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Turkish Super League side, Beşiktaş JK, has warmly welcomed fans to its brand new ‘smart stadium’, the 42,000-seat Vodafone Arena, this week.
Opening its doors to the public on 3 November 1947, the İnönü Stadium, which has now been replaced by the Vodafone Arena, had been a symbol of Beşiktaş JK’s glorious years and a home to numerous Club legends, such as Süleyman Seba, Hakkı Yeten (Baba Hakkı), Sanlı Sarıalioğlu, Rasim Kara and Rıza Çalımbay, as well as the unforgettable scoring trio of Metin-Ali-Feyyaz.
At the end of the 2012/13 season, Beşiktaş JK Management, led by the Chairman, Fikret Orman, tore down the Inönü Stadium all apart from the Eski Açık stand, as the stand and its towers are considered historical monuments by the government, so it has been re-arranged to resemble the look of an antique amphitheatre. Once demolished, construction began on the €110m (GBP£88.2m/US$125.2m) Vodafone Arena, all financed by the Club.
After 1,065 days, Turkey’s one and only smart stadium was completed and will hold its first game tonight, 11 April 2016, with Beşiktaş hosting Bursaspor in a Turkish Football Federation (TFF) First League action match.
The official inauguration of the Black Eagle’s new shrine took place yesterday, 10 April 2016, and was attended by the President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, as well as Turkish State representatives, politicians, Beşiktaş JK Chairman, Fikret Orman, and members of the Beşiktaş JK Council and Executive Board.
To help the fans experience a day to remember, Vodafone has equipped the new stadium with rich-content digital displays – which are commonly found in many modern stadiums – along with broadband, mobile and wireless networks. Different sized interactive HD screens, which have been installed all over the stadium, are going to broadcast fan interviews, on-going promotions, game statistics and live scores from other matches on a non-stop basis. The WiFi service will ensure that smart phones can access the latest game information easily and without delay. The ‘smart stadium’ features StadiumVision and high-speed WiFi technology, planned in conjunction with Cisco.
Vodafone Arena houses 144 executive suites, and one “1903 Lounge”, which can entertain 1,903 spectators in total. The “1903 Stand” has a capacity of 636 spectators. The new stadium also has 2,123m2 of restaurants, 2,520m2 of terrace restaurants and VIP parking for up to 600 vehicles.
The new stadium is “in harmony with the natural and historic landscape of the Bosphorus” when seen from the sea.
In addition to being home to Beşiktaş, the 42,000-seater, multi-purpose Vodafone Arena is designed to function as an entertainment and fashion centre. Throughout the year, it will host numerous concerts and fashion shows by famous artists and designers. In the meantime, the high-class restaurants, Beşiktaş JK Museum, Beşiktaş Shop and Vodafone Mobile Centre, all located inside the stadium, will offer top-quality service to their visitors and customers at all times. In short, Beşiktaş JK’s new Vodafone Arena is going to be a hub of city activity not only during match days but on everyday of the year.
Turkish firm DBArchitects designed the Vodafone Arena alongside local architect Metin Demir.

NB: This project will feature in our forthcoming Q2 edition of PanStadia & Arena Management.

Footy fans visiting the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) this AFL season are set to enjoy world-class connectivity, with a high-density, free Wi-Fi network as well as improved 3G and 4G mobile network coverage available for the AFL season.
The new technology infrastructure transforms the MCG into the most connected stadium in the southern hemisphere and will significantly improve the fan experience throughout the venue.

MCG Free Wi-Fi

The state-of-the-art Wi-Fi network is free, and allows fans to access real-time and interactive content, post and check in on social networks, use apps to check fantasy team scores and stream video – all without tapping into their own mobile data plans.

Melbourne Cricket Club’s (MCC) CEO, Stephen Gough, said:

We are delighted to be able to offer an improved MCG experience for the 2016 AFL season, with visitors able to stay connected wherever they are in the stadium.

Since December, more than 50,000 MCG patrons have connected to the Wi-Fi network.

Unsurprisingly, the longer-form Test matches played over the summer attracted more Wi-Fi users and data usage compared to the shorter BBL games  with day one of the Boxing Day Test recording the highest data use to date.

