Building the First ‘Smart’ Stadium in Nigeria | Benson Chukwueke Writes on the Dome that will Make Fans Go ‘Whoa’

Model of the Smart Stadium

It won’t be long before we see the first ‘smart’ stadium in Nigeria. I am not just thinking aloud. Recently I sold the idea to Governor Rocha Okorocha, and I am sincerely hoping he would turn the new stadium at Orlu (under construction) into a smart stadium.

I know it may not be his priority now, election is on the way, but I really hope the governor or his successor will pick up the project after the election. Sometimes, I wished that the digital Governor, Godwin Akpabio, saw the proposal earlier. Perhaps, it would have inspired him to turn the highly applauded Akwa Ibom International Stadium into a smart stadium. It would be really nice to have a smart stadium in Nigeria where the teeming fans will be whoa.

Well, with the way technology is fast changing our sport, I am pretty sure someday soon, some investor may decide to build a smart stadium in Nigeria. It isn’t just an idea generation; there are stadiums in the world today as smart as Smartphone.

So what makes a Stadium ‘Smart?’
It is what the stadium can do to secure and provide custom services to each visitor; using technology that makes attendance so easy and convenient for a total fans experience. For instance, each fan that visits Miami’s Sun Life stadium has individual parking habits, bathroom break patterns, favorite concession food stand and ideal seat from where he or she likes to watch the game.

Stadium managers respond to the wants and needs of every single visitor by using IBM intelligent System to track the ebb and flow of humanity inside the 75,000 seat arena; monitoring anything that might affect the crowd that come  to enjoy the big game. This is what make a stadium smart:

Intelligent Operating Center: At the heart of any smart stadium is an intelligent operating center (IOC). IBM’s IOC simply sit on top of everything that happens at Miami stadium, capturing data (Information) that could help the stadium respond to individual fan rather than just the overall crowd.

The IBM’s system help manage the stadium; selling everything from ticket to food and drinks. Staff members receive alert about traffic benchmark. For instance, IBM’s system quickly redirects visitors to free parking space and shut-off the parking lots that are already full.

There is a more sophisticated ‘Quuppa Intelligent System (QiS). The system is extremely versatile, offering a very high location update with a sensor that identifies even fast moving objects in the stadium; forecasting weather, detecting explosives and any offensive weapon carried along even in the body of any visitor.

QIS identifies each visitor and monitor everything he or she does while at the stadium. It identifies every car or equipment and who brought them into the stadium.

Digital Ticketing: Digital ticketing is one of the vital features of a smart stadium. It takes away the cost of always printing tickets for every game. Digital ticketing allows visitors to purchase ticket via scanning their credit or Debit cards or by using the Smartphone payment options.

This enables QIS to capture the biometrics of each visitor inside the stadium. It also helps identify each fan seating position preference in the stadium.

At Mt. Smart Stadium Auckland, special digital card are issued to fans, which enables the stadium understand each individual fan attendance habits as well as how much he or she is willing to spend in concessions while at the stadium.

Mobile App: QIS runs update on a downloadable stadium mobile App designed to give fans a total match day experience. Starting from a week or so, the App begins to sensitize fans by sending notifications of the upcoming game to their mobile device.

Levi’s stadium Santa Clara is home to the first Mobile App designed to enhance every aspect of a fan’s stadium experience – from steering fans to their parking lots to identifying the least crowded restroom and up to the minute weather forecast.

During the game, fans can use the stadium App on their device to order food and drinks that can be delivered directly to their seat or picked up at express window close to them. No more waiting line at the gate or at the concessions. In case you miss any action, fans can use the App to watch instant replay from four camera angles.

Free Wi-Fi: It is natural that smart stadium provide free Wi-Fi to visitors, since it expect them to use their mobile devices while at the stadium. Levi’s stadium has it’s Wi-Fi cover over 100 meters radius beyond the stadium complex and just about everyone with a device can have free access to the internet within the covered range.

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