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Philips Lighting have signed an innovation partnership with Amsterdam ArenA for dynamic pitch lighting. As part of the agreement, and in the run up to UEFA Euro 2020, Philips Lighting will install a new combination of Philips ArenaVision LED pitch lighting with movable dynamic colour spots. The new technology will meet the requirements of broadcasters for HDTV and will elevate the entertainment experience at the Amsterdam ArenA to a whole new level during concerts and events.

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Amsterdam ArenA – the Netherlands’ largest stadium and home to the football club AFC Ajax – invites creative thinkers and innovative entrepreneurs to contribute ideas for the stadium of the future. For this purpose, it is launching an international innovation challenge. The best plans will be tested and implemented in the newly renovated ArenA with the help of the municipality of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Smart City, and the innovation partners Microsoft, Huawei, KPN, KPMG and TNO.

The innovation challenge is part of the Innovation Arena, an open online platform for companies, start-ups, technical engineers, students and other creatives to share ideas. The Innovation Arena is more than just an online platform for innovators. The best ideas, services and products can actually be tested during events or football matches in the stadium. Attracting over 50,000 visitors to each event, the Amsterdam ArenA will be one of the largest innovation labs in the Netherlands.

The innovation competition will be launched in connection with the large-scale renovation of the Ajax stadium. The renovation will commence in the first quarter of 2016. Rather than increasing the seating capacity, the objective of the project is to improve the level of service, quality and sustainability. More space will be created for visitors, and additional lifts, toilets, catering outlets and escalators will be installed. In addition, the ArenA wants to improve the facilities, for which purpose the stadium is calling on innovating entrepreneurs around the world to contribute ideas. One of the aims, for instance, is to reduce waiting times in queues. Other examples include creating optimal security, as well as a sense of being right at home, reducing waste, offering healthy food choices and connecting visitors and fans online.

Henk Markerink, CEO of the Amsterdam ArenA, said:

Innovation cannot be achieved alone; the best creations are the result of a cooperative effort. Together with our partners, we offer innovators from around the globe a magnificent playing field.

Entrants can go to www.InnovationArena.amsterdam to enter the competition in categories including Safety and Security, Healthy Food & Beverage concepts, Fan Experience, Cleaning & Maintenance, and Connectivity. The categories are designed to create an optimal visitor experience in the Amsterdam ArenA and the Amsterdam Southeast district.

Entry to the competition will close early in March of 2016 and the entered ideas will be evaluated by a jury consisting of innovation partners of the Amsterdam ArenA. All contestants will receive feedback in the form of a brief review. The winning ideas will be developed further in conjunction with the partners and tested in the Amsterdam ArenA Innovation Center that is based in the ArenA and in the stadium proper during events.

This is the first time in history for a stadium to launch a competition in order to generate innovative solutions.

Markerink added:

The competition is in keeping with our tradition of innovation. It is part of our DNA. To name a few examples, the construction of the stadium was funded through what is now known as crowdfunding, the so-called returfing technique was developed in the ArenA, and we were the first stadium ever to introduce our own electronic payment system.

In the area of sustainability, the ArenA has managed to realise quite a few ambitions; for example, the stadium is net climate neutral. For this purpose, the venue installed over 4,000 solar panels on the roof, and the stadium uses district heating from the nearby city of Diemen for heating and water from a nearby small lake for cooling. Photovoltaic cells will be integrated into the new façade, and rainwater will be collected for use in the toilets. Furthermore, the stadium creates its own energy storage by means of gigantic batteries.

Imagine never having to search for your vehicle in a car park/parking lot ever again, never having to queue up or being held up in traffic. Imagine that the turf itself sends out a signal to switch on the sprinklers if it needs watering or nutrients. And imagine just one single app on your smartphone to provide access to all relevant information about your environment. All of these innovations form part of the Amsterdam ArenA Innovation Center that was officially opened on 1 June 2015 by Alderwoman of Amsterdam, Kajsa Ollongren.

