Gen-i has been awarded a contract to provide ICT infrastructure, including voice and data services based on Telecom's XT network, for Eden Park. The technology will be a fundamental component next year's Rugby World Cup.
Today’s spectator at sports and other entertainment events demands more than just a good view of the arena, says Eden Park Trust CEO David Kennedy.
“The tech savvy spectator expects a media enriched experience that gets them up close to the action,” Kennedy says.
The upgrade is part of Eden Park’s $190 million refit to equip it for the 2011 Rugby World Cup tournament and future events. Gen-i is also the ICT provider to the 2011 Rugby World Cup itself.
The longer-term aim is to gain the stadium a share of a burgeoning international venue-hire business against what management expects will be tough competition from other venues.
The project will provide an integrated IP-based network to power Cisco StadiumVision digital signage, automated ticketing processes, security and building management. Gen-i is also installing wi-fi and mobile networks which will boost capacity and coverage within the stadium without obtrusive aerials, the company says.
Gen-i already supplies Eden Park with all its fixed voice, data, internet and mobile voice and data technology, but the new contract was won in open tender against competition from Datacom, IBM, Datacraft, TelstraClear and Axon.
Important factors in the choice of Gen-i were itis New Zealand ownership and the fact it has strong partnerships with “the big players like Microsoft and Cisco”, says Glen McCracken, ICT project director for the Eden Park Redevelopment Board.
Improved ticketing systems based on magnetic stripe and barcode readers will increase the flow of spectators into the ground, McCracken says, despite the refit reducing the number of entrances from 28 to four.
About 300 Panasonic screens throughout the stadium will display a variety of information. These will range in size from 26cm signage displays to two 110-square -metre “super-screens” displaying views of the action in the arena. Other displays will convey real-time information about people-traffic flow through entrance and exit access-ways and promotional messages, some offering a chance for spectators to interact with the promotion through their mobile devices, winning concessionary prices for refreshments and the like.
Neither Gen-i nor McCracken would reveal the cost of the network development.
“About half” the upgrade will be in place in time for Eden Park’s hosting of matches in the Four Nations Rugby League tournament in November, McCracken says.