrated fan experience. This new Cisco solution offers unified communications, video distribution, and the capacity to deliver social networking content for fans enjoyment, and monetization purposes.
Congratulations to Cisco for pressing forward and inventing the pioneering StadiumVision sports technology. With 71% of mobile data traffic expected to be video on over ten billion devices by 2016, Cisco is certainly poised and ready to lead the video way.
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