IBM Launches Sports, Entertainment Consortium

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2015-11-19 Print this article Print
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This is especially true as the live in-venue experience competes with the quality and convenience of high-definition television, mobile and social channels surrounding live events. A fully designed and realized experience moves fans from passive spectators to active participants via multiple points of engagement, and ultimately converts fans into customers of new offerings and digital services, Big Blue officials said.

"IBM's approach from the outset has been to combine the tech savvy of its integrated systems expertise with the best practices of its heralded fan-friendly, immersive data engagements at major sporting events," said Jared Miller, CTO of the Arthur M. Blank Sports & Entertainment Group, which signed IBM as a founding partner for its downtown Atlanta Mercedes-Benz Stadium set to open in 2017 as the home of the NFL's Falcons and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer.

"From supplying the robust infrastructure in its advanced fiber-based optical networks and distributed antenna system that ensures connectivity for fast, reliable WiFi to over 70,000 fans attending a game, to the video displays and digital signage, IBM is building the network backbone that will support the operational systems for the stadium, such as physical security capabilities including cameras, managed doors and video intercom systems," Miller said. "Making those experiences a reality requires more than dazzling displays and flashy apps, but an innovative mindset that puts the fan experience first."

Members of the IBM Sports and Entertainment Consortium commit to develop solutions, exchange intellectual property, and collaborate to design and deliver global opportunities.

"We believe that broadband really does make the world go around. It has become an essential part of our lives and a part of enjoying exciting live experiences like sporting events," said Federico Guillen, president of Fixed Networks at Alcatel-Lucent, in a statement. "Alcatel-Lucent has unique abilities in bringing together and building superior fiber and wireless networks, and working with companies like IBM gives us a chance to showcase those capabilities in some of the biggest and best venues in the world."

IBM's new Sports, Entertainment and Fan Experience consulting practice formalizes the experience design that IBM Interactive Experience has delivered for events such as The Masters in golf and the tennis Grand Slam events—Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open. The practice also becomes the integrating front end of IBM's proven sports capabilities—spanning personalized fan engagement (mobile and Web), data management for team performance with clients like the Ottawa Senators; and the optimization of stadium infrastructure for venues like Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Kyle Field at Texas A&M.

"Today's sports and entertainment venue experience is no longer the singular idea of a fan watching a game," said Richard Patterson, general manager of IBM's Global Technology Services, in a statement. "In order to convert casual fans to loyal customers, connection is everything. IBM and our consortium partners are redefining the idea of the stadium with technology to benefit fans and teams alike."

The full suite of solutions IBM brings to this market includes Fan Experience consulting, analytics for team performance, the cognitive capabilities of IBM Watson, fiber-based networking, flash storage, wireless networking and open-standard hybrid cloud delivery as the basis of emerging business solutions.

"IBM has created the ultimate blueprint for perfecting the sports fan experience while delivering new growth opportunities for the sports entertainment industry," said Bart Giordano, vice president of worldwide strategic sales at Ruckus Wireless, in a statement. "By combining Ruckus' Simply Better Wireless technology with technology from our consortium partners, together we can deliver fans the best products and services to enhance their digital experience."



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