5 Ways New Stadium Technology Impacts Network Infrastructure
New stadium technology is redefining how sports are experienced and enjoyed. But fully unlocking the benefits of this technology starts with the right foundation, including your network infrastructure.
Our recent involvement in the Lower.com Field project—a 430,000-square-foot, $314 million facility—is a great example of the challenges and demands that new stadium technology poses to network infrastructure.
The Need for Engagement & Visibility from Everywhere
Fans expect engagement and interaction from anywhere inside—and even outside—the soccer field. Whether they’re out in the beer garden, in the Crew Shop or at The Pub restaurant, they want to feel like they’re part of the action.
At Lower.com Field, this translates to LED boards everywhere, 450 TVs and enhanced audio, and a 62,000-square-foot public plaza—complete with a 14-foot by 24-foot video board—so fans can keep up no matter where they are.
New stadium technology that spectators rely on to stay engaged at every point in the venue can’t experience lags, glitches or downtime. Even when fans can’t see the field, they want real-time updates and excitement.
The Demand for Free-Flowing Security Screening Systems
The days of standing in line are disappearing within large venues. When spectators arrive, they’re ready to move through security without stopping. The fan experience at Lower.com Field involves multiple new stadium technology innovations, such as facial recognition, weapons detection and touchless, self-service fan ingress. Because ticket barcodes are paired with facial authentication, fans simply look at a tablet before they enter Lower.com Field.
To keep traffic moving and make sure fans are safe, these security systems need to maintain constant network connectivity without downtime—no matter how many people walk through the gates at once.
Indoor/Outdoor Venue Designs
Most soccer fields are indoor/outdoor venues, with some areas covered by a roof while others are open. This means the technology they deploy must be able to function in these types of conditions.
In addition, the technology needs cabling that can also withstand the elements posed by Mother Nature—sun, wind, rain and even snow—and ensure continued performance.
Network infrastructure, including cabling and connectivity, must be able to handle the harsh outdoor environment and offer advanced water protection while also being rated for indoor use, including the appropriate flame rating requirements.
Frequent Changes in Technology Design
During the design process, it’s not uncommon for plans to change—and these changes can impact the location of technology, equipment and cable. For example, technology and building systems originally planned for indoor installation may end up outdoors (and vice versa) by the end of the project. Your network design needs to be flexible and adaptable to support these types of last-minute changes.
In the case of Lower.com Field, 90% of indoor spaces shifted to plenum spaces after the air-handling contractor performed value engineering. The team wanted to create transition points between indoor/outdoor and plenum spaces without impacting network performance. REVConnect 10GX Couplers allowed the transition to be made without any data loss.
Placement of IoT Devices
As IoT devices and new stadium technology like wireless access points, surveillance cameras and screens are deployed throughout venues, they’re often installed in tight spaces or using mounting brackets that block port access. If they’re installed outside, they may also be housed in enclosures for protection.
At Lower.com Field, REVConnect® FlexPlugs establish direct connections to devices that can’t accommodate typical field-terminated plugs due to plug size or cable routing constraints. They also eliminate the need for patch cords, biscuit boxes and jacks to decrease installation time and costs. This allows devices to be installed in optimal locations with concerns about connecting them to the network.
Learn More About Lower.com Field
Is your network ready to help unlock the benefits of new stadium technology?
Read more about Lower.com Field’s story and how its environment supports innovation and performance at the same time. In fact, ESPN commended Lower.com Field for one of the smoothest grand openings ever broadcast at a new stadium—thanks in part to help from Belden.