The opening ceremony of the Amsterdam ArenA Innovation Center marked the kick-off of Amsterdam Smart City Week, a four-day event that highlights innovations in the field of mobility, accessibility, energy, sustainability, connectivity and fan experience. This dedicated week was an initiative of Amsterdam Smart City, the open innovation platform of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, which challenges companies, residents, the municipality and knowledge institutions to submit and apply innovative ideas and solutions to urban challenges.

Alderwoman Ollongren commented:

Amsterdam ArenA is a trendsetter in the area of smart innovations. This leads to creative solutions to metropolitan issues, including mobility, waste management, energy and connectivity, which is excellent news for the metropolitan region of Amsterdam.

Henk Markerink, CEO, Amsterdam ArenA added:

The Amsterdam ArenA has the ambition to be one of the world’s most innovative stadiums. Innovation is in our DNA. We invented the interactive turf here. The Amsterdam ArenA Innovation Centre is a platform open for everyone. It is, therefore, with great pleasure that we welcome the new Innovation Center to our stadium.

Football with a sensor

The new Amsterdam ArenA Innovation Center is more than just a place where smart technological inventions are born and showcased; it is the laboratory where they are tested as well. Football players can be tracked using tags and a network of sensors in the ArenA, showing their every move to an amazingly minute degree of detail, and even revealing their heart rates to the trainer or coach.

Innovation Deal

The purpose of the Amsterdam ArenA Innovation Center is to generate and implement innovations for a smart Southeast District of Amsterdam. It is intended to develop into the most important knowledge and innovation centre of the Netherlands in terms of smart, sustainable cities. In 2014, the Municipality of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam ArenA signed an Innovation Deal. The official opening of the Amsterdam ArenA Innovation Center is a concrete result of this deal. All innovations are tested for application in and around the stadium and the Southeast District of Amsterdam by the ArenA and their partners.

Subsequently, these inventions can be applied on a large scale in the entire metropolitan region, for instance where innovations are concerned in the field of traffic and transport, such as City Wi-Fi and intelligent cameras.

Supercomputers

The Amsterdam ArenA Innovation Center is to develop into a centre where the best companies work together to develop innovative solutions for smart, sustainable cities. Organisations including Huawei, KPN, TNO (the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) and the Municipality of Amsterdam have all promised their support and set up offices in the new centre.

The Amsterdam ArenA Innovation Centre welcomes and makes space available for other innovative companies and start-ups as well. The new centre offers a haven of cooperation and knowledge exchange. A commitment to this goal is required of all those who wish to set up their business or office here. Furthermore, the ‘hardware’ has been given specific attention as well: the centre is equipped with supercomputers with enormous computational capacity for the companies that are located here to test all kinds of new inventions.

Amazing Mondays

During the opening ceremony of the Amsterdam ArenA Innovation Center, Markerink launched the first ‘Amazing Monday’ – on the first Monday of every month, someone shares an idea or innovation with the other companies of the ArenA laboratory, the Living Lab. Anyone who is excited by the idea can join in immediately. In the Living Lab, innovations are continuously refined and tested at special events. KPN, for instance, is currently testing a network of sensors to help visitors locate their cars in the car park.

Shortly, visitors to the ArenA and the Southeast District of Amsterdam will receive information on their smartphones about their environment by means of a temporary app, as Markerink explained:

As soon as you enter the ArenA, this app will automatically start loading useful information. And the moment you leave the stadium, the app will start loading other data that are relevant to your location.

In tandem with the Smart City conference, Amsterdam Smart City organised the Appsterdam Smart City Challenge. During this hackathon, app developers, students and designers will be challenged to create intelligent solutions to various issues and problems in the area of energy, mobility and the stadium itself.

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Amsterdam ArenA strives for the best possible service

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Amsterdam ArenA is in the process of three large and two small improvements set to ensure a more convenient and pleasant experience for visitors to the stadium, as Hidde Salverda, Director of the Amsterdam ArenA Event Company, explains.

