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Ashton Gate Stadium gets smarter with Zeetta

Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol is about to embark on an exciting new phase on its technology journey as it looks to become an ever smarter venue.

The stadium, which is home to Bristol City FC and Bristol Rugby, has teamed up with Zeetta Networks for its technology journey.

The venue has just hosted the Smart Infrastructure 2017 event with the theme, ‘Smart Leaders for Smart Venues.’

It attracted delegates from Capgemini, Telent, Munster Rugby, Connacht Rugby, West Ham United, Colt Technology, the University of Bristol, Accedian, IPCTriangle Networks and many other organisations.

These leaders are responsible for future-proofing their organisations and are directing the evolution of their own Digital Strategy: Smart Infrastructure 2017 highlighted the difficulties and potential solutions as they consider smart infrastructure.

Paul Lipscombe, head of technology at Ashton Gate Stadium told delegates what has been happening at his venue. He said:

We like to offer Ashton Gate as a live test lab for new technology and after £45 million in investment and three years of hard work, this is an impressive venue with lots of technology under the hood.

He said that during the project, technology that has been delivered includes 250 digital signage screens and an IPTV system, LED perimeter boards, the UK’s largest indoor video wall in a bar, access control turnstiles, 4k touchscreens in the changing rooms and one large external screen. The network now boasts 2,500 data ports. He added:

On a match day we have anywhere up to 20 vendors we work with and being a premium hospitality experience we have three hours to get it right. We need to be able to fix any technological issues as soon as possible. We are very fortunate to be based in Bristol and be close to companies like Zeetta Networks.

Lipscombe said there is still a lot of work to do to make the stadium truly connected. He said:

We have still got a lot left to do but the in-bowl WiFi will be delivered in September. We have done some initial user acceptance testing and so far it has been good. We will be going live with that over the next six to eight weeks.

Other projects include mobile ticketing and a move towards a fully integrated data visualisation platform, as well as a loyalty and affiliates programme.

We aim to give a fully connected, dynamic stadium tha allows people to do interesting things here like creating a virtual museum using AR technology.

We’re not locked into one technology partner. We can work with who we choose to deliver the applications that we want or get those applications built bespoke.

We’re about six months through the project. We have delivered the infrastructure for the stadium and now we’re moving onto the fun bit which is building the applications themselves.

During the event, Zeetta Networks used their innovative NetOS® platform to show three live demonstrations of real world value as currently deployed at Ashton Gate Stadium.

  • Venues can further monetise their smart infrastructure through the event app, which allows non-technical hospitality staff to easily add network services to their events bookings.
  • Any stadium can gain value from automation, as demonstrated by a mobile till which itself could be made smart and instantly enable an on-demand point of sale solution.
  • The virtualisation demonstration showed how NetOS® has reduced operational complexities by allowing third parties a live view on their management systems of the network services they are using at Ashton Gate Stadium.

The day attracted 80 delegates and explored the structural changes and leadership required in smart venues to keep up with evolving smart culture.

Zeetta Networks’ CEO, Vassilis Seferidis commented on the success of the inaugural event. He said:

With ever shortening innovation cycles for technology, smart leaders need to pay close attention to the developments that are leading the field. It was humbling to see such a high turnout at our inaugural event, committed to advancing their smart infrastructure. Our NetOS® software defined network installed at our partner, Ashton Gate Stadium, demonstrated just what it can do for stadia and venues around the world.