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Connected venues - building smart cities of the future

How connected venues deliver smart city goals

by Krista Harris

14 September 2022

Venues bring people together, creating shared experiences and life moments for tens of thousands of fans.

With the roll-out of the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, smart applications and other technologies, connectivity is not only creating unparalleled fan experiences, it is now a key efficiency driver in venues around the globe. Facility managers and other venue professionals look to and rely on these technologies to enable memorable experiences for event-goers as well as improve operational efficiencies.

Stadiums and entertainment districts provide digital innovation opportunities that reach beyond the venues themselves enabling developmental ecosystems that support wider smart city goals. These connected communities not only provide the data and analytics necessary to drive decision-making but they also benefit from the safety, efficiency and business opportunities that smart technology enables, and create the potential for extending these benefits throughout the city. Connected transport options to and from these venues are also part of this infrastructure integration. When venues become the nucleus of a smart city, they invigorate the area, encouraging residents to live and work there. 

Improved customer experiences and engagement

High-capacity connectivity is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have. From personalized services and better transit planning to convenience and safety, it’s all about enhancing the fan experience. Seamless connectivity makes it possible to provide rich, engaging event content and interactive digital experiences for fans directly to their phones or through kiosk solutions and signage. From digital interaction with a team, performer and sponsors to social networking and augmented reality (AR) services, digital solutions improve the customer experience at every touchpoint. In addition, 5G and Wi-Fi connectivity in connected venues enable applications that provide real-time information and notifications about things like parking and traffic, potentially improving visitors’ experience of travelling to the stadium, finding parking, admission, personal safety, and crowd navigation.

The practical benefits of connectivity are demonstrated across various sports and entertainment arenas in the United States. In Las Vegas, the T-Mobile Arena offers blazing-fast 5G connectivity that allows for a richer fan experience at hockey games, UFC fights, other sporting championships, and large-scale concerts. Fans enjoy seamless live streaming and can easily upload files to social media sites, extending their ability to share memorable experiences. It also makes sure fans can stay connected with one another, whether they are inside or outside the venue.

Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles is another venue that demonstrates the benefits of connectivity. Home of the LA Galaxy soccer club, the venue has a newly expanded fast and secure Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) private network that will soon support a variety of new technologies. These include applications for remote parking lot surveillance, mobile ticket scanning, and mobile point-of-sale, among others. Each of these applications run on a low-latency, secure network that includes mobile edge computing services. As a result, they make attendance at these venues easier, more attractive, and more enjoyable.

Also in Los Angeles, Crypto.com Arena and its adjacent four million square foot sports and entertainment district, L.A. LIVE, leverage updated 5G technology that equips the entire campus with a fast, multi-carrier wireless network. This provides a seamless indoor and outdoor connectivity experience. It also enables new opportunities for fan engagement, such as interactive AR and virtual reality (VR) experiences and supports the venue’s initiatives around live-streaming performances, enables contactless payments, and more. In addition to the connectivity at the venue there are also thousands of small cells built in LA that provide smart city connectivity and work with venues in a hybrid network fashion to ensure seamless connectivity as people approach and leave venues.

Another great example of a connected venue is Churchill Downs Racetrack, home of the Kentucky Derby, that has a network that connects 170,000 people at peak usage. This allows the venue to provide an impactful, immersive customer experience that keeps fans happy and engaged throughout the event.

There’s no doubt that smart venues are returning value by providing better experiences for their visitors, but they also do so by increasing operational efficiency for venue managers and owners.

Connected venues optimize operational efficiencies

Venue operators make large upfront investments in their facilities. Whether building a new venue or upgrading an existing one, smart facilities help to ensure that they are consistently and effectively monetized. Smart technology makes it possible to optimize venue operations and improve cost-efficiency and safety. These benefits are evident across stadiums, arenas, amphitheaters, and other large-scale buildings in mixed-use areas.

Connected venues provide many opportunities for operators to drive business value – from monitoring equipment for more effective maintenance to the use of smart video to protect valuable infrastructure. Robust connectivity enables facilities managers to have better visibility of, for example, heating and ventilation systems, and to automate manual systems. These capabilities help reduce energy waste, lower maintenance costs, and lessen time-consuming manual processes.

On the customer side, delivering solutions optimized for engaging venue-specific mobile applications and interactions ensures higher attendance and revenue. Leveraging interactions between visitors’ devices and the venue’s commercial and operational systems produces data-driven insights that can identify revenue-generating opportunities, such as targeted offers to individuals at events.

Some examples of operational benefits include the following:

  • Fast and secure mobile pre-payments and tap-and-go entry systems that allow staff to serve more customers in less time.
  • Smart cameras and video surveillance systems that improve venue security and enhance operational control during events by allowing personnel to react swiftly if there’s a crisis.
  • Seamless communication with staff working across a large area for better coordination.

These and other benefits explain the significant year-over-year growth in the in-building network market for venue owners. The smart stadium market segment alone is estimated to have a compound annual growth rate of 23% from 2021 to 2030.

Mobilitie, a BAI Communications company, provides connectivity solutions for venues that want to improve their competitive edge. By redefining the connected 5G experience, our technology serves as the backbone for both next-generation fan experiences and interactions, as well as operational connectivity for current and future smart venue applications

In our next blog in this ‘Building the smart cities of the future’ series, we’ll look at how connected buildings create more efficient, economical, comfortable and sustainable spaces.

You can read the other blogs in the series here:

  1. Building the smart cities of the future
  2. How connected communities enable smart cities
  3. The importance of connected transport in building smart cities
Krista Harris, Vice President of Wireless Solutions, Mobilitie

Krista Harris

Vice President of Wireless Solutions, Mobilitie

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