Improvement 1: Everyone online
Ensuring that everyone in a stadium has internet access is a challenge for a stadium. During sports and other events, there are, in fact, tens of thousands people in a relatively small area. To ensure that they can make use of online services requires connectivity to be as reliable as possible, Amsterdam ArenA has achieved this by making 4G available throughout the stadium, as well as free Wi-Fi. Salverda confirms:

This is what the visitor expects and rightly so. Together with KPN (4G) and Huawei (Wi-Fi network), we have further increased the quality and the service level for the visitor. We have delivered a fine piece of work. In this way, we will truly be a world leader in terms of stadiums and event locations.

Amsterdam ArenA uses this improved connectivity to pamper its visitors even more. This occurs in two ways:

1a: Extras via the app
Thanks to the reliable, free access to the internet, fans can easily communicate via an app. Take, for example, the new app: ArenA Catering. It enables everyone with a smartphone to look over the catering products on offer, place an immediate order and pay for it. The order can then be picked up at the closest booth or take-away point.

In this way, visitors can quickly obtain a snack or drink during the match or concert without having to queue. The ArenA Catering App – which has been developed by the American SeatServe Company – will be phased in for the entire stadium over the coming months in close collaboration with Coca-Cola Enterprise, one of the founding partners of the ArenA. It will be fine-tuned based on user experiences and will, over time, potentially go a step further: enabling service in the stands. The app will not only allow the Amsterdam ArenA to offer the best possible service to its visitors, but it can also be used by organisers to offer their audiences extras. This may include interviews before the match, replays of goals, close-ups during a concert or price inquiries.

Salverda explains that this exclusive content is in tune with the age: “These extras enhance the experience and provide another reason to get off the sofa.” In addition, there are many more possibilities for direct communication between visitor and organiser. “They can establish a personal relationship with each other, share information and exchange ideas. And the great thing is that this extra content is simply transmitted via WiFi, so that you will not have a big bill for the extra service.”

1b: Easy journey
One of the objectives for the Amsterdam ArenA this year is to ease visitor travel. “We wish to make the trip to the stadium as relaxed as possible. This can be achieved by bundling all information from the parties involved and disclosing it to the individual visitor as required,” says Salverda.

Improvement 2: The convenience of contactless payment
Amsterdam ArenA has been in existence for the last eighteen years, and the same goes for the ArenA Card. Salverda explains why this choice was then made:

Rapid payment is an absolute must for us. This is due to the peak times in which visitors make use of the catering. Eighteen years ago, cards and cash payments were too time consuming.

In the present, the introduction of contactless payment by card coincides with the need for a new payment system. “For us, this is the time to invest in 350 bank card terminals and to bid adieu to the ArenA Card.” Visitors now pay faster and easier by simply using their own bank card. When they occur at the Amsterdam ArenA, such payments will be made in a contactless manner by holding bank cards or mobile telephones briefly near the payment terminal.

“It is a matter of time before every bank card will be usable in this way,” notes Salverda. He is also happy that the extra queue is finally gone: “It has long been a thorn in our side that people had to queue twice in order to receive their snack and drink. Once at the ArenA Card and a second time at the booth counter. We are now rid of the first queue. This improvement further shows how we are placing the visitor first.”

Improvement 3: Extra room
Watching football is most enjoyable when you can smell the fresh grass, count the splatters of mud on the white socks and hear the keeper instruct his defenders.

Now that the Amsterdam ArenA has filled in the moat on the east side, visitors can once again sit a little closer to the field. “This creates a better football ambience. The overall image is much more attractive,” notes Salverda.

In addition, this renovation yields 296 additional seats and extra square metres for concert goers. “We can move the barriers back, so there is more space on the field.” And no, this room will not be immediately filled with more concert visitors. “In connection with emergency exit capacity, we cannot allow any more people to enter,” assures Salverda.

Improvement 4: Handsome stadium box office
Such an attractive stadium with such an ugly stadium box office! This really could not be allowed to go on. “We have given the stadium box office a facelift, and it was about time,” laughs Salverda. The box office is located on the north side of the stadium and is opened prior to matches and events for ticket sales and information about purchased admission tickets.

