Cisco, IBM go in to bat for Melbourne Cricket Ground upgrade

Stadium Wi-Fi system and 800 new IPTV HD screens announced
Tech upgrade includes an IPTV system that will deliver content to 800 new HD screens around the stadium. Credit: Melbourne Cricket Club

Tech upgrade includes an IPTV system that will deliver content to 800 new HD screens around the stadium. Credit: Melbourne Cricket Club

The Melbourne Cricket Ground will deploy a stadium Wi-Fi network and IPTV system as part of a major technology upgrade announced with Cisco, IBM and Cockram Construction.

The upgrade is part of a $45 million investment by the Melbourne Cricket Club that previously saw the addition of two high-definition scoreboards and HDTV production.

The MCC said it will deploy a high-density Wi-FI network in and around the stadium. The IPTV system will deliver digital content to 800 new HD displays around the stadium, bringing the total number of TVs in the MCG to 2800.

The upgrade announced today also includes enhanced facilities for media and broadcasters, and an exterior LED lighting system that can change colour on game day to fit the home team currently playing in the stadium.

“This is a significant investment to improve and personalise the MCG customer experience and also operate a more efficient stadium,” said MCC CEO Stephen Gough.

“This will take the fan experience to another level with significant improvements to the MCG's connectivity. This increased capacity will be great news for the four million people who visit the MCG each year."

For the project, the MCC researched several stadiums around the world, including Dallas Stadium, Metlife Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Citifield, AT&T Park, Levi's Stadium, Emirates Stadium, Staples Centre and Barcelona's Camp Nou and Wembley Stadium, it said.

MCC appointed IBM as head technical contractor to design, evaluate technology options and implement the selected solution.

“This work will enable MCC to take advantage of the latest mobile, social and analytics technologies,” said Catherine Caruana-McManus, director, IBM Smarter Cities Australia.

“It will create unrivalled and personalised in-stadium fan engagement and ensure premier game day experiences, giving fans more reasons to visit more often.”

Networking partner, Cisco connected the project to the growing trend known as the Internet of Things, in which many everyday objects are connected to the Internet.

"We believe that as the Internet of Everything connects more people, processes, data and things, the fan experience will become more immersive, customised and engaging," said Cisco Systems director, Jonathon Dixon.

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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