In just about any venue, whether it’s a stadium, convention center or concert hall there is inevitably someone who is frustrated about not being able to get wireless access. Up until recently there wasn’t much to be done about overcoming wireless network congestion. But with some recent advances in bridging 3G/4G and 802.11n wireless networks a new business opportunity is opening up for solution providers.
The owners of these venues are starting to realize that they are losing an opportunity to connect with customers attending an event. By providing access to video on smartphones and other mobile computing devices, they can accomplish two business goals. The first is they can send messages and video directly to the fans in attendance to promote additional events. The seconds is that the people attending the event can promote the entertainment and venue on social media networks, essentially making them an extension of the venue’s overall social media strategy.
To facilitate this Cisco today rolled out a Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi platform based on a new Cisco Aironet 3500p Access Point that makes uses of Cisco’s CleanAir technology and the ability to integrate with 3G and 4G wireless networks to create a hybrid outdoor wireless network. According to Syliva Hooks, Cisco senior manager for wireless networking, large venues such as stadiums are ideal for this technology because they have large concentrations of people trying to access limited 3G/4G bandwidth. By augmenting those networks with bandwidth from 802.11n networks, the ability to watch video being generated from the event creates a more immersive experience for the attendees.
Of course, there are venues such as Yankee Stadium in New York that ban tablet PCs for security reasons. But smartphones are allowed in and as these devices continue to get more powerful many of them can already pretty much do anything a tablet PC can do. The challenge for solution providers in the channel is going to be to find the right people within the organization that owns the venue that will see these devices as an opportunity rather than a potential threat to ticket sales.Tags: Cisco, wireless networks, channel, solution providers, Cisco Connected Stadium Wi-Fi, Aironet 3500p Access Point, tablet PCs, 802.11n, smartphones, Yankee Stadium