Gough added:

We have received fantastic feedback about the free Wi-Fi throughout the summer and look forward to seeing how fans enjoy the enhanced connectivity during the AFL season.

There are some big games scheduled for the MCG in Round 1, and we encourage everyone to connect and make the most of the improvements.

The scale of the Wi-Fi project is on par with the world’s best and biggest stadiums, with more than 227km of cable installed to enable Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the entire stadium.

Put into context, that is enough cable to wrap around the hallowed turf almost 480 times, or stretch from the MCG to Yarrawonga, on the New South Wales border.

Gough concluded:

This project has involved significant investment by the MCC, and we have worked closely with our partners – including Cockram Construction, IBM and Cisco – to find the most appropriate and long-term technology solutions for the MCG and our patrons.

Fans will need to complete a one-off registration to connect to the Wi-Fi when first visiting the MCG for the AFL season – and can simply reconnect on future visits. Those who have connected during the cricket season will need to re-register for the AFL season.

Enhanced 3G and 4G coverage

Fans will also find it easier to use their mobile device wherever they are in the MCG. Telstra led the installation of the largest Distributed Antenna System (DAS) of its kind to improve the 3G and 4G mobile connectivity within the stadium.

Mike Wright, Telstra Group Managing Director, Networks, said:

The design, collaboration and construction of core infrastructure has taken over two years and required an extraordinary amount of technology needed to connect up to 100,000 fans. It’s the equivalent of providing network coverage for Ballarat and Shepparton – towns with a combined population of more than 100,000 people across nearly 400 square kilometres – but compressed within the confines of the MCG. This will provide spectators with a world-class experience when they use their device from anywhere in the ground, to stream video, browse the internet, upload photos to social media, receive telephone calls and access content on apps.

Cisco Systems’ Director, Jonathon Dixon, said:

Fan expectations are greater than ever, mandating a more connected sporting venue that enables fans to share and consume relevant content and services, while engaging with more people from any device, anywhere in the stadium. Cisco is excited and honoured to be a part of the MCG’s long-term road map for transforming one of the most historic stadiums in world and creating unimaginable new experiences for fans in the future.

The MCG’s General Manager, Commercial Operations, Gavin Corcoran, provides insights for the Fan Engagement roundtable-style feature running in our Q1 edition, which goes to print this week, with the digital edition to be available for download from next week.

The MCG’s Arenas Operations Manager, Tony Gordon, also provides his expert opinions for another major industry feature running in this issue, which offers advice on how to keep your playing surface in perfect condition.

Our Q1 edition also includes a Regional Market Report highlighting sports venue projects across Australia and New Zealand.

Diary: Building automation on ISE 2014 agenda

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Dirk Schlesinger, the global lead for manufacturing industries of Cisco Consulting Services, will present the Opening Keynote Address of ISE 2014.
 Titled ‘Kick-Starting the Market for Building Automation’, Schlesinger’s speech will give attendees an exclusive insight into how a new cross-industry initiative set up by Cisco, ABB, Bosch and LG will transform the world of ‘smart’ building technology by offering a common standard for data exchange across multiple appliances and disciplines.
 Schlesinger explains:

In October 2013, Cisco, ABB, Bosch and LG signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the development of a common, open and discrimination-free platform to unite diverse services such as lighting control, energy management, security, healthcare and, not least, audiovisual entertainment and communication.

In my Opening Keynote Address at ISE 2014, I will explain how this platform will enable new business models, giving equipment manufacturers, software developers, service providers, systems integrators and other businesses in the ecosystem the tools they need to kick-start the market for home and building automation. 

The implications of this platform is positive for sports facilities that need to control costs while managing variable usage. The platform will embrace already installed systems.

The Opening Keynote Address will take place at 6.00pm on Monday 3 February 2014 in the Forum of the Amsterdam RAI, following the third edition of ISE’s Smart Building Conference and the other pre-show activities being held on that day. The Keynote will be followed at 7.00pm by ISE’s traditional Opening Reception. Both events are free to attend for all pre-registered ISE 2014 attendees.

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