Improvement 5: Introduction of the e-ticket
“A new ticketing system is being introduced for our certificate holders,” explains Salverda. “It was due for replacement.” And what are they going to notice most about the new system? “It will include the possibility for e-ticketing, this according to an easy and secure procedure. E-tickets are lost less quickly than physical admission tickets and will make it easier for certificate holders to send business partners and customers admission tickets. A long cherished wish that will be satisfied in the near future!”

Certificate holders and business partners will be notified about the changes separately.

Ajax, Amsterdam ArenA and Huawei announce partnership

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Dutch football club Ajax and Amsterdam ArenA have signed a partnership with Huawei, the leading global ICT solutions provider. Parties announced the agreements at the Amsterdam ArenA earlier this week. Under the agreement, Huawei becomes official partner of Ajax and business partner of Amsterdam ArenA, which is the home to football club Ajax.

 

Technology agreement: In the 5 year technology agreement, Huawei, which is a market leader in the field of wireless technology, will create the largest open-access wireless LAN infrastructure in The Netherlands at the Amsterdam ArenA. Through this Wi-Fi network both the Amsterdam ArenA and Ajax are enabled to offer new services to fans and other visitors, which will enrich their experience in the stadium. It is expected that all visitors of events at the ArenA will be able to use this Wi-Fi network optimally from the beginning of 2015. During Ajax matches, use of the Wi-Fi will be free.

 

Sponsorship package: The official partnership with Ajax will last for three years. The sponsorship package includes brand presence during Ajax matches through LED boarding and visibility in the club’s offline and online media. The package provides Huawei the opportunity to increase brand recognition and includes several elements for brand activation.

 

Huawei received the EISA Award for European consumer smart phones in 2013 and is both globally and in The Netherlands the number 3 brand in the smart phone business. With the recently launched new high-end smart phone, the Ascend P7, the market share is expected to grow further.

 

The deals bring together three high performing organisations. Huawei is the leading worldwide player in the field of mobile infrastructure and this partnership completely matches Huawei’s strategy in Europe, which aims to partner with highly renowned brands by providing them with its innovative solutions and products. For Ajax, one of the biggest names in the history of football, the deal perfectly matches with its focus on China and the ambition to bring fans the best possible experience. The Amsterdam ArenA, the largest stadium in The Netherlands, which is also used for concerts and other events, wants to bring the best and most sustainable technology available to its visitors.

 

Henk Markerink, CEO of Amsterdam ArenA, said of the collaboration:

Amsterdam ArenA is always looking for state-of-the-art technology which benefits our visitors. The innovative solution from Huawei makes it possible for us to have a working Wi-Fi network in the whole stadiums and therefore matches our ambitions. We are very happy to collaborate with such a big international company and further improve our service towards our customers.

 

Edwin van der Sar, Ajax’s Chief Marketing Officer, added the following about the partnership:

We are delighted to have signed this agreement. Huawei is the biggest Chinese company in The Netherlands and therefore fits our ambitions. Moreover, Huawei is an innovative company and their technology solution will enable us to deliver free WIFI to all our fans. So they can have the best football experience, for instance by directly sharing memorizable moments during the match with friends. But also by having a lot of additional information and news available.

 

Wang Dexian, CEO of Huawei Technologies Netherlands, said:

Huawei is delighted to partner with Ajax, one of the most successful football clubs in the world ever, and the Amsterdam ArenA, the most state-of-the-art stadium in The Netherlands, to show our sustainable commitment to the region. Sport is a very important part of our brand strategy, where we have partnered already with some of the biggest clubs in the world. This strategic partnership will also highly contribute to develop a new broadband solution to stadiums in The Netherlands and our innovative technology will bring new and better experiences to the fans and visitors.

