Verizon & Cisco Grace the Gridiron
At a press conference featuring the chairmen of the Giants and Jets organizations, stadium CTO Peter Brickman, Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg, new video, wireless, and information technologies were unveiled -- aimed at keeping fans connected to the game throughout the stadium by relaying game info and stats, news, weather, and more to screens and wireless devices, and even helping keep concession lines moving and improve traffic flow.
The two technology execs quickly got a taste of what New York sports figures have long experienced from the local media, who seemed unimpressed by the high-tech hype. Instead they wanted to know if the technology would interfere with just watching football and if it's contributing to the high cost of tickets to NMS.
[Ed. note: Last year Light Reading couldn't even get Cisco to acknowledge or even comment on its work at the largest NFL stadium in history: IPTV Scores at Cowboys Stadium. For photos of that monstrosity, click here.]
NMS's Brickman responded by saying the basic fan experience would be enhanced because every seat will have a view of at least two HD screens for replays, and as many as four, while the Old Meadowlands Stadium (OMS) didn't offer screen views from every seat.
"From our perspective, what we think we bring is everything in the building becomes connected," Seidenberg said in his presentation. "Everything is connected to everything. Food can be delivered more efficiently, medical services can be delivered efficiently, traffic handled efficiently."
Seidenberg said the fiber optic, video, and wireless technology costs were about 8 percent of the total stadium cost, and that applications available on the screens and distributed to mobile devices within the stadium will enhance the fan experience, attract more people to games, and pay off for the stadium owners. He also said ongoing software upgrades will keep NMS ahead of the curve, technologically.
Verizon and Cisco are teaming up to bring 34 channels of customized HD content into the stadium so that fans can view multiple games and other content in select areas of the facility, including luxury suites. Verizon Wireless is working with the Giants and Jets to offer mobile apps specific to the stadium, with concession information, team news, scores, highlights, and alerts. This is in addition to Verizon's exclusive NFL Mobile app, available this fall.
Cisco, which is contributing a brand new 4300 set-top box to the effort, also will have digital displays around the stadium with information on concession and merchandise specials, as well as serving times in different lines. Within luxury suites, Cisco touchscreen VoIP phones in conjunction with Verizon VoIP service will let occupants remotely control HD displays and order concessions and team merchandise, for delivery to the suite.
Verizon will soon open its own studio within the stadium to let those attending the game try out FiOS TV and Internet service as well as other applications.
Chambers said 3DTV will be part of the NMS experience, adding that the stadium could become a proving ground for what 3DTV will bring elsewhere over the next few years.
— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading