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Real Wireless CEO Oliver Bosshard Interview


We talked to Oliver about his upcoming keynote talk at the upcoming Connected Stadium Summit as he elaborated on the role of networking in stadiums.

Interview

What are you most looking forward to about Connected Stadium Summit?
  1. Learning what’s new, what others do, case studies, real world examples, innovations
  2. Meet like-minded people, networking
How have you seen stadium and large venue wireless needs change over the last 12 months?

There are some newer questions and they are typically about:

  • What does 5G mean, how does it impact us, what do we need to do to be 5G ready
  • What about the transition of TETRA to ESN (in the UK) for emergency services

Over the last 12-24 months, there is increased interest and focus on great connectivity, location tracking and fan/visitor engagement. Venues want to ensure visitors have a great experience and they also want them to dwell, come back again with their friends and as a result, spend more money.

 Having users’ data and their movement information allows all kind of things such as upselling, location-based information, wayfinding applications and traffic flow analysis.  All of the above points are dependent on the right infrastructure and wireless technology. Once that is in place, connectivity and services can be delivered over the top (OTT).

What is the single biggest innovation that Connected Stadiums strategies will bring in the next 3-4 years?

We will see much more Cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth based systems that will accelerate the take-up of things such as fan engagement, wayfinding, out-of-seat food ordering and instant replay.

This means that venues will become smarter (IoT), helping the venue owners to have more awareness of their property and give all kind of operational benefits, which can increase safety, improve efficiencies and result in cost savings.  By improving integration with the emerging digital cities initiatives, venues will also be able to manage the movement of people into and out of venues.

What do you think is impacting stadia’s’ ability to monetise their customer data?

The main problem stadium owners face is that by deploying cellular coverage, they have happy and connected visitors, but the data belongs to (and goes to) the networks operators (MNOs). Wi-Fi linked with Bluetooth (BLE) can be owned by the stadium and the data will all belong to the venue. But even then, not all visitors will use Wi-Fi or be willing to give their information. 

Smartphone apps help with that. The main challenge is to collect (get) information from as many visitors as possible. Once that is in place, then the data scientist and marketing executives can innovate. Monetisation is all based on what the venue does with it, whether that is segmentation, upselling, push messages, coupons or discounts.

If you could sum up the Connected Stadium opportunity in one sentence what would that be?

“A fantastic playground to innovate, experiment and pioneer new technologies, approaches and services.”  A platform that venue owners can use to be better informed about their visitors and create closer ties that can be used to benefit the owners and their visitors.