 

Municipality of Amsterdam and Amsterdam ArenA sign innovation deal

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In order to secure a position for the Amsterdam ArenA – the largest football stadium in The Netherlands and the home of AFC Ajax – as the most innovative stadium, the ArenA has signed an innovation deal with the Municipality of Amsterdam. Over the next few months, they will develop a joint strategy focused on areas including smart IT applications in the field of crowd management, the development of energy grids, connectivity, and applications for visitors to the ArenA and its surrounds. This is the first innovation deal the Municipality has signed with a local Amsterdam company.

Innovation and sustainability are necessary to promote economic growth and prosperity in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region. For this reason, Alderwoman Carolien Gehrels of the City of Amsterdam and Henk Markerink, CEO of the ArenA, have signed the first innovation deal. The official document contains agreements between the Municipality and the stadium to boost innovation in and around the stadium. This involves innovations including smart technological applications for the use of tablets and smartphones in the stadium, and new methods of crowd management in the stadium area.

In addition, the ArenA intends to develop into a laboratory for companies to test their inventions and ideas – the Living Lab. The innovations that are applied in the Amsterdam ArenA will be promoted by the stadium and their national and international partners for application in other venues and/or sports and recreation areas.

According to Henk Markerink, CEO of the Amsterdam ArenA, it is necessary that the stadium does not to work alone, rather to involve partners in the realization of innovations, with a particular focus on collaboration: “We want to invent and execute innovative projects together with the Amsterdam Economic Board and Amsterdam Smart City – projects that in the long run may be interesting from a financial and commercial point of view, that underscore the state-of-the-art position of the ArenA and that at the same time contribute to enhanced sustainability and quality of life.

“We, the ArenA, are happy to accept the challenge in cooperation with other companies, research and educational institutes, the Municipality, citizens and visitors. The Economic Board provides significant support in this respect, helping us to find the right innovation partners.”

The innovation deal, an initiative of the Amsterdam Economic Board, Amsterdam Smart City, the Municipality of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam ArenA, contains agreements including that the parties concerned will help each other to develop innovations.

The innovation deal focuses specifically on advancements in the following five areas:
1. Mobility and accessibility
2. Experience of the visitors to the ArenA and its environs
3. Energy and sustainability
4. Entertainment and fan experience
5. Safety and security

In the field of sustainability, the ArenA and the Municipality already reached agreement in an earlier phase by signing the ‘Green Deal’. The Amsterdam ArenA carries out the sustainability programme in conjunction with a total of almost forty Green Deal partners who invest time, knowledge, services, and funds in the greenification of the ArenA. They help the Amsterdam ArenA to reduce CO2 emissions by using smart transport, reducing waste, saving energy, using clean sources of energy, and providing or contributing to innovative and sustainable solutions.

The Municipality of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Economic Board would like to assist the Amsterdam ArenA in realizing their ambitions. Innovation is not something that can be planned at the drawing board in the city hall, it must be created in the city itself. It is important because it contributes to a sustainable and economically strong metropolitan region. The Amsterdam ArenA has high ambitions in this area, and the present deal represents a clear manifestation of the support of the Municipality of Amsterdam. By signing the present innovation deal, Alderwoman Carolien Gehrels confirms this support.

The agreement furthermore states that the Municipality of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Economic Board, and the Amsterdam ArenA will compose a team to convert all kinds of ideas into concrete reality. The results will be laid down in a long-term innovation programme.

First solar panels installed on Amsterdam ArenA roof

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The first solar panels were installed on the Amsterdam ArenA roof last week, with the roof to be completed by May, utilising a planned total of 4,200 panels.

Members of the venue’s Sustainable ArenA Platform (Platform Duurzame ArenA) programme – consisting of a team of ArenA employees responsible for the realization of the sustainability programme entitled ‘Amsterdam ArenA: Naturally Sustainable’ – symbolically installed the first solar panels on the roof, marking the start of construction of the capital’s largest solar panel roof.

In the next few months, the Amsterdam ArenA will install solar panels on a total surface area of approximately 7,000m2 on the non-translucent, non-moving parts of the stadium’s roof; the surface area of which is roughly the size of a football pitch.

