WiFi and the evolving live stadium experience
Forbes recently reported on the exciting prospect of ‘smart’ innovations for sports stadiums, continuing to become a reality in the USA. With fans crying out for efficient, high-speed WiFi at sports events this side of the Atlantic, such innovations are now within the reach of willing and forward-thinking UK stadium owners.
There really is nothing quite like attending a live sport event – the sights, sounds, smells of the occasion, combined with the feverish atmosphere and excitement of seeing your favourite team succeed.
But as Rich Esposito reported recently on Forbes BrandVoice™ (commenting on the connectivity of stadiums in the USA), the ‘live stadium experience is evolving’ – driven by the surge in smartphone use and the expectation for ‘always on’ connectivity, together with innovations in stadium WiFi technology.
Despite the potential innovations, however, putting them into action requires a robust, quality WiFi solution and infrastructure. Choosing the right provider is key to avoid falling at the first hurdles: finance and expertise.
Choosing a provider: Avoiding a headache delivering the stadium experience
The finance issue applies for both stadium owners themselves and fans. Some providers market their open WiFi solution as ‘free’, but the truth is far from it.
Take as an example a case study from the city WiFi sphere in Kendal, Cumbria. Users of the network are restricted to just two hours a day, with additional time coming at a cost. Furthermore, the cost of installation and maintenance of the WiFi infrastructure is significant – with a large initial outlay required by the customer, followed by a monthly fee. Finally, any revenues generated from the scheme will only go to offset costs.
Another absolutely crucial aspect to consider is the financial stability of the provider itself. Less than a year ago, international WiFi provider, Gowex, filed for bankruptcy, leaving several of its customers with severely disrupted plans. While this is an extreme case, it highlights the paramount importance of choosing a WiFi provider with a healthy balance sheet and a robust, sustainable long-term financial strategy.
In the frenzied and competitive environment that is ‘tech’, innovation happens quickly, meaning there is a risk of some providers running before they can walk. Generally speaking, the reality of UK WiFi outside the home and workplace is – defined by The Guardian – a ‘…fragmented realm of pay-to-use hotspots, cafes that grant access in exchange for buying a drink or meal, and a smattering of public buildings with free access…’
It would certainly appear that the skills and expertise to deliver an efficient, workable WiFi solution to stadiums – which is also cost-effective – are severely lacking. There is a somewhat gaping hole in the market.
Stadium owners should therefore look to choose a provider that has proven experience – ideally over a significant amount of time – of delivering WiFi solutions that really work for users. Why stop there, though? There are expert providers out there that can not only deliver robust, efficient open WiFi networks, but can also make those networks work for you – providing broad revenue-generating opportunities.
intechnologyWiFi is part of Intechnology plc and is owned by Peter Wilkinson, one of the UK’s most successful technology entrepreneurs, with a proven, 30-year track record in delivering profitable, free technical solutions, including the first free consumer internet service, Freeserve. intechnologyWiFi brings with it all the heritage, knowledge and resource of Intechnology plc, together with robust manufacturing and support facilities, a strong financial position and the expertise in IT to make your WiFi dream a reality.
If you would like to discuss your options for developing a free WiFi solution for your stadium, please get in touch. The team would love to speak to you.