The ArenA’s solar-powered rooftop will generate an annual total of approximately 930,000kWh of electricity. This equals 10% of the stadium’s annual electricity consumption and is the equivalent of powering around 270 Dutch homes for one year. The installation of the photovoltaic array lands the ArenA right up there among the top of European ‘solar stadiums’.

“It fills me with great pride to witness this special moment,” declared Henk van Raan, project manager of the ‘Amsterdam ArenA: Naturally Sustainable’ sustainability programme. “It took a lot of time to make this happen, but we did it! This takes us one step closer to our ultimate goal of realizing a net climate neutral stadium by 2015.”

The installation of the rooftop solar system will cost approximately 1.6 million euros and will be executed by a number of Green Deal partners of the ArenA: Nuon, BAM and Arcadis. Oskomera is in charge of supplying and mounting the photovoltaic panels. The Green Deal partners support the ArenA in their efforts to achieve net climate neutrality by 2015.

The Amsterdam Climate and Energy Fund, an initiative by the Municipality of Amsterdam, was launched in October of 2013. It is funded by part of the proceeds from the sale of shares in Nuon. The fund provides (subordinated) loans, warranties and/or share capital. In conjunction with the existing Amsterdam Investment Fund, it helps to ensure that the ArenA can install and operate the rooftop solar power system in a cost-effective manner.

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Amsterdam ArenA roof to be fitted with solar panels

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The Amsterdam ArenA – the largest football stadium in The Netherlands – will soon begin installing a solar panel roof covering an area of some 7,000 sqm. This will involve the installation of an estimated total of 4,200 solar panels. The system will allow the ArenA to generate an annual total of approximately 930,000 kWh of electricity, about 10% of current consumption.

The photovoltaic array lands the ArenA right up there among the top three ‘solar stadiums’. Only the Stade de Suisse in Bern and the Bentegodi Stadium in Verona generate more solar power. In the Netherlands, the ArenA will soon have the second largest photovoltaic array on a rooftop, just behind the new Hitachi distribution centre.

Nuon, BAM and Arcadis – Green Deal partners of the stadium – will install the solar panels in conjunction with Oskomera, who will supply and mount the photovoltaic panels. The solar panels will be installed on the non-translucent, non-moving parts of the stadium roof, mounted as a strip along the entire circumference above the rain gutter. Henk Markerink, CEO of the Amsterdam ArenA, said:

At an earlier stage, the Amsterdam ArenA had already decided in favour of sustainable district heating and cooling. Recently, a contract was signed for Dutch wind power, linked to the Oudendijk wind farm through Nuon. The installation of the solar panels is an important and logical next step towards the realisation of a net climate neutral stadium by 2015. The installation is planned for the first half of 2014.

The panels will prevent the emission of 430 tons of C02 – the equivalent of the annual emissions of 180 cars. Earlier plans of the ArenA to invest in solar panels had been shelved as it would have been hard to recoup the investment of 1.6 million euros within a reasonable period of time. October of 2013, however, saw the launch of the Amsterdam Climate and Energy Fund, an initiative of the City of Amsterdam funded by part of the proceeds from the sale of shares in Nuon. The fund provides (subordinated) loans, warranties and/or share capital, and ensures that the ArenA can install and operate the rooftop solar power system in a cost-effective manner.

The installation of the rooftop solar system is an element of the ‘Amsterdam ArenA.Naturally sustainable’ programme, which aims to ensure that the ArenA becomes net carbon neutral by 2015. Within the context of the energy partnership with Nuon, it was a logical next step for the ArenA to install solar panels, following their decision in favour of district heating and cooling and Dutch wind power. The Amsterdam ArenA runs the sustainability programme in conjunction with a total of close to forty Green Deal partners who are willing to invest time, expertise, services and funds into the greenification of the ArenA. They will help the Amsterdam ArenA to reduce CO2 emissions through smart transport, waste reduction, energy efficiency, clean energy and innovative sustainable solutions. The ArenA released their 2012-2013 sustainability report in December.